Too Soon Old

May 21, 2009
Too Soon Old

In This Issue:

1. Too Soon Old 

2. About The Firm 

Too Soon Old


A very touching poem has been winging its way across the Internet for a couple of years now, but I just recently read it for the first time. Often entitled "Crabby Old Man," you may have already seen it, but it's worth another read.


As the story goes . . . when an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home, it was believed that he had left nothing of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff, that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital. And this crabby old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this "anonymous" poem that has touched hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people across the country and the world.

It is good to remember this poem whenever you meet an older person who you might otherwise brush aside. Remember that they have a young soul within.


Crabby Old Man

What do you see nurses? . . . What do you see?

What are you thinking . . . when you're looking at me?

A crabby old man, . . . not very wise,

Uncertain of habit . . . with faraway eyes?


Who dribbles his food . . . and makes no reply

When you say in a loud voice . . . 'I do wish you'd try!'

Who seems not to notice . . . the things that you do.

And forever is losing . . . A sock or shoe?


Who, resisting or not . . . lets you do as you will,

With bathing and feeding . . . The long day to fill?

Is that what you're thinking? . . . Is that what you see?

Then open your eyes, nurse . . . you're not looking at me.


I'll tell you who I am, . . . as I sit here so still,

As I do at your bidding, . . . as I eat at your will

I'm a small child of Ten . . . with a father and mother,

Brothers and sisters . . . who love one another


A young boy of Sixteen . . . with wings on his feet

Dreaming that soon now . . . a lover he'll meet.

A groom soon at Twenty . . . My heart gives a leap.

Remembering the vows . . . that I promised to keep.


At Twenty-Five, now . . . I have young of my own.

Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.

A man of Thirty . . . My young now grown fast,

Bound to each other . . . With ties that should last.


At Forty, my young sons . . . have grown and are gone,

But my woman's beside me . . . to see I don't mourn.

At Fifty, once more, . . . Babies play 'round my knee,

Again, we know children . . . My loved one and me.


Dark days are upon me . . . My wife is now dead.

I look at the future . . . I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing . . . young of their own.

And I think of the years . . . And the love that I've known.


I'm now an old man . . . and nature is cruel.

Tis jest to make old age . . . look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles . . . grace and vigor depart.

There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.


But inside this old carcass . . . A young guy still dwells,

And now and again . . . my battered heart swells

I remember the joys . . . I remember the pain.

And I'm loving and living . . . life over again.


I think of the years. all too few . . . gone too fast.

And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people . . . open and see..

Not a crabby old man, look closer . . . see . . . ME!!


In actuality, according to the Website, this poem is entitled Too Soon Old and was written over 20 years ago by a gentleman named Dave Griffith of Fort Worth, Texas. Regardless of the source, this poem is a touching reminder of why I and my fellow Elder Law attorneys, and all senior-serving professionals, work hard every day to help our clients -- our country's elders – maintain their dignity and quality of life at a time when much of the world dismisses them.


The Farr Law Firm specializes in helping elders maintain their dignity and quality of life. If you have a loved one in a nursing home or nearing the need for such care, please let us help.


For more great articles, visit Evan's Blog at

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About the Firm


Evan H. Farr, CELA, CEA, author of The Virginia Nursing Home Survival Guide (available at, has been in private practice in Fairfax since 1987, and is the only attorney in Virginia who is both a Certified Elder Law Attorney and a Certified Estate Advisor.* Since 2007, Evan has been named by Virginia Super Lawyers Magazine as one of the top attorneys in Virginia, and in 2008 Evan was named by Washington, DC Super Lawyers Magazine as one of the top attorneys in DC. The Super Lawyers designation is bestowed upon the top 5% of lawyers in each state as chosen by their peers and through the independent research of Law & Politics.

The Farr Law Firm is an Elder Law and Estate Planning firm dedicated to helping protect seniors and their families. In addition to traditional estate planning (Wills, Living Trusts, Financial and Medical Powers of Attorney, etc.) for clients of all ages and administration of trusts and estates, we help our elderly clients with issues involving long-term care. We help clients find, get, and pay for the best possible long-term care; if a nursing home is the only option, we help clients find and get the best possible care while preserving and protecting their assets, including their homes, from the forced liquidation that is typically required in connection with entry into a nursing home. When needed, we complete the complex documents required for entry into a nursing home and for Medicaid.


*Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation and Certified as an Estate Advisor by the National Association of Financial & Estate Planning. Virginia has no procedure for approving certifying organizations.

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