Saturday, September 26, 2009
The life behind the curtains.
Most of life takes place behind curtains, out of public view, behind lawns and fortifications and significant other tell tale signs, the make of the car, the cut of the cloth.
We live different lives sometimes, the one that keeps us sane and connected to our family; and the other one, the projected images that we show our neighbors, our friends. We are really quite adept at maintaining our public self.
Sometimes, our life isn't visible at all until we are dead and our relatives have to sort out our junk. Old people don't even know when life has become a burden and chores are not getting done. They want to maintain the life they had, the life everybody expects them to maintain.
Just recently, an old friend of ours had an accident and his family convinced him to go live with them. We all thought that it was a bit premature. Our old friend was not that old; he was sociable and active, attended many events, took his usual walks, was clean and engaging.
Only after he left, and his house was cleaned, and the land cleared of all the debris, the truth was discovered. He had accumulated stuff for years: bags and bags of soot, bags of fertilizer,boxes of old clothes and old china, garbage not disposed that had been attacked by rodents.
If you know old folks, keep an eye on them, notice their routines, offer to help with chores, offer to run errands.