Upon Visiting My Folks After Five Years

Posted: November 24, 2014

I look at my parents and see the world-weariness in their eyes.

“I’m tired,” is my father’s refrain. My mother struggles to be steady as she walks. That is, when she’s not laying in her hospital bed…and she constantly repeats herself when she talks. My aunts and uncles have mostly retired and they talk about the good old days working on the assembly line: the companionship of fellow workers, the company parties, the practical jokes, the dreams that would never end.

“Never thought I’d be here. I only wanted to retire from work, not from the world. Still have too much life to live – but life gets in the way.”

It’s always a bit of a shock to visit elderly parents especially when you haven’t seen them in a while. I always remember them as being younger, stronger and having the answers to everything and then time changed, yet again, and here they are, the ravages of time taking their toll on them physically. “Ah, the spirit’s willing but the body just won’t.” (chuckle) “I wish my hands would stop their damn shaking. The crazy thing about getting old is that you don’t remember doing it. The kids don’t come around like they used to. Oh well, they’re busy with their own lives now. I don’t say much but it’s good to have someone here to talk to.”
Still, there’s church every weekend and some old friends to see, who are now confined to wheelchairs.

“Never thought it would come to this. Shit, forgot to take my pills.” And I help wherever I can, never seems to be enough though…not like I would like to be of help. They’ve struggled all of their lives and they’re still struggling. I look at my parents and see the worry in their eyes.

“Another damn bill from the hospital! Every time I turn around they want more money!” How are they going to make ends meet? When is mom coming home from the hospital?

“The government don’t give a shit about nothin’ except gettin’ their hands on more of your money. When I was in the army I used to run five miles with a fifty pound pack on my back almost everyday. Now my legs can barely carry me. See what happens when you get old?”