Threatened Independence – Conversation with an Elderly Veteran

Right now, I’m here.  I don’t want to go down.  Like down, a hole in the ground, in a grave.  I’m almost 90. Most people my age are vegetables.  But I do alright by myself.  I do what I want, go where I want, take care of myself and I have my own finances, no romance, I’m too old for that.  But I don’t want to be a burden.  I got a good family. I live with my son, but we don’t hardly see each other.  My youngest son comes sometimes, and he cooks for me, when I don’t feel like doing it myself.  I’m independent, I’m satisfied.  But now, I’ve fainted and they’re trying to figure out what’s wrong and I want to stay where I am, avoid the decline.

 

Maybe you’ll find it hard to understand, you’re a young lady.  You’ve got a good education, good job and your whole life to live.  Me, I worked the same job for more than 30 years after the navy.  They respected me.  I didn’t complain, knew my job, they called me ‘Old man H’.  There hasn’t been anything I haven’t been able to provide for my family, anything they wanted.  I’ve been halfway around the world, now I just want to do what I want.  My son sometimes acts like he’s the boss, but he ain’t.  I’m the kingpin.

 

If you done been through what I’ve been through, seen what I’ve seen and know what I knew…  I do what I want now.  They’re talking about sending me to a rehab, but I got things to do, I got to the to the bank, I got places I need to be.  I take care of myself.

 

I’ve had hemorrhoids; I got them cut out.  I have a hernia.  I’ve had diphtheria.  People would die from that; put a big black cross on the front door and say, don’t go in there, ‘so and so’ died.  There wasn’t one on my door then; there ain’t one on my door now.  I don’t need that. At my age, I’m satisfied.  I do what I want, I take care of myself.  I’m satisfied.  You probably think I’m nuts (sidenote: I didn’t and I told him so).
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