Tuesday, January 10, 2012

10th January

Jane's mum (in purple) from here
I felt really sorry for Jane’s mum this morning. She’s 97 and struggling with losing Jane. The plan is for me to transport her, once a week, to a nearby old folks group that she’s been attending for many years. So at 9.45 I called at her flat and she was no-way ready, having not tuned in to me calling at all. She’d had no breakfast, her hair was untidy and her rooms were ready for a good sort out, though she’s easily able to push a vacuum around I know. Yes, despite her age that is just not like her. When living with us you could use her as a 7am alarm she was so regular at getting started with the day, and at least with the parts you could see, and she could reach, her room was always tidy. Today she’d just given up completely and really didn’t want to live anymore. I sympathise, as for brief moments of morbidity I’ve felt exactly the same. Not so bad maybe today, but at other times yes, I’ve felt very low. It’s not really the lack of care that’s pulled Jane’s mum down as she’s visited regularly and gets out almost every afternoon. But though she’s beginning to build a whole raft of new relationships that are all very friendly, she’s always been very dependent upon Jane for emotional support. And that’s all gone now. She’s lost. And I know exactly how she feels. Sometimes I just need a shoulder to cry on and I have no one. It doesn’t really work the same way with your kids, sensitive and caring as they are. Really what’s missing is the person who can gently tell you to pull your socks up and show you how to get on with living again… it may be the end of Jane’s world but it needn’t be the end of yours.

Building a new life, in a new home, with new people, at age 97 has to be seriously tough. But I’m not 97 and won’t be for decades yet. Yes, I really might expect as long a life ahead of me as the life I lived with Jane, and that’s time aplenty to start again. I’d love to recover health sufficient to restart work; that’d be good. Even voluntary would do as I have no particular need for an increased income at the moment. At the right time, with a stabilised improvement to Chronic Fatigue I can easily imagine doing that. Maybe drive a community bus or help out at a National Trust site; whatever is available. And there are always opportunities to serve church as well. But I’m really thinking of something more life changing and not just occupying myself usefully. Practically speaking I still have quite a few years before my official retirement age. Yuck! Who wants to grow old? Not me, I can’t stop the years ‘on the outside’ but the inner me is determined to remain in my forties. That’s a good age to live I reckon. I played a little squash and lots of badminton at that age so there’s an interesting challenge waiting ahead.

I do dream. Daydreams I mean. So what about that unfilled ambition to get a degree? I’m a grammar school lad and really should have done all that years ago, but my youth was all messed up and I dropped out of education prematurely. That was a big mistake as my ‘career’ was always dysfunctional. And I can’t forget that Jane and I began to consider relocating to the south coast. There’s little to stop me working on that one somewhere down the line, but at the moment I’m hesitant, even ignoring family ties. I’m not sure why and perhaps if I just threw myself into a new environment it would be really good for me. But the absolute biggest change has to do with my being widowed. Do I embrace remaining alone? No choice in the short term of course, but that doesn’t deal with the conflict in my heart. Nobody can replace Jane. We’re all different and if I met someone who reminded me of her I guess I ought to run a mile, as that would not work at all. At the moment the conflict fluctuates between the need for relational intimacy and the almost unwelcome attraction of total independence. Doing my own thing without accommodating anyone else. That still feels really weird and I’m not sure how much I like it. I’m learning just to please myself but I’m much better at sharing...

Proverbs 13:19 ‘It is pleasant to see dreams come true’ (NLT)

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