Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Away From Her

The problem, you see, is one of geography. I don't think any middle-aged son or daughter actively wants to put his/her ailing parent in a nursing home INSTEAD of helping out with said ailing parent, but we have created a world in which we now live far, far from our families. If it were different, when an elderly parent became too ill to care for him/herself many a family member living down the street would be able to help out in shifts/move in/have the parent move in with him. If we all lived together in big clan households, it would be different. But it's not different.

Of course, caring for, say, an Alzheimer's patient can be far too much to ask of one person alone.

What brought on these thoughts? Well, today I saw the movie Away From Her, in which Julie Christie plays a woman losing herself to Alzheimer's. Her devoted (but really more like once he strayed but these days he's devoted again) husband kind of loses her, too, once she enters a long-term care facility. There's so much more to it than that. Parts of it are exquisitely rendered, and though it meanders a bit slowly at one point, it gets REALLY good again at the end. I recommend it. Also, it's Canadian. That's fun. (A year later, am I still an honorary Canadian? I'll have to check on that one with my Korea ESL teacher friends who designated me as such.) Plus, one of the most beautiful songs ever plays during the end credits, kd lang's cover of "Helpless." That is simply an amazing piece of music. I had to catch my breath when I heard it start playing after the touching, swirling ending.

But here's what I was thinking, really, as I thought about taking care of or not being able to take care of ailing parents in the home. I was thinking all these fools who bitch about kids in daycare should shut their traps. I mean, I've always thought that they should shut their traps anyway, because who are you to tell someone else whether they need to work while raising their children and such. But now I think they should shut their traps even more. Little kids, they are learning and growing and need to interact with other people and play and make friends and I really don't know that day care is all that bad. (and yes, i remember, i shouldn't call it "day care, "you are taking care of people, not taking care of days, but i forgot what i'm supposed to call it) And they get to go home at the end of the day, at any rate. Whereas no one is coming at the end of the day for some of the ailing grandparents, you know? Sometimes family members don't even visit at all.

Maybe all these sanctimonious "Oh, you down there beneath me, you work outside the home, do you?" people should go spend some time visiting people in a nursing home and get over themselves.

I'd probably be more articulate about this if I weren't distracted watching the Red Sox lose while anticipating how I'm going to watch the Jazz lose next. Then again, maybe not.

Furthermore, I would just like to state for the record that Julie Christie is hot. Still. I can only hope that when I am 66 years old that I have as amazing a body as she still does.

To our health!

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