Desolation (ageism)

Let’s go back to the July 2 submission in which we disclosed that Henri believes that aging causes the elderly to feel ostracized due to three factors, “segregation, desolation and loss of self”.  We discussed segregation on July 2 and today we will deal with desolation.  Henri defines desolation as, “the crippling experience of the shrinking circle of friends with the devastating awareness that the few years left to live will not allow you to widen the circle again.”  What do you think about this premise?  Are old friends the best friends or is it possible to establish a new circle?  Two perspectives: do you have friends 20, 30 or 40 years older than you? and, if you are over 70, do you find that ‘youngsters’ are reaching out to you?  Please respond!

3 thoughts on “Desolation (ageism)”

  1. I remember when my elderly Aunt shared the poem below with me. She had been struggling with the 3 things stated in this article and wanted me to know how grateful she was that she was able to have some people in her life who did not ostracize her but accepted her as a valued friend or family member. As I age myself I am reminded of her concerns. Do I repeat myself too often? Am I forgetting too frequently? Will you still value my opinion? Will you still want to be around me as I grow older. I have friends who are older…not many now as I am 66 myself. Certainly I have friends who are much younger. When I am with my older friends, ages 75 and up, I cherish their wisdom and stories. I encourage them to share. When I am with younger friends, I appreciate their enthusiasm and the journey upon which they are embarking. They seem to want to talk about their choices and to share their accomplishments. It is an interesting place to be. I feel as if, although I am 66, I am still growing and learning and contributing. Young people still seek my advice and do not seem unwilling to work with me….not around me. My circle of friends includes people of all ages. Desolation is crippling. Without social interaction there is little motivation to go on.

    Beatitudes For The Aged
    by Ester Mary Walker

    Blessed are they
    Who understand
    My faltering step
    And palsied hand.

    Blessed are they
    Who know today
    My ears must strain
    To catch what they say.

    Blessed are they
    Who seem to know
    My eyes are dim
    and my wits are slow.

    Blessed are they
    That looked away
    When coffee spilled
    At the table today.

    Blessed are they
    With a cheery smile
    Who stop to chat
    For a little while.

    Blessed are they
    Who never say,
    “You’ve told me that story
    Twice today.”

    Blessed are they
    Who know the ways
    To bring back memories
    Of yesterdays.

    Blessed are they
    Who make it known
    That I’m loved, respected,
    And not alone.

    Blessed are they
    Who know I’m at a loss
    To find the strength
    To carry the cross.

    Blessed are they
    Who ease the days
    On my journey Home
    In loving ways.

  2. Thank you Maria. It sounds like you are one of the fortunate ones who both give and receive in relationship to others. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and the challenge is for the fortunate to identify and engage individuals who find themselves outside the “city walls”. I love your Aunt’s poem because it profoundly “blesses” those who go out of their way to make a connection. Bless you for sharing and please pass on the word and the link to this blog.


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