Growing old is a delicate and difficult journey. I use to find myself feeling uncomfortable and uneasy whenever I was in the presence of someone in old age. Their fragility made me anxious and I always struggled with finding similarities and bonding with aging people. Looking back, I realized this was a very ignorant and self-centered way to think and behave. Malcolm Cowley's essay, “The View from 80” gave me a new perspective on aging individuals. His essay made me realize I identify with the internal struggle the elderly experience. “That View From 80” allowed me relate on a deep level to the aging individual's fight to keep their dignity, the struggle to maintain their identity, and the process of accepting life's changes.
I believe that it is every human’s right and desire to leave this life with dignity. At the beginning of Cowley's essay, he is at his 80th birthday party. While blowing out his candles, he recalls the Northern Ojibwas customs of their aging people. He remembers the traditional ceremony that takes place where the older gentleman is put to his rest by taking a quick blow to the back of the head by a tomahawk. Though a ceremony like the one of the Northern Ojibwas may seem extreme, I understand Cowley's position. It is a way to go out with honor and pride with respect from his people. Nobody wants to leave this life needing someone to take care of them, such as changing their diapers, feeding them, or bathing them. There is a level of pride is justifiable with old age. I believe there is dignity in knowing how to accept the help from others when it is needed. A few years ago, I was present when my grandfather, Blaire, passed away. He lived a full life and was an honest man. He was happily married for 65 years and raised four intelligent, loving children. The day he past the whole family was at the hospital. Even though the emotions were high, my grandfather’s calming aura settled in the room. I believe my grandfather...
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