Billy left behind immortality
The American Indians and Eskimos revere the elderly in their tribes, they knew that they had great wisdom and many years of knowledge that could better their lives. Now we heave elderly into homes and forget their existence.
I "adopted a grandparent" when I was living in Orlando, it was a class project for humanities but even after the semester was over I kept visiting "Billy". I saw pictures of her when she was young and beautiful, full of life and smiles. She told me all about her life; her marriage to her sailor husband who had fought in world war two and her 2 children. The stories were fascinating, and it was as if a book had suddenly come alive, I hung on every word and moral lessons. I will never forget the day when she taught me my biggest lesson, the end of mortality. She stated somberly that her son only visited her once a year and she had yet to see her grandchild. Billy told me each morning she wondered if she was going to die that day, and if not then, then when?
"Isn’t that why I am in here? I cannot leave, I have no freedom, no car, no self administered decision, and I am in here... seemingly just waiting to die."
The bingo room/cafeteria suddenly fell quiet for me when she said that. The wrinkles on her face were soon covered with silent tears and my heart lay upon the floor where she so subtly crushed it with those few words. No one cared, no one remembered her name, the accomplishments were gone, the awards decayed, her dreams forgotten, the love of her life, dead. Her son didn't care. Her friends, gone.
What is to become of me? Of you?
I am reminded of the Rumi when he said
"When you are dead,
Seek for your resting place
Not on the earth,
But in the hearts of men."
She has done so, for me Billy left me with a sense of urgency to love while I still can, create while my hands are not yet frail, give of myself while my heart is not yet full, think while my ideas are still my own, run away while freedom is still an option and set my course so that one day I may remain in the hearts of men, forever.
how ironic that i was dealing with this same topic one year ago (see first entry of blog in 08/04)