When I am Old

In Memory-keeping, Poetry
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For Catalina, my children’s 95 year old great grandmother.


When I am Old

When I am old and not my original self,

Please be understanding and be patient with me.

When I spill the soup on my own clothes,

And forget how to tie my shoelaces,

Please think about how I had taught you, step by step, to tie your shoelaces.

When you are tired of the words, which I am repeating,

Please listen patiently and don’t interrupt me.

When you were young, I had to repeat the same story again and again until you fell asleep.

When I need you to shower me,

Please don’t blame me.

Do you remember how I had to coax you to take your shower?

When I am helpless with new technology and things,

Please don’t make fun of me.

Think about how I patiently answered every ‘Why’ you had.

When both my legs are too tired to walk,

Please stretch out your strong hand to support me.

Just as I stretched out my hand to you, when you were learning to walk.

When the topic of our conversation slip my mind,

Please give me a little time to recall.

Actually, whatever the topic of our conversation is of no importance.

I will be contented, as long as you are listening to me by my side.

When my time has come, please don’t be sad.

Understand me, support me,

Just as how I treated you, when you were starting to learn about living.

I had guided you on your life journey back then,

Now please stays with me until my journey ends.

Shower me with your love and patience, I will smile with gratitude;

The smile of unconditional love for you.

Translated by Bk


We love you.  – Maite



  1. Maite this was so touching. My dad is 90 and although in relatively good health I do have to help him a lot and sometimes get impatient. Now I’ll think of this poem and your lovely photos instead. Thank you.

  2. I say some version of this prayer/poem most every day. Photographs like these help us to re-frame growing old and appreciate this time of life for all its wonder and beauty, whilst still allowing for frustration and impatience. All in all, a truthful view of humanity.

  3. Maite, this poem is so lovely and a beautiful reminder to be patient. You echo what I often say to my children when they grow frustrated with their grandmother. I will have to share it with them.

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