Eyes, ears and mind of the elderly

Published 9:09 am Monday, August 29, 2016

Their eyes are upon you as soon as you are detected. You may be seen, may be heard or even sensed.

Their desire for your attention is so full of desperation that you cannot help but be effected by it. A word spoken upon the wings of a whisper. A call with the resonating voice of a lion demanding it’s prey!

It does not matter how the need reaches your ear, it is the need itself that makes me write this today. The lonely cry of the elderly. It makes sad, it makes you wonder, and it makes you stop and change your way.

Passing a stranger on the street is easy, just pretend to look the other way. Not in the mood to say hello, then don’t!

The old, the sacred, the pavers of our present will not let you off the hook that easy. Their beckoning is not one born of material wants. Nor is it one of accolades. It is born on the primal need for human affection. Who are they you may ask?

They are you and me someday soon! They were the men and women who worked hard and helped take care of this country just as you and I strive to do! Who are they now? They are the ones deserving of our time and attention! They are the forgotten. They are the obsolete. They are the irrelevant. They are the cast aside by our own Government. They are the loved and the hated hiding under a gloomy blanket of despair set before them cast by their and our own humanity.

As wonderful as human resiliency is, it also causes a rationalizing that can spread as a cancer inside your heart when it comes to something no longer useful or cute.

As I walk the halls of the home my own mother is in, as I hear the sounds of those mentally suffering, as I see all the faces turn towards me in hope, I will speak to them, my heart tightens and I begin to think outside my norm and realize that it is just as important to give hope to those with little time left for hope, as it is to give hope to a person that has a whole life of hope ahead of them.

Sure it is easy to dwell on the endless demands of your day, and not give a moment to an older stranger. They have a story you know!

As I feel my own mortality knocking on the mind’s door, when I realize that this will be me someday, I get sad. Sad, yes it is saddening to think that this is it. The struggle everyday, with dreams always put off till tomorrow. Only to realize that tomorrow has come and gone and you did not keep your promise to yourself.

Maybe you reflect back with guilt on a life that did not turn out as anticipated. Or maybe you look back with regret on actions and failures you would rather not take with you to the grave. Do you realize all that the elderly have to deal with in their own hearts, minds and bodies?

These kind wonderful people who can find a smile and a word for you and me, they deserve our moments. I am not as much preaching to you as I am preaching to myself. A life lived is a life forgiven. Forgive me for not seeing this before! Forgive me for not stopping and enjoying the smile of the old. Wisdom to be shared. Hope to be passed on. Need to be appreciated and missed when all that is left is the hope that we will be a fond long lasting memory in someone’s heart. A true legacy is remembrance and not inheritance.

So please help me feel better about where my mom is, and let’s embrace those that have earned it and need it most….the elderly.


Tim Flanagan and his wife, Teresa, own and operate The Flanagan House Bed and Breakfast in Murfreesboro.