I am getting training at the local nursing home these days. The majority of the people are very old, almost 85. They are alone. They are sick. I listen to
personal stories from them. One lady, her name is Rita, had a degree in music and dance; she died this morning.
She was old and sick. She tried to make her music known. She tried to
make her dance known. She tried to make her life known. She told me yesterday, she would love to go out for lunch or for dinner, to travel the world, especially in Italy. She told me she would sing a song, have a boy friend, date. She would like to visit her schools, workplace and friends. She even shouted at me day before yesterday. She has died a sad death in any way, especially for me. I was particularly heartbroken today. She was a rich
woman, but money could not prevent her death.
I cried on her death. I can see every day older people are dying here.
I remembered when I started to come to this nursing home, I became
serious at her childish act. No doubt, she was expert in making
jokes, and enjoyed talking.
One day she told me ' I have faith in you." I answered her "The moon is beautiful to look at, but in fact it is so far that we cannot touch it. When there is cloud or rain it disappears in no time. What I think is that your faith in me should be like the moon which stares at the earth '. I told it nearing
the window to shut it . "Kamala, I am alone, very alone. " Her voice
contained both pain and contentment. No need to express that I too wished
her happiness. I have long wished to make a happy story to tell her. I
could say nothing, but smiled.
She had Alzheimer disease and was in a wheelchair. Did you ever sit in a wheelchair ? It's not so beautiful. When you get older you might have to use it.
She had a bad cold last week. ' Please manage the hot water to take a bed bath ; Sometimes I feel it is a burden but I have to acccept it" she said in worrying way. At that time she wanted to take a bed bath, which I gave her. I would like to see her happy and beautiful. I did my best, gave my love and companionship. I even saw many times she used to close her door and cry. I know this is not the best thing for the older people to do. When I saw her crying, I used to turn on TV and put an entertainment program for her.
Work is worship . It provides pleasure to me. How can we prove ourselves wonderful women without overcoming the difficulties? I am fighting continuously for my bright future to establish an ideal, values of life. This is the reason I work with patients. Even though I work part time here,every day I feel sentimental to see all the wonderful old people.
Though Rita died, I felt pain in her departure . I shouldn't say so because her ultimate aim was not to inject pain in me, but I felt it as I looked out the window .
I remember the first meeting. 'It won't be the worst to work for me',
I remembered her saying . She looked thin and not healthy but smart . She was too talkative. She could lecture for hours. Her character attracted me in the first meeting.
I spent many days and nights taking care of her . I know she was sick, had a cold, but I kissed her . I hugged her. I am watching through the window very empty. The unstable thinking has made me sad.
I still remember in Nepal one older woman Sani who worked hard as a laborer and brought meat for her children. I remember one day when she came with meat and made her children eat it all, pretending that she had a
pain in her stomach. I remember the day. When I went to see her she started to cry.
She is now in a bad position. Her husband has brought a co-wife(step) in her presence. Her children do not care for her. She has no money, no love. She is old and sick. The children and husband to whom she was devoted in her youthful days,helping them and hiding sorrows and griefs to spread joy and trust, have now left her alone waiting for death.
One day I will also be an older lady, like her. At least I don't want to get sick and die soon. I don't want to be a burden to anyone. I am thinking when I get older, I will not be able to write a poem, articles, stories. I will not be healthy, I will not be happy. All of my friends who love me will be older like me or will be dead by then. I feel very emotional today.
I want to tell all the people that older people are very beautiful. Never hate them, provide them lots of love, lots of companionship, you will be always blessed with happiness. Always remember, one day you will also be old, alone, sick and in a wheelchair.
Kamala is an editor for www.mediaforfreedom.com. Her specialties are in-depth reporting and writing stories on peace and anti-war issues, women, terrorism, democracy and development. Some of her publications include: Women's Empowerment in South Asia, Nepal; Prevention of Trafficking in Women Through Media; Efforts to Prevent Trafficking in for Media Activism. She has also written two collections of stories.