Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The day when I get old

My Mother recently told me about a poem she read while visiting her sister in Texas. She said "I only remember a few lines," and I replied, "don't worry Mami I will find it for you." And I did. It really is a beautiful poem. It's in Spanish so I hope the meaning is not lost in my translation. It's a poem about a father expressing his thoughts on aging.

The day when I get old and I'm not the same;
be patient and understand me,
when I spill food on my shirt
and forget how to tie my shoes,
please be patient.
Remember the times I spent teaching you
to do the same things.
If when you converse with me,
I repeat the same words
and you know how I'll finish the sentence
do not interrupt me but listen to me.
When you were little
so you could fall asleep I had to
tell you the same story many times
until you closed your little eyes.
When you are visiting me and I have an accident in my pants please do not be ashamed
but understand that I can no longer control my physiological needs.
Think how many times as a child I helped
you and patiently waited by your side
until you finished what you were doing.
Do not blame me because I will not
wash up when I feel a cold and cough.
Remember the times when you were a child and I ran after you and made
hundreds of excuses to make your bath fun.
When you see me useless
and ignorant with new technologies and gadgets
I beg you to give me all the time
necessary so I won't get hurt with your sarcastic laugh.
Remember that I taught you how to eat, dress yourself and
face the adversities of life which
you do so well and it was due to my efforts and
perseverance. When we are having a conversation and I seem to forget
what we are talking about, please be patient and give me time maybe it wasn't as important
as having your company. And when I don't want to eat, don't force me, I know how much I can eat,
remember I have lost my teeth and my sense of taste.
When my legs are weak and tired give me your warm hand for support
just like I did when you where learning to walk.
Finally, when one day you hear me say I give up and no longer wish to follow the path of life
give me encouragement to go ahead , that with your love and understanding
I will go out persevering. And please don't be mad at me.
One day you will understand this has nothing
to do with you and how much I love you.
Try to understand that I'm not longer living, rather surviving ,waiting quietly for the
inevitable arrival of my sad end.
Don't be sad or angry nor feel helpless to see me like this.
Give me your heart and love just like you did when you
where born. I ask that you accompany me to finish my race,
give me your love and patience.
I will show my gratitude with smiles.
Your old man

Este pensamiento expresa los sentimientos que un padre tiene respecto a su vejez.

Querido Hijo(a):
El día en que este viejo y ya no sea el mismo ten paciencia y compréndeme, cuando derrame comida sobre mi camisa y olvide como atarme mis zapatos, tenme paciencia, recuerda las horas que pase enseñándote hacer las mismas cosas. Si cuando conversas conmigo y repito las mismas palabras y sabes de sobra como terminan, no me interrumpas y escúchame. Cuando eras pequeño, para que te durmieras tuve que contarte miles de veces el mismo cuento hasta que cerraras los ojitos.Cuando estamos reunidos y haga mis necesidades, no te avergüences y comprende que no tengo la culpa de ello pues ya no puedo controlarlas, piensa cuantas veces cuando niño te ayude y estuve paciente a tu lado esperando a que te terminaras lo que estabas haciendo.
No me reproches el que no quiera bañarme, no me regañes por ello, recuerda los momentos en que te perseguí y los mil pretextos que te inventaba para hacer mas agradable tu baño.Cuando me veas inútil e ignorante frente todas las cosas tecnológicas que ya no podré entenderte, suplico que me des todo el tiempo que sea necesario, para no lastimarme con tu sonrisa burlona. Acuérdate que fui yo quien te enseñó tantas cosas comer, vestirte, y como enfrentarte a la vida tan bien como lo haces, todo ello es producto de mi esfuerzo y perseverancia.Cuando un momento mientras conversamos me llegue a olvidar de lo que estamos hablando dame todo el tiempo que sea necesario hasta que me recuerde y si no puedo hacerlo no te impacientes tal vez no era tan importante lo que quería es estar contigo en ese momento.
Si alguna vez ya no quiero comer no me insistas se cuanto puedo y cuando no debo también compréndeme que con el tiempo ya no tengo dientes para morder ni gusto para sentir.Cuando mis piernas fallen por estar cansadas para andar dame tu mano tierna para apoyarme como lo hice o cuando comenzaste a caminar con tus débiles piernitas.Por último, cuando algún día oigas decir que ya no quiero vivir y solo deseo morir, no te enfades. Algún día entenderás que esto no tiene nada que ver con tu cariño o cuanto te ame. Trata de comprender que ya no vivo, sobrevivo y eso ya no es vivir.Siempre quise lo mejor para ti y he preparado los caminos que haz debido recorrer. Piensa entonces que con ese paso me adelantaré.Estaré construyendo para ti , otra ruta en otro tiempo, pero siempre contigo no te sientas triste, enojándote o impotente por verme así.
Dame tu corazón, compréndeme y apoyame como cuando empezaste a vivir. De la misma manera como yo te he apoyado en tu sendero, te ruego me acompañes al terminar el mío. Dame amor, paciencia y te devolveré gratitud y sonrisas con el inmenso amor que te tengo.
Tu Viejo

Beli's great-grandfather is in the hospital and reading this poem touches my heart because as much as we want to see him return home with us we also don't want him to suffer. (He underwent a five hour surgery on Friday and remains in critical condition.)

What thoughts do you have on the day you get old?


  1. Sorry to hear Beli's great-grandfather is in hospital and in critical condition. I do hope he gets well soon and return home. Ah, on becoming older and getting old - I do not have much to say on the subject as life usually has the answers before we even begin preparing. XX
    P.S. That poem is profound and full of meaning.

  2. I am so sorry to hear about Beli's great gandfather. Unfortunately, as the system is now, all of us are aging every day and can't do anything about it. I've written many poems myself about my own aging process. My post I have planned for tomorrow is on this subject as well!...The poem above reads like a wonderfully loving letter to an adult child. Very touching, very true, and very revealing. I loved it!

  3. That is quite possibly the saddest poem I've ever read. :(
    So sorry about Beli's grandpa. I will say a prayer for him right now.
    please keep us posted.

  4. @Fashion,
    His illness took us by surprise, because he was healthy only a week ago. It's heartbreaking to see Great-grandma. she misses having her companion of more than 50 years next to her.she can't bear to go to the hospital to see him. I will keep you posted.

  5. @Poetess,
    I will hop over tomorrow to your blog to read your poem. It's true and sad like you said, we are aging, and not much we can do but remain hopeful.

  6. thanks Jen,
    It's sad at the end of the poem, about letting go. thank you for your prayers. I will keep u posted.

  7. What a beautiful poem - who is it by? It's times like this (and whenever I read Pablo Neruda) that I wish I could read/understand Spanish, because I feel that if a poem is that beautiful in English, it must be so much more beautiful in the native tongue.
    I'm so sorry to hear about Beli's great grandfather. He, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers!

  8. I am so sorry that Beli's grandfather is not well....That is such a beautiful poem:)Your whole family is in my thoughts.
    Kisses, my lovely

  9. Sorry to read about Beli's great grandfather. You and your family are in my thoughts & prayers.
    It is Beautiful & very touching poem. I don't like the thought of getting old... but then nobody does, I guess!

  10. Allison,
    I think it's anonymous because the many links where I found the poem, the author was not listed. It's a shame right, because it's so beautifully written and the person deserves the credit. and thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

  11. So sorry about Beli's great-grandfather, my thoughts are with all of you.
    The poem is so beautiful and touches my heart.
    What am I thinking of myself getting old? Well, I'd like to get old, but of course only in a healthy condition. This is not in my hands, we will see what future brings and hope the best.

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Thank you for your comments!

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