Old Man

Photo courtesy of Pinterest "Old Man Photo"
Photo courtesy of Pinterest “Old Man Photo”

He worked hard
raised a family of six
three grand
the fifth great child on the way
and now he is… an old man

He sits in his recliner
in his living room
watches his favorite TV shows
the volume turned high
and they call him… old man

He drools at the most
inconvenient of times
embarrassing his wife
as they sliently eat their meals together
that sit atop TV trays

And she glances at him,
a shell of the man
he used to be
as he sit there
chewing his food
without his teeth
and she whispers under her breath…
what an old man.

He’s lost most his hearing
he unintentionally yells at those
he loves most
and they called him…
a crotchety old man.

He takes his nap
each day after lunch without fail,
snoring loud enough for all the neighbors to hear
wakes with a start
then wipes the drool from his mouth
resumes watching his TV shows,
the volume turned high
because he is… an old man.

No longer care for his garden
weeds now flourish,
choking out hollyhocks and heather
delphiniums and dahlias

he no longer cares much for going out
living to stay within four walls
and his wife watches
as the shell of the man
to whom she pledged her life
gives up and slowly dies
because he was now…
an old man.

*******

Raising a family of four
he constantly worries
what kind of husband
what kind of father
he once was
what kind of husband
what kind of father
he will become

He walks slower
than most others his age
a shuffle almost,
you could say
tripping occasionally
sometimes stumbling into a fall
you’d think he was…
an old man.

Drooling on himself
at the most inopportune times
(as if there were a good ones),
he wipes his chin
and feels he must utter a shameful ‘excuse me’
preceded within an ‘I’m sorry’
you’d think he was…
an old man.

Rubbing liniment into his skin
he hopes for relief from muscles
tightly twisted, tightly turned
bending toes and twisting fingers –
twisting, bending, turning –
he wakes from fitful sleeeps
wishing to scream
learning it does no good
and you’d think he was…
an old man.

Wearing a face
without expression
swallowing handfuls of pills
throughout the day
so to just keep moving
you’d think he was…
an old man.

He walks softl through his garden
longing to pull unwanted weeds
that are thriving there
too stiff to bend over
too painful to pull
he saves them for a better day
for he feels like… an old man.

*******

The two
never have met –
a generation apart

One comes to his old manhood
honestly
while the other
by a curse
(I guess you could say)

One giving up
giving in
one pressing on
pushing ahead

One,
an old man
near his end
the other
feeling like
an old man,
Parkinson’s disease
his relentless
companion

but he doesn’t give up
and
he doesn’t
give in

instead

he
presses on
and he pushes ahead
because he is not…

an old man.

Parkinson’s Disease: For Better or Worse

In Black and White
In Black and White

This little monster –
I am going to beat it
I won’t let it control me
while it controls me

Sometimes I think about
the yesterdays
and
the tomorrows
and I want to cry
but I don’t cry
but tonight I cried
because tonight I am reminded
of the yesterdays –
of how life used to be
and look like
and smell like
and taste like
and what it felt like

The yesterdays
that were pain free
and shake free
and drool free
and falling free
and stiffness free
and cramping free
and medication free

Maybe I cried
because I forget how real this monster is
and little things remind me
how it is not so small
and I have to accept –
all over again –
this little monster
is now my constant companion
for better
or for worse

and the better
and the worse
are both life-sustaining
as they teach me
the value of living

the value of
a moment
a word
a smile
tears
and giggles
and
people

And I am finding
in the worst
there is be
something better –
and it is in that better
where I will beat this thing
that strives to beat me

it might control my body
but it will not
control me

Keeping What I’ve Got

  Dear Doctor, I’ve come here today

To get a new body, give my old one away

My feet – they stumble

They trip and I fall

And my brain’s becoming sluggish – but that’s not all.

 

My fingers won’t move the way I move them

My arms and legs they shake

You’d think I’d learn

There are no returns

On the parts of our bodies that break.

 

It’s not getting any easier

Other things are going wrong as I speak

Do you think you could do something, 

Somehow, anything

Your expertise is what I now seek.

 

I’ve put in for a new toe or two

The ones I have are not working well

They hurt, they bend

It’s becoming a trend

And hasn’t been too terribly swell.

 

Yet, doctor, you know – I’ve been thinking

About keeping at least my two eyes

They’ve helped me to see 

Incredible things

Like rainbows, the sunset  and  sunrise.

 

And you know – about my hands,

They’ve made so many things

And I’ll keep my voice

(I don’t have a choice),

My grandkids like when their Grammy sings.

 

And then, there are my legs,

They really have been good to me

They carried me here,

They’ve walked me to there

They’ve supported me constantly.

 

And let me not forget my heart

That has beat within every day 

I’ll keep that too

(it’s the least I can do),

For it’s guided me when along life’s way.

.

 

So I guess I’ve changed my mind

And I’ll keep all that God’s given me

I’ll enjoy what I’ve got,

‘Cuz I’ve got quite a lot,

I’m alive, been forgiven, and set free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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