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I Am Not Okay With This

I am not fully comfortable around old people. I realized that today. I often enjoy them and find them amusing...but rarely do I feel relaxed and at ease. I'm not sure what it is, exactly, because I don't think I fear death. Maybe I do. Or maybe I fear not death itself, but death happening after a disappointing or meaningless conversation, so I opt for none at all.

Maybe it's that I don't like feeling sad. For some reason, I can't help but well up with pity and sadness for people whose lives are slowly slipping away from them. They lose more mobility, they can't see anymore, they move into assisted care. They wait for death to come.

Maybe they don't wait. I've never really asked; I just think that I would. Maybe I won't, really. When I'm there, with soft sagging skin and a body that doesn't obey me, maybe I'll still want to hold on. To relish the good life and the things that haven't slipped away from me yet.

I think it's the useless-ness. In my mind's eye, in their mind's eye - we both wonder what they're good for. Call me crass, but isn't it just a little bit true? They are untapped fountain of knowledge and wisdom and experience, I know. But if I can't get inside, what good is it? I ache at the thought of untold stories, the experiences and the memories that end when they do. Is that selfish? Or is that actually selfless - wanting someone else to have the greatest impact, wanting their memories, their life, their stories to live on beyond themselves...

Comments

MLW said…
Wow! Very thought provoking. Maybe you should try and tap into those memories of the elderly. They most likely do feel useless but your interest, your needing them could give them purpose and something to look forward to. Hmm... how do I apply these thoughts to my life?
Beth said…
my experience tells me (and my frustration lies here) that tapping into those memories is harder than i would have hoped.
Keri H. said…
I myself have always been extremely saddened by this fact: that when we die, our memories and experienced die with us. Also, when we share a memory or experience with someone verbally, it can never be fully comprehended because they did not experience it themselves.
When I get to heaven, I want to ask God why he didn't build us with external hard drives. It sounds creepy, but think about it: we could share our memories and experiences with others so that they not only knew of the facts, but the emotions and sensory facets that we can never fully describe with words alone.
Beth said…
keri - have you seen any of the show 'battlestar galactica'? there are these robot/human things that can download others' memories - it's kind of cool, but it's actually kind of creepy...i wonder if we would really like it if it were possible, or if its appeal lies in the fact that it's impossible.

anyway, thanks for the comment :D

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