When Mak Filiser died all alone at 86 in an old age home. But what he left behind brought tears to everyone’s eyes:
When Mak Filiser died, the nurses began to clear out his room, wanting to give the room to another old person but when she was cleaning, the nurse found something amazingly beautiful and valuable lying among Mak’s personal effects.
In the fast paced life of today, our elders are often left behind. Our parents and grandparents raise us, care for us, love us and then one day we forget all about them. There are many elders we often leave in old age homes. There are many reasons for leaving them there – children not being there for them, their illness, they not having anyone in life… But it is one of the saddest things to come across someone old and frail and forgotten at a stage in life when they perhaps need someone the most. For such people forgotten in the old age homes, there’s only the companionship of their nurses who care for them and some other members of the home.
While initially, there are a few visits and calls, these too soon stop as time passes by and the elders are forgotten by all. These old age homes are often overfull and understaffed leading to further issues of cranky nurses. As the homes are often overfull, the nurses cannot even establish a personal rapport with any old person and often end up just knowing them as a name. Mak Filiser was one such old man, a who lived alone in a nursing home, forgotten by all and had only his old age home members and nurses to live with. He lived all alone in the Geriatric ward of a nursing home and the nurses did not really think he had anything of value.
However, he proved them all wrong, so wrong. When Mak Filiser died, the nurses began to clear out his room, wanting to give the room to another old person but when she was cleaning, the nurse found something amazingly beautiful and valuable lying among Mak’s personal effects. No, it was not a gemstone or a treasure but rather a poem. A poem so touching and beautiful that the nurse instantly made copies of the poem and distributed them among each of the staff members. This is the poem he wrote:
Cranky Old Man
– by Mak Filiser
What do you see nurses? What do you see?
What are you thinking…when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man…not very wise,
Uncertain of habit…with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food…and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice…I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice…the things that you do.
And forever is losing…A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not…lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding…The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse…you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding…as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten…with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters…who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen…with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now…a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty…my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows…that I promised to keep
At Twenty-Five, now…I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide…And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty…My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other…With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons…have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me…to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more…Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children…My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me…My wife is now dead.
I look at the future…I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing…young of their own.
And I think of the years…And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man…and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age…look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles…grace and vigor, depart.
There is now a stone…where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass a young man still dwells,
And now and again…my battered heart swells
I remember the joys…I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living…life over again.
I think of the years, all too few…gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact…that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people…open and see.
Not a cranky old man.