Daily Prompt: If you could slow down an action that usually zooms by, or speed up an event that normally drags on, which would you choose, and why?
I look around at the elderly people in my life. Modern medicine has done a good job at extending their lives, kudos to it.
But just as going back in time and changing the course of history has unintended consequences (or so they say in the movies), changing the course of nature has consequences. The mentality that extending a life as long as possible is a good and compassionate thing has caused many an elderly person and their families suffering. The elderly are no longer remembered as human beings. A demented person may not be able to speak coherently, but nevertheless has something to say if someone stopped long enough to watch and pay attention.
But as the life of the elderly slows down to a crawl, everyone else’s speeds up. Nobody has the time to spend with someone whose only future is to die. They’re not happy and cute. When they mess in their diapers, you can’t just use a baby wipe and changing station to change them. When they need feeding, you can’t just give them a bottle of pre-made formula and settle them down to sleep.
Has the medical establishment ever wondered whether we’re doing the right thing? Just as my memory of my beloved father-in-law was of him begging to be shot every day for his last few years, my memories of my mother and mother-in-law will be of a constant stench, mixed with grieving crying as they can’t understand what’s happening to them, where everybody is, why their bodies hurt and why they can’t even walk to the goddamned bathroom or eat a decent meal on their own.
Family gatherings no longer include them. Families gather less and less, in fact, because of the strain the divisiveness is causing. Where is she going to live? Who is going to pay for it? Who is carrying more burden than whom? Who is not speaking to whom now?
How are our lives better than the fleeting butterfly — a fleeting moment of great beauty who lives as a part of the artistry of Mother Nature. One leaf to the next, communing with flowers and each other. One magnificent, stunning moment in time. And then it’s gone.
Is that such a bad way to live?