She’s Somebody’s Grandma

Every man desires to live long, but no man would be old. ~Jonathan Swift

You made the decision to tuck her away in a “facility”
Where she’s with people in her own age group.
Caregiving isn’t your calling, you insist,
So this was the best choice.
Best for whom?

She’s happy, you say.
Look how well they feed her.
She’s got access to doctors
And new friends.
There’s a chapel for services,
Someone to cut and style hair,
And she doesn’t have to clean house.
They offer planned activities
Like arts and crafts
And television.
Just like being at home.

But it seems to me that growing old
Might be hard enough
Without having to be isolated too.

It’s not my fault, you say,
That she’s lived so long.
She’s had a good life,
A long life.
At least she can afford
A nice place for her golden years.

You can’t know what it’s like though.
You don’t ever visit
Or call
Or write.
So you don’t have to smell the old.
Don’t have to see the frailty.
Don’t have to hear the loneliness.
Don’t have to worry over things
Like thefts, beatings, or neglect.

Sure, she’s tucked away in a “facility,”
Sharing space with “her own kind.”

When all she wanted was to stay home.
Her own home, mind you.
You could’ve hired a housekeeper
Or a nurse or an aide.
Somebody to stay with her and
Make sure she didn’t fall
Or forget to take her pills
Or eat or bathe.
Somebody to play cards with her.
Somebody to take her for a drive
And maybe an ice cream cone.
Somebody she could laugh with
And share memories of days gone by.

I guess it’s true, you know–
Out of sight, out of mind.