Maltreating the old
Walking idly along a busy sidewalk one afternoon, I happened to encounter a woman, probably in her thirties, who was holding on to the arm of an old woman as they rushed somewhere in the midst of the crowd. No, it was not that they were in a hurry, I could tell. It was just that the younger woman was having her tantrum and the other one, maybe her old mother or grandmother, was the object of her fury.
That the younger woman was ranting was easy to figure out. Her eyebrows were closely knit, her eyes were glowering, and her face was furious. Invisible smoke seemed to be getting out of her ears as she literally dragged the old woman beside her. She was even scolding her as they rushed past the chatting folks at the sides and the lingering passers-by on the
way. They then tended to bump this passer-by and that, especially those who didn’t keep an eye on them.
Looking at the old lady, I really felt sick and sorry. She was actually too old to even walk. Her body was bent forward, her face was wrinkled, and her skin sagged under her arms. Her face, at the moment, was painted with fear, with worry, and with pain. There was no way she could resist the stronger young lady beside her. She had to go with the speed or else she would drop to the ground with a thud and hurt herself.
I wondered how they were related to each other. But one thing was for sure—whoever the old lady was to the younger one, the latter was not doing that which is right. She may have been at the height of her anger that very moment, but no matter how bad her temper was, she was not supposed to treat the old woman that way. She had no reason to do so, more so that she was dealing with a senior citizen that, in our culture, must be respected at all times.
Had the old woman been a biological mother to the younger one, I figure that the latter, in her younger days, may have been equally maltreated, and the way she would treat the mother now is just her way of returning that maltreatment, to get even. I say this from years of observation. Children who were abused by their parents in their childhood years would usually avenge themselves when they grow up. Having lost respect for their parents, they grow up rebelling against these ageing loved ones, or even punishing them.
This, however, is still improper for children to punish their abusive parents in the latter’s old age. Respect must still prevail. No matter what the parents did years ago, grown-up children should treat them well. In the first place, strict parents have valid reasons for treating their children that way, and one of which is to implement discipline meant to straighten their children’s lives.
I can’t help but remember my mother in her old age now. She is turning 90, but I and my siblings never even answered her back harshly in times of her strict disciplinary measures because we knew she only cared enough to make us upright in words and in deeds. When I hold her shaking body now, it seems as if I am holding a breakable object, extra careful never to harm her in any way. I hope no one would maltreat her or one would see a monster in me.
By: Doms Pagliawan
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