Sorry to Say: “Good Bye Selina.”

It was a Sunday morning when a doorbell rang to Marcel’s home and it was Marcel’s wife who opened the door. At the door, it was Lisa and Robert. They never visited Marcels before at their place. So, Marcels were surprised. They invited Lisa and Robert in and had them sit comfortably in the living room. Lisa and Robert realized that Marcels were surprised.

Lisa is the one who said in a low voice: “We are going to see Sofia, would you two like to come along with us?”

Marcel said, looking towards his wife for instant approval: “Sure, what’s wrong?”

Robert answered, without looking towards his wife (Lisa started crying): “Just heard from David that Selina passed away. Selina’s sudden death was due to falling downhill while walking in a village. It was an instant death. Bobby was with her.” They did not know anything more.

“We have to tell that to Sofia. Find out the details later,” said Marcel’s wife.

“Do not know how to tell her,” said Lisa.

“Yes, it is a big issue.” Marcel sat down in a chair and said we need to figure this out. Sofia won’t be able to take it. It’s hard for Marcel’s too.

While all four were thinking and their brains were going numb, Marcel’s wife volunteered to tell Sofia. All were a bit relieved. Marcel’s wife suggested that one of them call Sofia and meet them at a nearby children’s park and give a reason, like, Marcel wants to talk to Sofia—nothing more. She suggested that Robert should make the call just in case Lisa started crying over the phone. Robert agreed. The plan worked, and Sofia did show up.

All of them met at a children’s park that same afternoon. Sofia was surprised to see all of them there and noticed their mood from their faces.

Before any conversion started, Marcel’s wife said, just like a command: “Sofia, sit down beside me.” And then, she held her hand and delivered these words: “Sofia your mama’s soul is in heaven. May God be with her.”

Sofia was as calm as a stone. Her tear drops were slowly sliding down the chin like little water fountains on a mountain, sliding down slowly. Marcel knew Sofia is a strong woman. So is Marcel’s wife. They hugged, and all of us just stood there watching.

Later that day, Marcel learned from Robert that Amina, David, Nadia, and Reza already took a flight to Morocco on Sunday early in the morning. Sofia, Lisa, and Robert will fly tomorrow morning. Marcel’s wife and Marcel do not travel at all. Marcel, he was sad.

It was Selina’s wish that she should lay to rest near a Saffron field. So, the family made the arrangements accordingly.

In a week, Marcel met Sofia, Lisa, and Robert. They were back from Morocco. Everything went well as planned. The last word that Selina spoke was “Sofi,”

A month later, Marcel heard that Sofia made a new commitment to spend the rest of her life as a caregiver. She decided to work in Williamsburg, Virginia.

What Old Age is Really Like?

I am Ravi S. Kahn, Ph.D. In December 2016, I will be 82. As I move on with my life, I am writing about the experiences of my octogenarian life. I am going to tell my story loud and clear.

As of today, I feel that nobody cares—especially modern doctors and very busy family members. They put up a show with their very smiley faces, though. I am also telling you that they may be doing their best. It is also possible that doing their best for the elderly may not be good enough since they define it in consideration of their own purposes and terms. It is no longer like the old days; nor is it like some parts of the world, where the elderly are very well taken care off. It is only in America—rich and strong America—where the elderly are neglected. They aren’t worth attending to.

My time passed long ago. But I have stories to tell of new times, in case you haven’t figured that out yet. You will read my stories. To some of you, they will appear to be made-up stories. But, to me, they are real stories. That’s all that matters.

We all have to pass through “toll booths” on our life journeys. Then, when we become old, some of us feel like we are one of those toll booths—like an old man sitting in a toll booth. Then, when our journeys are about to end, we patiently wait for our next assignments. Doctors just service the toll booths to keep them functioning, and family and friends visit the toll booth to pay their tolls whenever it suits them, for whatever reason. Paying the toll makes them happy. To them, that’s all that matters, and then they have to move on.

To me, in old age, our dignity and respect matter.