I am terrified, like really, absolutely, mind-bogglingly terrified. If you ask me I’ll say that there’s nothing to be terrified of, except of course something that is terrifying so yeah, I’m terrified and the fear doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, I mean the more I think about it the more terrified I get, and I can’t not think about it so you can forget about forgetting about it, so I’m doing the next best thing, I’m writing about it.So! The question of the hour; What has got me terrified?. Well, let me begin with this; there’s something that everyone is terrified of and by everyone I don’t mean literally everyone but the majority of people so in case you don’t fall into the category (which is unlikely, but just in case) you’re going to have to get over it because I’m not in the mood to say almost everyone. So everyone is terrified of one thing and that thing my friend is death, cliché right? Well like I said everyone is afraid of dying, whether it’s the death itself, or the kind of death, or leaving your loved ones behind or maybe it’s just the thought of being left behind that gets to you. Whatever it is, be it the pain, or the grave, let’s not even dwell into what comes or doesn’t come after death, you have to agree with me that it is indeed terrifying, but my fear is a different kind of terrifying altogether, what scares me isn’t really dying now, I mean we’re all going to, eventually, that’s like the surest thing so it’s best preparing rather than being afraid of it, what scares me is the alternative and that is to grow ‘old’. Yes! Yes! All the drama and everything isn’t because I’m afraid of dying but of ‘old age’ and believe me it is terrifying if you know what it means to be old.
… then we bring you out as infants that you may reach your age of full strength. And among you there is he who dies (young), and among you there is he who is brought back to the miserable old age, so that he knows nothing after having known… (Q22:5)
Being old means that every other thing you did with your body in your youth starts to take its toll on you, you now need eye-glasses to read because your eyesight that earned you the nickname “” isn’t there anymore, like you literally can’t see anything without it (yeah, it’s that bad and you aren’t even blind), you now need your phone-book because well you can’t quite remember what your friend’s number who you really want to talk with, not that it’ll be any fun without your hearing aids but you’ll still rather him than the maid who by the way seems always impatient, not that one could blame her since it now takes spelling out cat for you to understand what it is. you used to be really healthy but now there seems to be a new illness every week so much so that the hospital is sick of seeing you and your only diagnosis is old age which by the way has no cure. But some how you still don’t want to die, because… Well because you still have a lot to live for, like the business you but your entire life into which now runs fine without you, or your kids whom you worked so hard to care for, did I mention that they’re now pretty busy taking care of their own kids who you can’t recognize since you’ve not seen them since they were born.
Okay, let’s say it’s not that bad, let’s say your kids come to visit every other week which is most unlikely but let’s just say, but you still can’t fend for yourself, you can’t cook for yourself, you can’t do your own laundry, you can’t do anything but talk of course, and your kids they have to do everything or pay for everything to get done and it is exhausting because it’s not just you they have to care for, their spouse is there, their kids are there now and you old man can be a real pain in their butts. Never mind that you spent your entire life taking care of them, never mind that they’re the reason that you are the way you are now and of course they could never mind that you’re the reason that they’re what they are now. Old age is when you become weak after you’ve been strong, it is when you become ignorant after being knowledgeable, it is boring, miserable and you can tell yourself whatever but that, that is terrifying. So if you’re lucky, your spouse is there with you through it all, and if you’re lucky your mind is intact through it all, but what if you’re not, what if your spouse dies way before you, what if you start to lose your mind as the day goes by (it comes with the territory, trust me I know). What if your kids were just like you, where would you be right now? In a nursing home just wasting away, or in your home with a maid, or worst still all by yourself waiting and hoping that someday your kids (who aren’t bad by the way, they just think that you’re still just as strong as they used to know) will come visit. If your kids are just like you would you want to grow old? Would you want to be in a place where your kids are all you’ve got? Do you comprehend what I’m asking or shall I spell it out for you? Never mind, I’ll just spell it: What position are your parents in? Are you still neglecting them? Do you let them get on your nerve so much so that you raise your voice at them? How much do you care for them? How often do you visit them? How often do you call them? Do you try to make them happy?. In old age you lose grip on almost everything you used to have, people say you become like a child only this time it’s not your parents but your kids that’ll take care of you, so are you taking care of them or are you just letting them be… terrified!?.
Abu Hurairah (RA) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said; “May he be disgraced! May he be disgraced! May he be disgraced, whose parents, one or both, attain old age during his life time, and he does not enter Jannah (by being dutiful to them)”. [Muslim].