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Crabby Old Woman

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Casa Paloma

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When an old lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Dundee, Scotland, it was believed that she had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through her meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital. One nurse took her copy to Ireland. The old lady's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the North Ireland Assn. for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on her simple, but eloquent poem. And this old Scottish lady, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this "anonymous" poem winging across the internet:

What do you see, nurses? What do you see?
What are you thinking when you're looking at me?
A crabby old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with faraway eye.

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, lets 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 her so still,
As I do at your bidding, as I 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 now, a lover she'll meet.
A bride soon 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 guide, and a secure happy home.
A woman of thirty, my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other, with ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my man is beside me, to see I don't mourn.
At fifty, once more babies play around my knee,
Again we know children, my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead,
I look at the future, I shudder 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 now an old woman, and nature is cruel,
'Tis just to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone, where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass, a young girl still dwells,
And now and again, my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
And I'm loving and living life all 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 people, open and see,
Not a crabby old woman; look closer...see ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an old person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within.......God willing we will all one day be there too!
 

ranchwife

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just got home from a 12 hour shift at the local hospital and i was the primary nurse for an elderly woman with end-stage dementia....poor thing cannot even remember her own name much less feed or toilet herself!! it is so easy to forget that these people were once young, energetic, vibrant, loving mothers, sisters, sons, brothers, dads, grandparents!! thank you for the beautiful poem...will be taking it with me to work tomorrow to remind the rest of the nurses of "who" the little woman in room 2 once was :cry: :cry:
 

feeder

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I thought with that poem, I'd tell a news story I heard yesterday on the radio. An elderly man in a nursing home beat a fellow resident to death with his cane. He thought he had stolen his dentures. Poor soul, he probably just lost them in his bedsheets.
 

ranchwife

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feeder said:
I thought with that poem, I'd tell a news story I heard yesterday on the radio. An elderly man in a nursing home beat a fellow resident to death with his cane. He thought he had stolen his dentures. Poor soul, he probably just lost them in his bedsheets.

i worked a nursing home for 2 years and i saw dentures just about everywhere you can imagine.....toilets bowls, garbage cans, eyeglass cases, other peoples mouths, dirty clothes hampers, sock drawers, bottom of milk glasses...... :shock: :shock: :shock: what a tragedy that this happened!!!
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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Thank you for posting that poem, Casa Paloma. It was tremendously enlightening. How easy to NOT see the person inside that worn out body.
 

Faster horses

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Casa, that was PROFOUND.

Sad, but profound.

And we've all got it to look foreward to.

But that poem will remember to keep my heart soft toward older folks, which is good.

I know that at close to 60, my mind and spirit feels young
but my body has betrayed me somewhat.

DARN!
 

Chuckie

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one of my best friends here is a man who is almost 83 yrs old--he's fighting pneumonia and has been for a month: if some of you would give a quick prayer for him, i know that i would appreciate it. he is not only a source of great stories, but he reminds me that every day should be taken advantage of--if for no other reason than it's available.

i'm worried about him...
 

ranchwife

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chuckie said:
one of my best friends here is a man who is almost 83 yrs old--he's fighting pneumonia and has been for a month: if some of you would give a quick prayer for him, i know that i would appreciate it. he is not only a source of great stories, but he reminds me that every day should be taken advantage of--if for no other reason than it's available.

i'm worried about him...

he will be in my prayers tonight as will his family be!!!
 

Chuckie

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thank you SO much, ladies! i don't know if there's time to get them on tape, but there's time to get them in my journal. his dad was a horse trader and he and his brothers did some pretty dirty tricks to each other...!

see---you're helping me remember even now, and i'll pick his daughters' brains too. lol
 

Chuckie

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wouldn't THAT be the cat's meow? i could, too... it'd be fun to put the family together that way. i think all i can do now is to put his stories down, and give them to the family.

it's not that i don't care, it's more that i have my own huge family too: how does one do it all?

but i will get his stories down: it's a great history starting in the 20's, and i don't know that the family has much of his particular history down--they've "heard it all before" syndrome. the old stories are being lost as his siblings die.... :cry:
 

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