I had every intention of blogging something cheerful about springtime this week, but when I sat down in my usual cafe to write the week’s blog, I was confronted with my future … still hopefully many years away, but it reminded me to appreciate today and make the most of every day.
I ordered my coffee and tucked myself into a seat, determined to get some writing done.
Seconds later, she sat down at the table next to me, appropriating my attention before I’d even pulled out my pen.
How her hip hurt her! Up at three AM with the pain. Cup of tea to help her get back to sleep. Lemon in her tea, not milk—she wouldn’t drink something that looked like dirty dishwater. But, then, you know what happens after a cuppa. Up an hour later to pee, and then, well, you may as well get up.
She rattled on for twenty minutes—a live blog post of the worst kind—rambling, comprehensive and incomprehensible, exposing her loneliness, her sense of purpose lost in deteriorating hips and retired life.
She grasped at relationships—her neighbours who looked after one another, as all neighbours need to do.The old woman at the grocery store who needed help with her bags. But she needed no help, not yet, while she watched her friends fail.
Her friend in a nursing home who had a wee flat, complete with bathroom and kitchen. Had I seen those before? She had no idea homes had flats. She had only ever seen single rooms.
She visited her friend in a nursing home. Younger than her but needing help. She had a wee flat, complete with bathroom and kitchen. Had I seen those before? She had no idea homes had flats. She had only ever seen single rooms.
But when she’d visited her friend in a nursing home, she’d had a kitchen. It was like a wee flat. Had I seen those before?
A scratch in the vinyl record of her memory—she skipped like an old 45. By the third repeat, I saw the despair deep in her eyes. How much longer could she fool herself, her children? How much longer could she cling to autonomy, freedom, purpose? How long before she joined her friends in the incarceration of age?