old people make me cry. and not because they push me over.

I see old people.

They make me cry (and not because they push me over, although if they did, I’d probably cry even more).
I can’t control myself. I see them struggling to cross busy roads with their walkers, and I cry. I see them holding hands and smiling across the table at each other – HAPPY OLD PEOPLE! – and I still cry.


I’m not sure what it is(I AM sure a shrink would have a field day with me) but old people mess with me. Sometimes the reality of the depth and breadth of their lives whacks me in the gut, and I find it hard to breathe. There’s so much they would hold in their minds, their hearts, their memories, the touch of their hands… and it overwhelms me.

There’s such richness. And such frailty. So much to share. And not so much time to share it. There’s a slowness about them. But a sense of urgency too. The pendulum swings…
And I feel it all whenever I see an older person in any setting. Good or bad.

Like this:


I took this photo in Melbourne, on Christmas Eve, in 2006. We were visiting a retirement home, and singing Christmas carols with the residents (well I wasn’t. I was looking after some cute short people. Which gave me a chance to take this photo.) This beautiful lady was by this man’s side, holding his hand and talking softly to him, throughout the time we were there. It was so special. I see old people. I love old people.

“Memory is the mother of all wisdom.” Samuel Johnson

Whenever I get the chance these days (particularly when I’m walking the streets of my suburb, or sitting in a coffee shop), I talk and ask questions and listen and glean from any old person I can find, wherever and however I can.

There’s wisdom. There’s life experience. There’s generosity in their sharing. There’s delight that someone cares enough to ask. There’s usually no more facade or masks at this stage of life. And I love it.

I see old people.
I SEE old people.

And I love them.

“As we grow in wisdom, we pardon more freely.” Madame de Stael

 

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9 thoughts on “old people make me cry. and not because they push me over.

  1. Jo, as an *older* person, I love this post. Most people, when you reach a certain age, just look straght through you, as if you’re not there. I’m glad you’re not one of them….. πŸ™‚

  2. I saw my special elderly people on Sunday, again today. Love them, lie awake at night thinking about them, good thoughts and sad, as I know I’ve been lucky enough to have them this long.

  3. older people are often forgotten members of our society, they are people that are cast aside, left in their own homes and rarely visited, or worse in a nursing home, they are lonely people who just long for someone to talk with, even if it’s just for 5 minutes a day.

    i know this because they are my work, i go into their homes, i help care for them, i shop for them, i clean for them and most importantly i talk to them and worry about them when it seems no one else is or does.

    thank you for this post and thank you for taking the time to stop and talk to them, i think for alot of older people it’s the company and conversation of others that they miss the most.

    ~x~

  4. What a lovely post. I was thinking about old people just the other day, after my father had gotten all emotional as they prepare to ‘downsize’. How do they wake up and fill their day? How does that pendulum swinging so close really feel? It’s all a bit much some days so I totally get why you cry.

  5. What a lovely article… I was thinking that I was the only one who feels that way. I remember being 8 or 9 years old and seeing this sweet little old man alone,eating a piece of pie in a restaurant. He so thoroughly enjoyed it that I thought he was going to lick the plate. It made me cry because all I could think of was whether there was anyone left that cared for him, because he just seemed so alone. I am almost 60 now and I still find myself close to tears when I see a lonely looking little old man. And heaven forbid if I watch a Remeberance Day ceremony, then I am toast!

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