Monday, October 1, 2012

Everyone will get old

When I was invited to watch the Phantom of the Opera at the CCP, I decided that I'll get two tickets. One for me and the other for my mom. She's at her 70s and with an arthritic knee, she carries her big body a little slowly now. I will have to wring my arms over hers for support if we walk together. I will have to walk at her pace and always be at her side when we go out.

I am nearly half her age. If she would have been a little younger, like twenty years younger, I could have taken her with me in the places I've traveled. Oh yeah, I did take her recently, when I toured her to Bohol and Cebu. As I know that she might need some company, I took my sister to assist her. That time, she has knee pain, and even so I insisted that she take some walks.

She wanted to, but she just couldn't. When we were in Bohol, she tried to climb up a reserved area where they keep the Tarsiers. She was able to get maybe 10-15 meters climbing slabs of stones. Then, she decided to stay up there and let me and my sister continue with the trail. I had to pick her up when we're done site seeing. Because she was with me then, I could not just be the adventurer. I hired a car to tour us for a day. When we were in Cebu, we had to take the cab and limit our travel to that with less walking.

Recently, when I took her to CCP, I had no idea where we would be seated. We were at the balcony, and getting up there was not easy for my mom. She managed though, but I sure could see how age is trying to beat her enthusiasm. She enjoyed the show, really, and that fills my heart to know. But when we stepped out of the theater I felt so bad that access for the elderly was not available in the building.

Everyone was going out, and that left the escalators and elevator jam-packed with people. Politely, my mom just stood there behind the long queue. No other staff assisted the people to make sure that they get to leave the theater smoothly and safely. The elevators were not adjusted to service only going down at that time the show was over. One side kept scrolling up when no one is going up.

Thankfully there are people who would give way to an elderly, but many are just not that mindful of them. When we we were going down the stairs, my mom would stop. She told me to "let others pass first". True, there are many people behind us, and my mom's slow movement seemed to her as blocking others' passage. I told her not to mind them, encouraged her to just keep on walking at her pace. I thought "they should know that my mom is an elderly and everyone will get old". At the escalators, two young ladies allowed my mom to go down first. I had to quickly be at her back, and return that kind gesture with heart felt thanks.

With the hurrying crowd, I could sense how she would try to rush, like trying to tell her legs and knees to move a little faster. When we got out to cross the street so we can dine by the bay, there were just so many people outside. One man was blocking the pedestrian crossing by the gutter. My mom would say "makikiraan po" (excuse me). That guy should have sensed that he was blocking the way.

While crossing, my mom was trying to hurry. We were left behind a few meters from the crowd that had just crossed. I told her to relax, and just walk at her leisure,  for those drivers should know that an elderly is crossing. Then, memories flashed in my head, when my mom would help me crossed the busy street as going and coming from my first grade school. Then, my pacing could not beat hers, and my hand reaches hers because I was still small then.

Now my mom's height has shrunk, and I am taller than her. Her body has gained weight, and her slenderness is gone. Her back has curved.  Her hair has greyed. Her agility has weakened. She doesn't walk that fast anymore. My mom is old now, and I am aging too. We all are.

Everyone will get old, but while we are still young, while we hold the time and energy and while we have the resources, we ought to give the best things for our elderly love ones. For when they are no longer with us, those are the memories that we will keep dearly in our hearts until our own breath is taken by our limited time in this world.