Today, we were sitting in the allergist's office waiting for Lindsay's turn to have her injection and there was an elderly lady that was called back for hers. As I watched her (hopefully inconspicuously) make her way back with her walker, my mind started turning. Her papery skin that was kind of drapey. Her hunched shoulders. Her gray (and not so thick) hair. Her shuffle with her helpmate (ie walker) in front of her...it all got me to thinking.
We will all be that someday (if we don't die prematurely). At one point, that woman was a young girl. With hopes and dreams. Never dreaming that she'd need a walker. Or that her skin would be less than smooth and creamy. Or that her eyes would trade in their clear bright color for a duller, rheumy cloud that only hints at color.
This was a woman who might have strutted. She prob'ly loved some young man and was loved back. She looked in the mirror and didn't think twice about what she would look like when she was 75 or 80. She got ready for dates. Went dancing. Got married-no doubt making a beautiful bride to her beloved. Probably carried a baby or two (or maybe even 4 like me) in her belly. And then rocked those babies and swung them at the park.
Now relegated to dependency on others to get her around. Her thin, dry skin no longer resembling the youthful plump with collagen skin of her yesterdays.
I think that maybe I'm a little more aware of these changes because I'm so close to my grandparents. Although my grandma has taken wonderful care of herself (her skin is like the softest velvet! very few wrinkles...and she's ummm, 78 I think!) there are other aspects of aging (knees that go useless on you and you have to have them replaced, heart valves that give you some trouble, etc) that you cannot deny. I've seen her high school pictures and even a few little girl pictures of her.
So much respect and honor is due these people (men and women) of the previous generations. And yet, they get relegated to nursing homes. Loneliness. We look away because we don't want to face what we will no doubt go through ourselves. If we treat them nicely and not like a disease we don't want to catch...maybe our children will pick up on that and we will reap the rewards of it ourselves. Because we'll be old one day. And if we haven't taught our kids not to disdain the elderly maybe they'll come see us a lot. And bring our grandchildren or our great grandchildren. And they won't notice that we smell a little like mothballs and medicine. (My grandma doesn't by the way...I don't know why, but I need to say that). That we repeat ourselves. That we live in the past more than the present. Or maybe they'll notice it and it won't matter to them. They'll love us anyways.