"From this heartless hospital bed, I write you": a grandfather's final letter to his family before falling victim to Covid - WTVideo.com
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"From this heartless hospital bed, I…
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"From this heartless hospital bed, I write you": a grandfather's final letter to his family before falling victim to Covid

By Cylia Queen

In a period where many countries are still experiencing a large number of new Coronavirus cases, more than two hundred thousand people have lost their lives. For those who live in retirement homes, most have been forced to die in solitude, given their families are not allowed to visit them for fear of spreading the virus to even more people. Without the possibility of closure, most families are left with whatever memory they had last with their deceased loved one. 

One father and grandfather, however, decided he was not going to let his retirement home's restrictions from keep him from sharing some final words with his family members.  

via: Interris
image: Pixnio

Although this Italian grandfather, who has remained anonymous, wasn't able to share his final words with his family members in person, he was able to write everything down in a letter before he died. He writes, 

"From this heartless hospital bed I have chosen to write you, my sweet children and grandchildren (I gave the letter to Sister Chiara in secret, in the hopes that, after my death, you'll be able to read it). Realizing I don't have many more days left, I decided to use all the strength and energy I could muster in order to make this pen write down what I want to say to all of you before I pass on. I received the pen as a gift from a young woman about your age, my dear Elisa. She's been the only person who has given me any kind of solace in this place. Her smiles no longer can give me comfort because now she has to wear a mask. I still see a glimmer of light in her eyes, though. She has an expression on her face different from the other workers, who won't even look you in the eye or say hello. I didn't tell you how the situation actually is here because I didn't want any of you to worry. I knew it would have killed you all to know you left me in such a beautiful "prison". 

Yes, I've been thinking about this place a lot like that lately. Especially after one of don Oreste Benziche's written texts popped into my mind the other day, where he talks about retirement homes and similar places as "gold-plated prisons". When I first read it, I thought that he was exagerating. Now, I believe him wholeheartedly. At first, it seems like you're not missing anything; you have everything you need in one place... but then you realize that the most important thing of all is missing from your life. All of you. I miss your embrace, I miss hearing you all asking me "How are you papaw?", I miss your hugs and kisses, the way your mother screams at you when you do something you're not supposed to. I even miss pretending to be in pain, to get a little extra attention from you all and forget about my troubles. In these last few months, I've also missed the sweet smell of home and of all of you; I've missed your smiles and the stories you'd tell me and the many discussions we'd have. This is what living is meant to be like: being with friends and family, people who love each other so much that they'll do anything to make the other feel appreciated and never alone. This is the way you all made me feel when I lost your mother, the woman I loved for 60 years and the one I've never stopped loving.     

image: Pexels

In 85 years, I have experienced many things. The hardships of my childhood (which have mostly been forgotten), my father's attempts and struggles to make something of himself in this world, my mother's attentative love and care for me, the joy and honor of being able to attend school, which wasn't an easy thing to do back then. My teacher was like a second mother to me and, at home, we always celebrated when I received good grades. Then, how could I forget the day of my college graduation and my closing remarks in my very first court case. I have so many things to be be greatful for. I am infinitely grateful to my wife, who supported me through thick and thin, to you kids, who have always forgiven me when I did something wrong, and to my grandchildren, who have done nothing but love me unconditionally. I am also gratefuly for the few friends that I have. As the Bible says, if you can count the number of true friends that you have with one hand, you're doing something right. And finally, I'm also grateful to my priest, who taught me about salvation and gave a beautiful eulogy at my wife's funeral. 

Now that I am running out of strength, I need to at least say one thing to my grandchildren... and perhaps to the rest of the world, too. It wasn't your mother who sent me here. I convinced my children, your parents, to send me here because I didn't want them to have to take care of me. I've never liked the idea of being a burden and have spent my entire life trying not to be one. Perhaps due to my pride or perhaps it's even a combination of things. When I saw that I could no longer live on my own, I knew I couldn't ask your parents to take care of me. I didn't want to leave you all with a terrible memory of me, wasting away and incapable of performing any kind of task on my own. 

Of course, I didn't think I'd end up in a place like this one. Everything appears to be neat and orderly, but it couldn't be further from the truth. A part from a few polite people, we're just a number to most of them. Most days, I feel like I'm stuck in a refridgerated prison cell. I've asked myself so may times, "Why on earth are did these people choose to work here if they do nothing but complain and treat us badly?". One time, the the janitor whispered in my ear, "You know why that woman always yells at you? It's because her father abused her as a child and now she can't look at a man without yelling at him." May God have pity on her soul. So why did she choose this profession in the first place? We've put so much emphasis on psychology in the last decade, yet who is it really helping? Seems like to me, it's just giving people more ways to treat others badly by manipulating them. I won't add anything else because I'm not seeking vengeance on anyone. What I'd like for you - and everyone else - to know is that these "gold-plated prisons" or so-called nursing/retirement homes shouldn't be allowed to exist. Now that I'm dying, I can say that I regret making the decision to stay in one. If I could turn back time, I would've listened to your mother and stayed with all of you until I uttered my last breath. Your tears and closeness would have made much more sense than those of an old man who has to die alone and in a place where no one loves or wants him. 

This Coronavirus is going to take us all to the gallows. I've heard so many workers screaming and insulting us, but I don't have to tollerate it for much longer. The other day one of the nurses told me that if I got worse they might install a tube in me or maybe not. None of that matters anymore, though... my dignity as a man and as a human being has already been taken from me. You know what, Michelina, they only cut my beard when they knew you all were coming to see me. They did the same with my bedsheets and so many other things. But, please, don't do anything about it. I'm not looking for earthly justice, because most of the time it did nothing to improve my happiness. Please let my grandchildren know, however, that an evil greater than the Coronavirus exists. It's called ignorance; it's called not having the minimum respect for others. And when we, the elderly, won't be here anymore, we'll be looking down from above and knocking on the doors of those who treated us badly. We'll keep knocking until they finally wake up and change their ways. Otherwise, they will eventually be treated in the same way they treated us. 

Your grandfather"

The grandfather's letter is truly an eye opener and a lesson to us all that we need to love and appreciate the elderly more than what we do. We need to treat them with the honor and respect they deserve, so that when they leave this world, they leave with dignity.  

Tags: SeniorsStoriesNews

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