Hard Candy

Tyler - Glendale, Arizona
Entered on August 29, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Whenever I see an old person struggling to get through the most simplest of everyday tasks, I wonder to myself “would they rather just give up?” My instinctual response to myself is a bleak “probably”. But what baffles me is the rare smile you can sometimes see on their face.

A couple weeks ago my 93 year old grandmother had to be hospitalized. Her spine was literally disintegrating. There was no real medical reason for her problem, aside from just being old.

When I went to visit her I had tried to mentally prepare myself for it being the last time I would see her. However, I was not prepared for the things I would see around her.

TV shows make nursing homes seem like this place where old people live to get better, play bingo, and eat pursefuls of hard candy. But when the elevator doors opened I saw the most shocking sight I had ever seen.

The seemingly endless hallway to my grandmother’s room was littered with elderly people begging for help. One man that somehow caught my attention had his pants at his knees lying on the floor pawing at an orderly to help him up. Even the dilapidated walls of the building screamed “horror movie”.

By the time I reached my grandmother’s cell, I couldn’t take anymore, my head was spinning. So when I managed to get myself into the room I expected her to be as helplessly depressed as her fellow patients. But miraculously I was greeted with an infectious smile that seemed to light up the room.

I thought to myself “If I was stuck in this hellhole I would go insane”. But my grandma somehow seemed to be positive. She told me that even though she would rather be home, seeing how the family gathered for her gave her a silver lining.

I believe getting old is not for the young. Instead of despair, my grandma handled a dark situation with liveliness and hope. Her attitude not only helped herself deal with her illness, but everyone else around her as well. Because in the end, nobody wants spend time with a grumpy old women.