Loneliness Across the Ages

October 5, 2012
By , Bowie, MD
Loneliness Across the Ages
It is a nice, sunny, and warm day and I would much rather be playing ball with my friends but my mother, a middle aged self-proclaimed caregiver for the less fortunate elderly, had instructed me to stay with three elderly men she adopted to live with us. The gentlemen sat side by side, and were for the most part quietly starring at the television, and periodically talking back to the television, except for Mr. Goodall. Mr. Goodall was a gentleman of 88 years, who came to us after he was referred by the social services people. He had no family, no wife, children, brothers, or sisters. He would sometimes tell me he doesn’t know why he is still hanging around, which also leads me to think, “Why am I living with these old people?” I am not very happy. I decide to call some friends to come over and soon, two neighborhood kids, Jamal and Coby were in the house.
“I have Madden” stated Jamal. “Hook up my PS3,” said Coby. “Let’s go to my room” I said, as we ran to my room ignoring three old gentlemen seated in the front room, watching a Tyler Perry episode I really did not care about. “Why does your mom keep these old people?” asked Jamal. “Let’s just play” I stated, trying to ignore the fact that no one in my neighborhood have old people in their homes. We played, hollered, and hit each other until Coby fell to the floor, hitting his head. We laughed at him as he tried to get up, touching his now bruised forehead.
“I am going home” said Coby, sounding irritated while still nursing his forehead. I thought I may have even seen a small amount of blood on his hand as he reached out and unplugged his PS3 to take with him. Not much later, Jamal’s phone rung, it was his father calling him to go home. It is 7 pm, the sun is setting and I am alone in the house with three old men. This is not what normal sixteen year olds do. They don’t take care of old people, especially old people who are not even your relative. I really had nothing to do and was slowly feeling sorry for myself and my predicament - that I have no friends around me, but hanging around old people. I thought if I only had a computer I could be on Facebook. If I only had a cellphone, I could be texting. The fact is, I have asked my mom to get me a cell phone but we just could not afford it. Instead, I am here with old people.
My mind started to wonder what it would be like to always be connected like any normal kid in my class and in the neighborhood. I have often told my mom I just want to be like normal kids. I was deep in this thought when a loud bang came from the front room. One of the old men started to shake and soon I saw a man on the floor seizing. I called 9-11 and prayed to God Mr. Goodall would be alright. As I was watching the shaking Mr. Goodall, it felt like hours had passed before I heard the loud familiar sounds of sirens of a fire truck and ambulance. I felt a feeling of relief as I ran to the door to allow the rescue crew to come in. In the corner of my eye I saw the neighbors ogling. I saw Coby and Jamal whispering. I thought they must be feeling sorry for me. I wished my mom was here. The ambulance left hauling Mr. Goodall.
I sat with the other two men, still looking at Tyler Perry’s Madea. Neither man was interested in the movie. In fact, I didn’t think neither man really cared about what was on TV or that they even knew their “buddy” Mr. Goodall just had a seizure. Just then, the phone rang. It was the hospital. They have admitted Mr. Goodall, but his condition was not good. They wanted to know who his next of kin was. I called my mom and told her about Mr. Goodall. “He has no one. He has no family.” My mom’s words felt like a cold bucket of ice poured over me. How could anyone have nobody?
I needed my friends. I called Coby and Jamal. Neither one could come. I have nobody.

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