Today we attended a very special event for our city, where the local finalist (women living in Guadalajara who are over 60 years of age) competed for the title of the “Reina de la Tercera Edad” (Queen of the Elderly Ladies.) It was wonderful to see the genuine care of not only of the DIF division, who looks after the elderly’s safety and well being, but also of the sponsoring companies. With elegance and excitement, the beautiful grandmothers, talked about their families and life stories. It is thought provoking to hear what truly matters to people as they approach the concluding stage of their lives. It was very fun to stand right beside the many other photographers and videographers from several different media sources, including news papers, television and radio. Whoever marvelous this occasion truly was, there was one very sad aspect about this whole event, and social effort; one that sent chills down my spine as the winner expressed her surprise and gratefulness to the jury and the gathered crowd.
Amidst the cheering and smiles, under the façade of confidence and satisfaction, almost unperceivable, yet unmistakably there, lay cold void.
A muted cry of loneliness.
She encouraged all the elderly to join these social activities, to attend to the DIF meetings for the older folks. The DIF organizes events and varied classes including: crafts, music, and dancing. Her main reason for encouraging them to do so, was to escape loneliness, to feel alive again. Yet in all of this there is a painful lack of purpose. It is almost as if they have found a way to entertain them, to numb them as the time ticks by in dreadful fear of the eminent approaching end. Like my dad’s friend likes to say: “they have created a waiting room for heaven.” There is so much these dear people could be doing as investment to the society. I can’t help but imagine the wealth of hidden wisdom, the untouched joys and satisfaction that come from the impartment of experience and knowledge from generation to generation.
Who is speaking the fundamental truths about how the accumulated knowledge of our grandparents should be revered and inquired after? How is the urgency for heeding and cherishing our old folks’ involvement in our daily lives inculcated to our youth?
Although I am in no position to change Mexico’s view of our elderly, I can change the way I personally interact with them. I have purposed to show honor and deference to this precious people group by asking for their opinion, including them and in conversation and listening to their enriching stories, as well as encouraging other young people to do the same. If each of us decides to treat past generations with respect and reverence, maybe we could change Mexico’s view of our elderly.