With no Voice

My step dad is lying in a nursing home.  He has alzheimers which is why he ended up in that place, but the prostate cancer he was diagnosed with a month ago is what will take his life.  I’ve watched him decline from the bright, vibrant doctor he was just 7 years ago, to a man who cannot speak, a man who cannot perform the most basic tasks, and to a man who lives in a place where people look past you.  Nursing homes are prisons.  Make no mistake, it matters little if  your stay is funded through the forced sale of your property, or if it’s a medicaid bed they lay you in; you are insignificant to those who collect a paycheck taking care of you.

Promises flow freely, you are a body in a bed – and nothing more  If you are one of the lucky ones, you still have visitors; so many have no one.  You lay in waiting, in your own filth, until someone notices you or until someone makes them take notice.

My mother has been an advocate not only for her husband but for the other forgotten ones.  She has fought the fight for 6 years and soon it will all come to an end for her, but not for others.  Why is it that we are so outraged when a child is neglected but so unshocked by the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters who have grown old  and disgarded?  Do we stop mattering when we are old and sick?  Or is it that we expect little and dignity matters less?

Death hurts those who must watch helplessy from the sidelines, the dying get to escape.  When you fall to your knees and beg for someone’s life to end because you cannot stand to see them suffer any longer,  you almost feel selfish.    Where does it end?  For Charles, my wonderful step father, it will end with his freedom.  No more shackles, invisible as they might be.  I only hope that when he arrives at his next destination, the memory of the horrid places he spent his last years, fades quickly.


About this entry