January 10, 2010
Taken Care Of

Saoirse Maxwell

I'm well taken care of you say, to the Elder Abuse Caseworker. I'm happy. I wish I could believe those words. Instead, I watch the look in your eyes as Ethan arrives to your front door. He whacks the door open, and the bitter winter air separates the warm memories and connection we've just made.

I've missed you mom. Our chats. Your childhood recollections. I've come to depend on them to remind me of my family history. The geneology that connects your mother's generation with you and now with my wee one. The years of being gone have created a chasm that visits home could seldom cross. There just wasn't enough time to recollect the past when we were making current memories. Now, the time is passing. He is preventing these visits, these moments between children and adult.

I love to hear your stories of old. The special dresses my sisters and I wore, the driving trips to Wexford and Carrickmacross to visit relations. The stories of aunts and uncles, and their families. Most of it has gone and is going once you go. Those times occurred briefly when we were children, when you would share those memories of your own childhood. There wasn't the time then because meals had to be cooked, nappies changed, the weekly baking done. And now there isn't time because your youngest son wants you all to himself. Mostly though he wants your money.

Dolores in Rosslare 2007. From a private collection, used by permission. I want your stories. I want to watch that smile across your lips of times past when the horrors didn't invade your life. When your childhood was filled with silly things like eating rotten eggs on visits with your mother the midwife, to neighbours when you were both too cultured to let on the eggs had gone bad. He doesn't care. But I am enjoying the divilment in your voice, the joy in your laugh, the uncreasing of frown to wide smiles. I saw it so seldom as a child but it was there. Now I'd rather see it more frequently because of what you've endured over the years. I'd love to see these last few years, last memories full of funny, childlike, innocent and free things. Where you no longer have to worry. You no longer have to be doing. That we – your children – can do the doing for you. That you don't have to endure the angst of a disturbed adult, once child, intrude upon your peace of mind. That you can go walk if you want to, run, or go wild on a trip or two. That those very things you dreamed of, that helped you escape those moments of terror, can come true and whisk you away.

You deserve this time. This alone time. This you time. You've done well mother. You've helped raise 10 of us. You've given and done all you can.

Now, take the time for you.

You've earned it.


World Elder Abuse Awareness Day UN Declaration of Human Rights European Year for Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity Towards a Society for All Ages