Years ago I used to walk to work with an old man called Tom Dance. He would always tell me his stories of his service in the Navy in WW2 and of his time in the steelworks in Cardiff.
Remembering all the stories we shared and the laughs we had, I thought I should write something:
When you see an old man, what do you see?
Someone to be robbed of his money? Shame on you mugger or utilities executive!
Someone who gets in the way? Shame on you rushing commuter or NHS manager!
Someone who "goes on" about 'the good old days' and despairs of the modern age? Shame on you disinterested cold caller or politician feining interest!
Someone who's home should be taken from them to pay bills or home others? Shame on you government, local council or healthcare supremo!
Someone who's wrinkles make him unattractive? Shame on you fashion mag editor or botox laden wannabe model!
Someone who doesn't spend enough on useless trinkets and so doesn't exist? Shame on you trendy shop owner or advertising executive!
Someone who is past his best, an inconvenience who should be 'allowed' to choose death? Shame on you money-grubbing relative or euthanasia-rights activist!
Or do you see a man who has worked, paid his dues, deserves the best, has cherished memories in his home and should be entitled to have enough to heat and eat, to potter as he sees fit and get the very best in public services?
How we treat the elderly says much about us as a society.
If we mistreat the aged, we shouldn't be surprised when others get mistreated.
We should cherish life, from conception to natural death. No money, fashion, profits, taxes, lifestyles or politics is worth the suffering, poverty, pain or lonliness of the elderly.
It's time we, as a society, really decided what is important.
Most if us will be old one day. It is short-sighted and foolish (not to mention morally wrong) to treat the aged with disdain.
In memory of all the wonderful elderly men and women, relatives and friends, I have loved over the years, especially my grandparents. RIP.