“‘Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly…”
Leviticus 19:32 (NIV)
We live in a disposable era where everything that once was deemed useful is now discarded. Gone are the days of the television repairman. Now if your TV breaks you just throw it in the overflowing dump and go buy another one. One-use products like paper towels replace rags that were constantly reused. Everything is new and improved, but much can be said for the good old standbys that were so reliable and long-lasting.
As I am growing older I have more respect for our older generation, especially for those who lived during the Depression. Just the other day I was visiting with a friend who told me about moving to New Mexico by wagon during the Depression. What took her family three weeks is now covered in a car in a single day.
It is so sad to see many older people who are forgotten by their children. I have one older friend in Artesia who spends most of her day alone watching television or sitting on the front porch. Recently she had an accident and cut her hand which bled and bled. She didn’t feel she should call her daughter at work so she wrapped up her hand and waited for her to come home. All of her children are busy with their own lives, which leaves my friend alone and forgotten.
It also breaks my heart when children put their elderly parents into homes because they don’t want to be bothered by them. I realize there comes a time when parents have to go into a nursing home because they need more care than their children can give. However, many of the elderly can continue to live at home with just a little help, either from their children or a caregiver.
Recently my mother moved to Tucumcari, leaving her home of 45 years. It is such a joy to have her close so we can spend more time together. How I love the hours of visiting and learning more about her life. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to do things for her, but at the same time I respect her independence.
Our older generation is a true treasure whose value can’t be measured. A person can learn so much from their knowledge and wisdom. While it is true that the Internet contains untold facts and figures, what we learn from an older person puts everything into perspective.
All my life I treasured the time spent with older relatives and friends.
Each time I could do something for them I felt so blessed and privileged. I still remember priceless truths, even though many of these dear people passed away years ago. Every one of these special older adults throughout my life left me with precious memories that will always remain. I pray that when I am old and gray I can pass along some of these memories and truths to another generation.
Debra Whittington is a longtime Tucumcari resident. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org