“It is such a secret place…the land of tears…” Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
It was Nursing Home Alley
and there she was
tied to her wheelchair
to hold her hand.
Parents and children
were walking by…
the adult pointed to his head
as if to say, “She is a bit off!”
to his children
dressed so properly
WHAT WAS IT ???
embarrassment at human emotion
embarrassment at tears
embarrassment at not knowing what to do
do we shy away from compassion?
do we find it so easy to tie a human being to a chair
but are unable to extend a hand and comfort that person?
Very good questions…
You nailed society’s dwindling capacity for compassion. These days people don’t even look up from their phones – incredibly depressing at best. I wrote this a while ago…..
This poem breaks my heart. I feel for those who have no family or no visitors.
Yes, it is heartbreaking. The last time I was in a nursing home was five years ago–for some reason, late last night, I thought of this incident that I witnessed while there. This frail lady was crying and crying…I went up to her and knelt down by her and dared to touch her arm to console her. (In our USA society, it seems “compassionate touch” is highly suspicious–being a teacher, I was in the habit of hugging the little ones…and the Middle School kids would hug me! I would get stares from staff members some times–but my heart was in the right place, so I didn’t care)The nursing staff came by and said something akin to:
“Oh, she is crying everyday, every hour, every minute! Just leave her be–she will be alright!” Previous to that, I witnessed the actual exchange described between the parents and children. I spoke up, and said to the parents, and as much to the children, “This woman has feelings. Some day you may be in the same position.” I was angry. I was angry because I didn’t know what to do for this lady; I was angry at the complacency of the nursing staff; I was angry at those parents who had the opportunity to teach compassion and didn’t. Today, I see all the times I could have been more compassionate towards others, and wasn’t. I see how I allow society’s unspoken rules dictate my compassion. I see I have to be more conscious of my choices and actions…and be compassionate regardless of the social stigma. I think our society has no difficulty accepting sexually inappropriate expression in all forms in the media and on the streets–but to show compassion–it seems it comes under suspect. I think Americans are the most alienated people from themselves and the most lonely of all societies. Well, I guess I have gotten carried away! Thanks for visiting, Tess, and for your comment!
I agree with you all the way except I cannot speak for Americans because I am Canadian.
The staff complacency worries me. How do they know she is not in pain. It’s darn uncomfortable sitting for long stretches so some. How many times is something small overlooked to be later found to be a source of aggravation or pain? Maybe the older woman is afraid because of their tone and treatment of making herself heard. Who knows. I always thought anyone in the medical field are sworn to do no harm.
Attitude is harmful as well as ton and treatment.
I better quit before I start bawling.
Thank you for this discussion.
Reblogged this on Ta hendene til din kjære – se på dem og hold dem hardt Disse hendene skal du følge, leie og lede. Du skal få føle på varmen fra dem og kjenne en inderlig glede. De skal stryke deg og de skal holde rundt deg – de er ikke skapt for å såre i vrede For du skal ikke alene mer vandre. De skal klemme og kose og aldri klandre De skal skjerme deg for det du ikke selv ser. De skal elske og aldri forakte – bare hjelpe når du ber. Disse hendene skal jobbe for at dere skal få det godt De skal gi – og du skal takke for det du har fått. De skal tvinnes sammen i kjærlighet og være ømme og gode og et tegn på inderlighet Hendene du holder er sterke og unge De skal gjennom mye for din skyld når dagene er tunge De skal stryke og klemme og være gode og fromme De skal ruske i ditt hår og takke når dagen er omme Disse hendene skal følge deg gjennom livet. De skal holde fast ved deg og verne om samlivet De skal være hos deg når alle andre har gått De skal aldri slippe men holde fast og tørke tårer når du har grått. Hendene skal bære din ring med rette Den skal skinne og for alle berette Jeg elsker deg! – kan den bekjenne Det er bare en som har maken til denne En dag er hendene blitt ru og grå Hver fure og rynke forteller om livet som bak dere lå Dere kan minnes den dagen i dag – da et livslangt bånd Ble knyttet Og fra denne dag dere gikk Hånd i hånd..
I took the liberty of translating what you have written on Google Translate. I hope that is okay with you. Your words are powerful! Thank you!.
Bring your hands to your loved ones – look at them and hold them hard These hands will follow, hire and manage. You will feel the heat from them and feel an intense joy. They will strike you and they will hold you – they are not designed to hurt the wrath: for thou shalt no more walking alone. They will hug and cuddle and never blame They will shield you for what you do not see. They should love and never despise – only help when you ask. These hands will work for you to get well they will give – and to give thanks for what you’ve got. They must be twisted together in love and be tender and good and a sign of sincerity Hands holding strong and young They must through much of your debts when the days are heavy they will strike and hug and be good and pious They are rushing through your hair and thank when the day is over, these hands will follow you through life. They will stick to you and protect cohabitation shall be with you when everyone else has gone they will never drop but stay firm and dry tears when you cried. Hands should wear your ring rightly It will shine and for all tell I love you! – Can confess There is only one that has anything like this One day hands become rough and gray Every furrow and wrinkle tells of life behind you lay You may remember the day today – as a lifelong bond Got tied And from this day you walked hand in hand. http://lisaelskerarvid.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/tears-and-nursing-homes/
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Tusen takk vakre❤️
Så snill du er💞💞💞
…and YOU…your words are what we all need to hear! Blessings!… Og du … dine ord er det vi alle trenger å høre! Blessings! Elsk dine grafikk! Veldig kunstnerisk!
Tusen takk vakre venn❤️ du er fantastisk 😃 elsker bloggen din og deg💞 takk takk💐
deg💞 takk , Lisa! And deg💞 takk for the reblog! ❤
💐❤️ takk kjære
Everything you wrote is soooo true and soooo sad. People are so self-possessed and indifferent. They all walk around with earphones and phones they are texting or talking on. I’ve always reached out to the neighborhood children and they have loved the attention–asking about school, etc. and teaching them about flowers, butterflies, birds, etc. I think many were starved for interaction already. They don’t get much at home. I greet them by name–they greet me by name–I know their grade in school. But as they age, I can see society (especially media and peers) influences them that being around people like me is “no longer cool” and they start avoiding. I’ve tutored some and helped with music(all at no charge) but they pull away from that too even though they know they need help. They glue to their social media sites–that’s what is important. They have no money but yet dye their hair a different color every few weeks and wonder why it is the texture of straw. Parents hand over $’s just to get them off their backs. The junk food diets! I try to subtly educate about nutrition–give fruits and vegetables to taste, but they are turned off because nobody cooks at home except for processed and convenience foods and they have no ‘taste’ for real food. As time has gone on I now realize I could be laying on the ground in my yard or driveway and it would probably be forever before anyone even noticed or cared. I am the ‘old’ lady with the ‘fancy’ yard and flowers, etc. something that is being valued less and less. They look at me with resentment when I call them on not cleaning up after their dogs that use my yard and flower beds for their bathroom as if that is what it is there for!!! And…..yes, I am probably headed to a nursing home someday and may be the one sitting alone in that wheelchair just as I am alone in my ‘small’ town neighborhood today. And yes, more than ever seniors are viewed as disposable members of society to shuttle off and PLACE somewhere OUT OF THE WAY. When my mother was in the nursing home dying of cancer I was there every day and the staff seemed surprised at that!!! Can’t tell you the number of questions, ommisions in care, needs etc. I called to their attention. There will be no one to do that for me. I will be the lady with tears in her eyes reaching out……and there will be few or NO Jane’s to respond. Our world has lost what it was about. I tooooooo am sooooo sad.
Mary Jane, I can only HOPE that someone will be there for you, as you have been there for me and for so many! Never give up!
This is powerful and so well written! I echo your thoughts but not nearly as well as you posed it in your amazing poem.
So sad, so true. Brought on tears 😦
sorry…Nursing homes are a sad place…I should make an effort and go and visit people living there. I do not know no anyone specific, but I suppose there might be a way.
you might be surprised about just wanting to visit anyone. In this ‘regulated’ world nursing homes like many institutions are not too keen about ‘strangers’. They will take supervised members from churches or singing groups, scouts, etc. but just a ‘friendly visitor’ would roll out the red tape galore and might not happen. Everything is so structured that the HUMANESS factor comes last.
Johann, I’m thinking nursing homes would welcome anyone who wanted to visit for the sake of doing so. It’s the kind of thing where, once you started, you would end up knowing the people there, right? Just recently I was visiting someone I knew and I think most people are starving for good company 😦
Excellent and powerful piece!!
Your comment is so appreciated!
thank YOU for your comment…much appreciated!
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Very energetic post, I liked that a lot. Will there be a