It is long since I posted anything in my blog and decided to write something today. I never knew that I too would run out of topic one day. Talkative person that I am I always have some piece of information to share. Not so today. I am just going to write about things that come to my mind in the very order that they make an entry to my mind. But wait. I am not sure if I should heed my head or heart. I think I’ll listen to my heart first.
We have in our apartment complex two old ladies and a gentleman who have lost their life partners and their plight disheartens me. Old age is described as second childhood and my father in law had his fair share of it in his interaction with my children. I’ve referred to it in this post of mine. It was his good luck that he had the pleasure. These days old age is not what it was 20 years back. It is spent aimlessly watching TV programs and waiting for occasional visits and phone calls from one’s children. It helps to have one’s spouse around. My husband and me have fights over who monopolizes the TV and which of is more badly organized. He expects me to keep track of his doctor’s prescription and I make him look for my spectacles almost every day.
“I am getting myself a new TV” I keep announcing but I never ever do it. I perhaps plan to cling to this excuse for picking up a fight with him when I feel bored. When on the rare occasion that he is away and I have the TV to myself I hardly switch it on. But when he sits in front of the TV changing channels I feel like snatching the remote and throwing it out of the house. Are we perhaps entering into the second childhood phase of our lives?
When I think of the ladies and gentleman mentioned earlier I wonder how they might be dealing with the loneliness in their lives. The man lost his wife so suddenly that we could not believe the news when we heard it. He lost his eyesight while in service on account of high blood sugar and it was his wife who took care of him. It was common sight to see her escorting him for a chat session with his friends and taking him home after about an hour or so. She suffered a heat stroke and passed away before anyone realized how serious she was. The previous evening she called me up to ask our milkman to deliver milk since she was too exhausted to go and fetch it. The next morning she was gone.
How did she have the heart to leave me behind and move on? He wailed.
We had no answer.
One of the ladies lost her husband two years ago. He had rheumatic arthritis and his legs were misshapen and curved like a bow. Together they would walk to a homeopathy clinic for treatment. They have 3 sons but for reasons best known to them, they stayed alone. The lady was too old to cook and relied on domestic help to cook them a meal. On days that the cook absented herself they would eat fruits and drink milk. He finally passed away. She regularly visits her son and daughter in law but continues to stay alone. She feels a misfit in their home.
I sometime wonder if we are perhaps heading in the wrong direction. Joint families of yester years are unheard of today. But is it fair that old people should be allowed to live alone despite their frail health and meager bank balance. I know that I would want to lead my life the way I want as far as possible. But if I am left with no choice and have to move in with my children would I be able to adjust? Will I be treated as a family member when I do? Who should adjust and how much? Will it be too late then?
Earlier people supported large families and were unable to put away enough funds to support them in their old age. Not so today. Is this perhaps the reason that adjustment problems are common these days? When money is no longer the problem what else is reason for the attitudinal change in society? Schools encourage their students to celebrate grand parent’s day and a day is marked out for grand parents to visit their grand children’s school as celebrity guests and I hear that the function is a grand success. Shouldn’t there be more occasions for the older generation to interact and feel accepted?