Prisoner–A Reflection on Aging


In my response to my Monday Morning Writing Prompt I’m led to consider the sad reality of a common response to aging persons who have been affected by dementia or aphasia–the inability to speak that often occurs in the aftermath of a stroke. Having worked many years with the aging population as a Registered Nurse, I’m led to use this prompt to showcase how many approach those who are aging.

Prisoner

They talk about me like I’m not here. Because the words inside my brain can’t find their way to my lips, they think that I’m a shell.

They tell her, this sweet child, that I am not who I used to be. I heard their tsk, tsk when she put her arms around my neck. Don’t they know I feel the softness of her cheek against mine? I smell the scent of peaches in her hair, reminding me of the taste of summer.

She doesn’t shun me, doesn’t recoil from the pungent smell of aging. Doesn’t mind the roughness of my wrinkled cheeks and beard. I know she knows I hear the words she whispers—I love you, Grandpa. Do you remember when you used to bounce me on your knee? I was too young, myself, but Mama has it on a video I love to watch. I know you’re there inside, Grandpa.

I reach for her, to take her on my lap once more but then they grab her by the hand and jerk the child away. I see her tears and now I’m once again alone—a prisoner in this body. But my spirit soars.

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12 thoughts on “Prisoner–A Reflection on Aging

  1. trisha says:

    this is just an adorable story victoria, very touching and extremely beautiful.

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  2. Very touching, Victoria. My husband has Alzheimer’s. His has not advanced to the point that I cannot be his caregiver. I hope that never happens. He is a sweetheart. So far I’ve not experienced any of the harrowing stories I’ve heard can happen. Yes, there are times he doesn’t know who I am, but he’s always treated me with respect and kindness. I’ve seen that look of confusion, even fear, but God has been good to us. Joy comes in the morning. Blessings to you…

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  3. What a lovely, bittersweet piece Victoria. Fills my heart with both sadness for the old man feels but can no longer express, and gladness that he is happy just having the little girl remember him. I find myself reminding people around me to remember to be kind to the elderly, as we each are that much closer ourselves each day, soon enough we will be there too. Very thoughtful piece.

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  4. Bodhirose says:

    Isn’t that sad. And I know there’s much of this going on in the world. Not only was he being treated badly but so was the child. Disrespected and disregarded…

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  5. Tino11 says:

    Being a grandad, it actually hurt reading that. I dont know how you do it, all I know is, it must be a gift.

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  6. Your words brought tears to my eyes as they are so beautifully written xx

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  7. TC says:

    This is so sad 😦 brutal reality, expressed so clearly. Really makes me think. I love this Poem!

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  8. This was so piercingly touching.

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  9. souldipper says:

    Victoria, every little bit of exposure is needed that Senior Abuse is far more than verbal and physical! Emotional abuse cuts deeper and silently crueler than any other.

    Thankfully the world is even learning that handles like “dear”, “sweetie”, etc. are not only being called ‘condescending’, they also a form of abuse.

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  10. tskraghu says:

    read the mind so nicely, i liked it.

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