Monday, September 18, 2017

Some time ago a friend of asked me to join her on a charity visit to an old folks nursing home. She was bit bemused when I declined because she had this impression that I am actively involved in such ‘reach out’ activities. I don’t know where she got that kind of perception, but this event triggered my self-reflection on why do I choose not to join her.

I support the cause. Indeed I had my share of past experiences as organizer & participants in charity programs to old folks home, orphanage, and correctional institutions. I like the sense of communal responsibility helping groups that are less fortunate in our society. I loved it when I get to draw out deep stories of the various people I speak to: wisdom thoughts, secrets, happy recollections, and sometimes dark traumatic experiences. Such intimate moments between people who barely know each other. 

I try to make my presence there; helping & listening, therapeutic for them but there’s a side in that experience that really challenges my balance. Because I feel strongly to every stories they shared, I tend to absorb them and I come to realize that I am not so strong to handle their impact to my mood. If sadness gets its way to me, they fucking stay. At times, after listening to how the old folks ended up in that elderly nursing home, I got depressed and stressed out for days, even weeks.

Knowing I can get emotionally spooked by visits to elderly nursing homes, I visit them with caution. Most time I avoid them in exchange I send monetary contributions instead. I decided to be selfish, taking care of myself first.
It messes up my brain to see sad elderlies being left at these homes. One-off visits and goodies splurge can’t mend their empty stares at the end of the day when everyone left. And it destroys me knowing that they’re in their final stage of life, not much of a permanent good turn can take place anymore, they’re at the mercy of time. The lack of hope left kills me.
That’s why I prefer going to orphanages or shelter homes or correctional institutions for youths instead. Although sad things happened to them (eg: losing parents, traumatized, doing unlawful things) they are still young. There’s still a lot ahead of them in life. Anything is achievable, think about the possibility and opportunity, that really excites me. There are many hopes, I root for them to get happiness and wellness.

So when the news break that 21 tahfiz students, all of them are young children and teens, died in an arson fire attack at their school, I am shattered to pieces. So many potential & hopes in what they could’ve achieve in life, all lost in vain. I am broken. Alfatihah..

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