The Gift of the Aged

As children, we tend to not understand the nurturing yet independent nature of the elderly generation. Like many things in life, we expect them to be there whenever we desire or need their presence. They'd bandage our wounds, fight our battles, and love us no matter what crazy things we got into. All of this, for nothing in return except love and respect. Now that I am older and much more schooled in the ways of the world, I see them as much more than aging human beings. Their wise spirits bring history back to life.

One set of my grandparents is deceased, and not a day goes by that I do not wish I could sit down with them once again and hear the vivid tales of their distinctive youth adventures. Both of them lived busy and wholesome lives, and they worked hard to make things pleasant for each other and their family. I learned a very important lesson after they both passed away—embrace as much time as you can get with certain people because they aren't going to be around forever.

Ever since having this obvious epiphany, I realized that it was important for me to spend as much time as I could with my other grandparents, even though I already visited them at least once a week. During a good week, I try to see them about three or four times just to check up on them and make sure that they are content.

It makes me sad to think that so many elderly people in this world are neglected and lonely, especially those in assisted care facilities. A good family friend who is pushing 100 lives in such a facility. Her care is good, but she does not get the outside attention that she needs. Her family is limited, and her friends are in the same position as her. I have an awful lot of respect for this woman, and I also realize that without the love and care from outside sources like my family and I, her life would not be as bright. The elderly need our devotion and acceptance more than you'd ever imagine.

As I go off to college, I realize that I shouldn't have taken for granted those people in my life who aren't always going to be around. You forget how much they each mean to you until it is time to leave them. I'm going to miss helping my grandma navigate her iPad, my grandpa talking about the book he's writing, and the elderly woman I know holding my hand and telling me how special I am. I know that they will be right where I left them when I come home, but there is something so nice about having quick access to their wisdom and kindness. As I grow old, I hope I can be just as strong as these special people in my life. Whether they are near or far, don't forget about your elders. Without their guidance and unconditional love, none of us would be where we are today.

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