Wednesday, September 01, 2004

the curse of growing old 

My mother is 84 years old. She's bedridden now and suffering from alzheimer's disease, an affliction of old people, the origin of which is still unknown. Everytime I visit her, I want to cry out and demand to have the mother that I have known before. As it is, my mother hardly recognizes me until she is reminded of who I am. And even that, I don't really know if it sunk in. Then it hit me. Growing old is something we cannot avoid. Well, we could, but that means dying young. I don't want that either. Anyway, I tried to find an answer to my mom's affliction and came up with this poem. Well, it's not my mother actually, but she inspired me to write this poem. Hope you like it.

The curse of growing old

She does nothing but sleep, her only solace
from an empty world devoid
of ambitions. Just surprised to survive
and see another day.

Outliving her husband,
her curse.
She witnessed her children die,
suffered the pangs of their anguish
as they cried for help like unfed infants
pleading, gasping for milk.

She’s in a state of stupor,
a rock beneath a rushing river,
oblivious to the strength of its onrush or passing currents.
Passive, she accepts whatever floats her way.

Had she been in her prime, she would’ve question the universe.
Why couldn’t it follow the natural
scheme of things… that the first one in should be
the first one out.

As if to console her,
I touch her hands, hoping--
But as it is, blank stare passes through the most opaque things
before her eyes...like me.

She looks not at my apparently transparent face
but at the clouds.
She returns to her youth, calls out her friends
by their first names... smiles and plays with them again.
She closes her eyes
and sleeps.

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