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It’s not me ageing, it’s the delays


AL Gilkes

It’s not me ageing, it’s the delays

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When we reach or start approaching a certain age, it becomes nature’s duty to prepare us for the journey to the other side.
This stage in a long life sees us being gradually stripped of all the abilities that previously made our existence a pleasurable thing as we are reduced to a condition of extreme frailty.
As a result, the older we become, the weaker we become until we can no longer even manoeuvre a walker. Younger, stronger people have to lift us from bed to wheelchair and then from wheelchair to patio chair to allow what remains of our once robust bodies to absorb some Vitamin D from the rays of the sun.
The older we become, the less able we also become in respect of controlling certain bodily functions, with the result that we truly represent the saying “once a man, twice a child”, as we are fitted with adult pampers after the morning bath and before being put to bed at nightfall.
Worst of all is the fact that the older we become, the more our memory becomes a faculty that serves little or no purpose, and we can’t even recognize our own children as we drift in the haze between night and day.
Then one day, I assume, we find ourselves no longer attached to our useless, earthly bodies and thereupon begin our journey to the pearly gates of Heaven or the fiery gates of hell, where we will never grow old enjoying milk and honey up there or forever being consumed down there.
I am still very able-bodied and I am still totally in control of my bodily functions, but at one point it seemed that I was totally losing my memory despite having no signs that would indicate the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. The strange thing about my condition was that it only manifested itself when I was reading or listening to the daily reports from the courts in the newspaper or on the radio and television.
For some unknown reason, especially with matters being dealt with in the High Courts, and including murder and manslaughter cases, I found myself seriously at a loss remembering when they happened and what the circumstances were.
You would assume that as a trial moved from one day to another, and the testimony of one witness after another was presented for the prosecution and for the defence, that something stated or described would trigger my memory to recall, even if faintly, what the case was all about. But I enjoyed no such luck.
Then one day, as I feared that I was tottering on the brink of serious memory loss, I realized it was not my fault that I couldn’t remember when the acts were committed, but the fault of those responsible for bringing the matters to trial.
How do you expect me to remember when accused persons brought to trial for committing serious crimes have to be set free, after being found guilty, because they have languished so long in jail that the years spent on remand are equivalent or more than the number being imposed?
And why are murderers still being sentenced to be hanged by the neck until they are dead, when none of us can remember the last time such a thing was done in Barbados?
• Al Gilkes is head of a public relations firm. Email [email protected]

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