Years ago, I came across a poem that I wanted to keep, as it expressed so many things about aging that have helped me as I deal with my father. I don’t know where I saw it, or how long I have had it. I only know that it has been in a file on my desk for years. This morning as I went through my desk stack, I found it again and thought that I should share it. So, here it is.
The original text was in Spanish by Guillermo Peña. It was translated to English by Sergio Cadena.
My dear child. The day you see I am getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through. If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don’t interrupt to say, “You said the same thing a minute ago.” Just listen, please. Try to remember the times you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep.
When I don’t want to take a bath, don’t be mad and please don’t embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a child.
When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don’t look at me that way… remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things, like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life’s issues every day… the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I am going through.
If I occasionally lose track of what we’re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can’t, don’t be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing is for me to be with you.
And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand, the same way I offered you mine when you were first walked. When those days come, don’t feel sad… just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I’ll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared. With a big smile and the huge love I’ve always had for you, I just want to say, I love you… my darling daughter, my handsome son, my beloved grandchildren.
I hope this touches your heart, as much as it did mine.