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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2027295-The-Specter-of-Living-Too-Long
by Harry
Rated: E · Poetry · Health · #2027295
A free verse poem about living too long.
I’ve reached age seventy,
which qualifies as old age.
I have seen what living
into the eighth or ninth decade
so frequently brings --
dreadful physical impairment,
including severe arthritis that cripples
hands, knees, shoulders, and hips.
Too feeble to stand and walk,
either completely bed-ridden
or merely wheel chair-bound,
in and out of a hospital bed
via a sling and mechanical lift
like a side of beef,
victims reside in a nursing home,
unhappy and waiting to die
to rejoin their loved ones
who often preceded them
in death many years previous.

Such elderly age can bring
incontinence and life spent
in adult diapers, on which
one must now depend.
Many suffer failing health
and failing minds.
Once razor-sharp minds
now regularly confuse
past with present
and forget what happened
only two hours earlier.
Doctors diagnose whether
it is simple dementia or
Alzheimer’s that bedevils them.

Once strong and proud people
are reduced to a pathetic shell of
what they were, with the meaning
in their life slipping away.
It grieves my heart
and saddens my mind
to see what frequently awaits
those who live too long.

The possibility of such
an unfortunate future
scares and haunts me.
I fervently hope
I don’t live long enough
to lose proper functioning
of my body and mind
so I no longer can enjoy
the beauty that abounds
in life but instead descend
into mere existence.

There is much to recommend
dying before one succumbs
to such a pitiful fate.
Death can be a blessed,
merciful deliverance
from the indignity
of living too long.

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