Nursing homes have a large number of seniors who are almost anonymous. Their memories are fading, opportunities are diminishing, and so are their relationships with their family. In the past, such people were visited very often, but nowadays most of their relatives just called the nursing home and asked how their elderly are doing.
In addition, the staff of these institutions are sometimes so busy with their daily duties that they have no chance to get to know the seniors and have any deeper relationship with them. This situation is quite sad and depressing that should not have happened.
When Mak Filiser died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home, the nurses felt that he had left no items of real value behind him.
When it was time to clean MAK’s room, one of the nurses noticed something. It was a poem that an old man wrote. She began to read it, and the words it contained knocked her to her knees. She decided to make copies of this poem and share it with each employee in the nursing home and her friends.
The poem is titled “Broken Old Man,” and no doubt has given the staff some very valuable experiences.
Broken Old Man by Mak Filiser.
What do you see, nurses, what do you see?
What are you thinking, when you look at me,
A crabbit* old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with far-away eyes,
Who, quite unresisting, lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding the long day to fill.
I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I move at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of 10 with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters, who loved one another.
A bride now at 20 my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.
At 25 now I have young of my own,
Who need me to build a secure happy home,
At 50 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 busy with young of their own,
And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.
The body it crumbles, grace and vigour 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 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 crabbit old woman, look closer see ME.