This I Believe

Rachel - Cary, North Carolina
Entered on April 19, 2006

I believe people should be treated with respect and be not abandoned, no matter how many wrinkles they possess or how many decades they have seen and lived. However to understand why and what I believe it’s important to look at the influences of my belief. I am the product of two parents, who work and have worked in the field of medicine. My father is a doctor and my mother used to be a nurse and let me tell you, you could never fake sick. Anyway besides few sick days, this background gave me my fair share of medical terms, debates, and stories at the dinner table. Much of my early life had been filled with the stories of both my mother’s and my father’s patients. Some of these stories have triggered a wide range of emotions from joyful to heartbreaking. These tales introduced me to several important political and social issues faced by our senior citizens in the past and even today, although I didn’t understand or connect it at that time. However, I prefer not to focus on politics for something such as this, but rather the emotions, feelings, and thoughts that were projected in my mind at that current time. One particular story sticks out, even if it isn’t the most detailed or the most entertaining, for this story forced me look at the naked truth. The story was passed to me by my mother, who was at that time was working as nurse at Luther Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. According to my mother, there were state run nursing homes, which were designated for the poor. And one of my mother’s patients, an elderly lady, was sent to one of these facilities. The lady was widowed, had no children, and not a single relatives that would step forward to her aid. She also had, what my mother called “dementia.” Dementia, as my mother described, was sort like Alzheimer’s. My mother felt such anguish and sadness seeing that lady in such a state that she only visited her once. After hearing that I felt heavy hearted, confused, and scared. I began to wonder: “How is it that people can simply cast aside another human being once they reached a certain age? Particularly those who raised have you or are related to you? Or how would you feel if you were given such fate?” These questions lead me to remember the kindness and warmth my parents, relatives, and grandparents have given to me over the years and such a fate I wouldn’t want them to experience or anyone for that matter. I knew that if people aren’t treated with the respect of care they deserve then what can you believe to be different for your future? I believe that respect for the elderly should take center stage in the grand play we call life.