updated 10/24/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 10/24/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT
My heart really went out to Bob and Marsha Goldie because I know they agonized over their decision to send his mother, Celia, to a nursing home (PEOPLE, Oct. 3). No one knows what it's like to place an elderly parent in a home unless they have done so. My parents are deceased, but I have an older sister who is handicapped, and I shudder to think what people will say about me 30 years from now if I am forced to make the same decision. I applaud Bob and Marsha for making the best decision for all concerned.
Since when is it our "only alternative" to send our aging parents to a nursing home? How would we have felt if, when we were children, we had become "too much trouble" or too demanding or too rambunctious, and our parents had said they would send us to a home? Parents spend their lives loving and caring for their children. We laugh and revel in their accomplishments, cry with them through their disappointments. Then, when we get old, they can't be "bothered" with us. We are not useful to them anymore except, of course, when they need money. We are always useful for that. Bob, you will be old one day, and I can't wait to see what your children have in store for you.
Camp Hill, Pa.
This article, along with many painful stories I hear and see as I reach old age, affirms my growing conviction that I will put myself to sleep when I see nothing but pain, agony and insurmountable problems for myself and family and when there are no longer any silver linings to dark clouds. I will have prepared my family, letting them know this is what I want. Then I will make sure I have a tankful of gas in my car, take my four animals into the car with me, put on a Mozart tape, turn on the ignition and peacefully drift off.
Who was it who said, "A mother can care for 12 children, but 12 children can't take care of one mother?"
I rarely write letters to the editor, but Civia Tamarkin's excellent story deserves recognition as probably the finest documented human-interest piece I have ever read. It came at a particularly appropriate time, for my wife and I are giving serious consideration to placing my 85-year-old mother in a nursing home. Although our situation is not identical to that of Bob and Marsha Goldie, it is comforting to know how other couples have dealt with what Tamarkin calls "one of life's most wrenching emotional experiences."
It is a sad, sad world when a 90-year-old mother will spend her last years alone in a place she cannot call home. Is it such a sacrifice to let her live with the people she loves or let her be a part of the lives she started? Shame on you, Bob Goldie.
Huntington Beach, Calif.
I work with seniors on a day-to-day basis. I firmly believe that there comes a time when one must make a decision like the one Bob Goldie had to make. It is sometimes a heartbreaking decision, but I think he made the right one for everyone concerned. It seems that Mrs. Goldie has accepted the decision and is coping very well.
Thank you for your coverage of my illness and road to recovery. A number of people have contacted my office sharing how the article helped them gain perspective on their own personal experiences. To clarify one detail, I plan to run for reelection to the Senate in 1990 and look forward to serving the people of Delaware for a fourth term. Through this whole ordeal my commitment to public service has been reinforced and revitalized.
Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Frederick & Kimberly Hone
I just finished reading the story on the 47-year-old Rhode Island schoolteacher and the 17-year-old student he married. I think it is a disgrace that he would marry this girl and also have so little respect for her that he would tell millions of readers how she is in bed. What will happen when this man gets older than old and this young girl really grows up? I think he's in for a rude awakening, and justifiably so.
My congratulations to newlyweds Kimberly and Frederick Hone for having the courage to do what they felt was right for them.
In my state, it's called child abuse. Best of luck to them both.
Deborah L. Mazone
Frazier Park, Calif.
Patti Alexander's claim that dog groomers are "just as qualified to clean teeth as vets are" makes as much sense as claiming barbers are as qualified to clean human teeth as are dentists. To allow dog groomers to do dental work would be taking a giant step backward in a field that is rapidly reaching a proficiency comparable to that of human medicine and dentistry.
K. Patrick Rains, D.V.M.
Lake Arrowhead, Calif.