GO BACK TO YOUR GRAVE!
That was a shocking statement a young man made, in a Czech film to express his disgust with old people. As I was growing up all I heard was, "Let youth go forward. It is the future of our Socialist Republic!" As far as I remember, I can't recall any instances when I got any real support when I was young. When I was 15, I danced rock and roll in dance halls and the police threw us out because it was a dance from the West. When I was 22 and had two beautiful children I couldn't even buy them an orange because I couldn't afford it. And housing? That was really hopeless. I don't know how much easier today's kids have it, but I plan to find out. In the papers we read about all those young people who are unemployed, but I know of many who have gained skills and have become successful in different fields. They earn good money and some even work as volunteers in our office.
I see that I have strayed, since I rather wanted to talk about the elderly. There is a certain justice in this world which makes all those who are young, eventually grow old unless, of course, they die young.
Of all people in the world I loved my grandmother the best. I was her first grandchild and she did spoil me. She had only basic education, but in spite of that, she was very wise and knowledgeable. She was my best friend even though she was 50 years older. We talked about family problems and sometimes even solved them together. She knew what went on in the world; in our discussions we took trips into space. She was a personality with a capital P. When she was ninety, she got pneumonia and I took her home to stay with us. Those three months were very memorable for my whole family. Grandmother got well mostly on account of our as well as her positive attitude. She was the Gentle General of our family group, spreading humor and good ideas among us while we lovingly took care of her. After she got well, she went back home because she wanted to be indipended. A short time after that, she passed away, at home as was her wish, a happy expression on her face.
However, there are many old people who have nobody to give them that kind of support. Their children or grandchildren may be are too busy, or could they be selfish? Think about it. The results are the same. An old person, physically and mentally weak is not able to fight for his rights, which consist of dignity in old age and getting the kind of care they deserve. This kind of care is being given to the elderly in different parts of Europe such as the Netherlands. Fortunately, even in this country there are organizations that help those who are no longer young. Read more about it on page 30.
Tomorrow is All Souls' Day. Let us fondly remember those who had passed away, as well as those who had not yet crossed that boundary. Let us give the elderly the respect they so well deserve!Eva Střížovská, translated by Paula Schultz
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