That Person Inside You


| 1/18/2016 10:39:00 AM


Tags: Oscar Wilde, Getting old, Making memories, Meaningful life, Mary Conley, Nebraska,

Mary ConleyDear friends,

Many of you have probably read “An Old Lady’s Poem” that was found after nurses in a geriatric ward in Scotland went through a deceased woman’s possessions. It later went viral on the internet, and then someone wrote a similar “An Old Man’s Poem.” The idea of the poems is that when you look at an old person, you only see the cruel results of old age, but inside that shell lives the real person who had a meaningful life. 

I read that poem several years ago, and it changed the way I look at elderly people. I even find it rather intriguing to see someone in the nursing home and try to imagine them as a child or a teenager. It makes me feel a fondness toward them, and I want to ask them questions about their life.

 old lady

My mother lived to be almost ninety-seven, and had been old for so long that I felt it important to display photos  of various stages of her life at her funeral so others could remember the whole person. When we returned home I chose a few to put on our refrigerator. The image of her sitting in a wheel chair doing word search puzzles was fresh in my mind; I also wanted to remember the mother who raised me and the grandmother of our young children. 

Have you noticed that at a certain time in your own life, the real you remains the same age from then on while your body constantly changes? I think for me, I have stayed in my late forties and early fifties. It was a leveling off time after children, and I have continued being at that age while the mirror mocks me and reflects something dreadfully different. Yes, my body has betrayed me.




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