Look Closer, See Me!

elderly01Dear Friends for Life:   As you know, being involved in Pro Life work does not just mean to be against abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. It means that we should have real concern for the lives of others. There is new group appearing in many countries who we must remember and love. These are the older ones among us whose bodies are crumbling.

Today, I would like to share with you a poem from a very old lady in a nursing home in England. The writer is anonymous. Let me quote the poem:

What do you see, nurse, what do you see
What are you thinking, when you look at me
A crabbed old woman, not very wise
Uncertain of habit, with far away eyes
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice, “I do wish you’d try.”

Who seems not to notice the things that you do
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe
Who resisting or not, let’s you do as you will
With bathing, and feeding, the long day to fill
Is that what you’re thinking, is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse, you’re not looking at me.

I’ll tell you who I am, as I sit here so still
As I move at your bidding, and eat at your will
I’m a small child of ten, with a father and mother
Brothers and sisters, who love one another;
A young girl of sixteen, with wings on her feet
Dreaming that soon a love she will meet.

A bride at twenty, my heart gives a leap
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.
At twenty-five now, I have young of my own
Who need me to build a secure, happy home.
A woman of thirty, my young now grow fast
Bound together with ties that should last;
At forty, my young sons have grown up and down
But my man’s beside me to see that I don’t mourn.

At fifty, once more babies play around my knee
Again I know children, my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead
I look at the future, I shutter with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own
And I think of the years, and the love that I’ve known.

I’m an old woman now, and nature is cruel
It is her jest, to make old age look like a fool.
The body — it crumbles, grace and vigor depart
And there’s a stone where once I had a heart.

But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells
And now, again my bittered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain
And I’m loving and living life over again.
I think of the years, all too few, gone too fast
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, nurse, open and see
Not a crabbed old woman, look closer, see me!

(End of the poem)

This poem was addressed to the nurses around her, and was found after she died. But I really think it was written to all of us living in homes and societies with older people whose bodies are crumbling. Another class of lonely and suffering people.

God Bless
Jerry Novotny, OMI


(The Difference is LIFE):   It is said that whoever practises hospitality, entertains God. A Danish proverb tells us that where there is room in the heart, there is room in the house. Home, and sharing home, means different things to all of us, but it is clear that many quotes and cultures encourage to make others welcome: ‘Hospitality is a little fire, a little food, and an immense quiet.’ –(Ralph Waldo Emerson)


Websites by Fr. Jerry


Fr. Jerry’s Blog  (in English)

Japan-lifeissues.net (in Japanese)

Fr. Jerry’s Blog  (in Japanese)

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