Saturday, October 22, 2011

When they all the elderly pass away, what will become of the world?

What Inspired me to write this: Today would have been my grandpa's 100th birthday if he was still alive, and it is about three and a half months since my grandma just passed away. We just had a short memorial service at the cemetery where my grandma and grandpa are now buried.

When I speak of the elderly, I am referring to the people such as my grandma, grandpa, mom, dad, uncles, aunts, teachers, and other people that I have some respect for. What is going to become of this world when they all die off?

By the way, some people may be surprised include my dad in this list of people I would look up to, even though he was not a nice person to my mom, brothers, and me when we were younger. It is mainly because I made small steps over the years to reconcile with my him.

Also, even though my dad was wrong more than he wanted to admit at one time, at least he wasn't wrong about everything. He actually did have some good advice at times-mostly not to end up with a guy just like him. However, whatever advice he had (or has) to give still counts.

When I say “elderly” I speak of a era in history that I refer to as the “old school...”

I was a part of the “old school” generation. This is a time in history when the people I looked up to valued love, marriage, and commitment. They took relationships more seriously for the most part-at least in my perception.

For instance, my grandma and grandma were married for well over a half a century before he passed away. I also have aunts and uncles who are still together 30 to 40 years after their wedding date.

Now, I am not exactly a model when it comes to following in the footsteps of some of my family ancestors. However, I at least know what I would want if I were to ever get married. I would want to have the kind of marriage that my grandma and grandpa had.

They loved each other, and my grandma took care of my grandma and stood by her even after her Alzheimer's disease worsened. He took care of her until his own health began to fail and was no longer able too. Even then, he would still spend time with her in the nursing home.

(By the way, I should tell you that my grandparents are now laying side by side each other in body, and together in heaven in spirit. However, the memories of them I will cherish for as long as I live.)

To paint a clearer picture of my grandma and grandpa:

Did you ever see The Notebook? I'm not sure what impact this movie had on other people, but the love that Noah had for Allie (his wife) is the love my grandpa had for my grandma.

Of all the love movies I ever saw (second to A Vow to Cherish) The Notebook depicted very well love that is far from just the usual fleeting romance. That lasting love is what my grandparents had for one another.

Does the fact that my grandparents were together so long mean their relationship was perfect? Not by a long shot! But they loved each other and stuck together...

My grandpa smoked for a long time and worked too much, and apparently my grandma really liked her beer. However, true love is accepting one another in spite of each other's faults. That is the most important thing in a relationship.

Now, when I talk about love, marriage, and commitment and my elders setting an example I should make one more thing clear (that not everyone should stay together)...

Sometimes one spouse may be abusive to the point of being at least a borderline sociopath, extreme psycho, or chronic (or even a one-time) cheater. The people that are married to abusive or cheating people should get out as soon as possible.

However, even halfway normal relationships that suffer the occasional bouts of dysfunction (aside from overt abuse or cheating) usually have a chance. That is what I learned from the couples in my family that I look up to.

One more thing I value about the elders from my generation:

The people that helped raise me in my family were also people who valued hard work and believed that it was the true path to success. It was these relatives, plus my school teachers, who shaped me. They often sent the message that “If you put your mind to it you can do anything!”

Now, is my life right now perfect because of my elders? No, but...

At least when I am down and out I remember the voices of the ones who have encouraged me. I know I can make it because of the people who came before me. Also, whenever I feel like giving up I remember vividly my grandpa's face the time he saw me in my high school cap and gown just three weeks before he left this earth.

It is because of my grandpa's face and how proud he was of me that I never want to give up on life. It also is because of the love of my family that I never could lose the will to live.

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