It is amazing ,how some people pass through your life ,and leave a permanent impression, something which makes you pause for a while and take stock of everything, including your own thoughts.
It is never easy to look at oneself critically.
I started a Scrabble group in my town’s library last year. It was at the time when libraries were asked to justify their existence, as the short sighted powers that be, were of the opinion that now that every one was glued to one electronic gadget or other, no one would want to borrow or read actual books.
I also joined up to teach older people the use to electronic gadgets, such as the tablet and iPads.
Apart from anything else it brought me in contact with some wonderful people, much older and wiser than me. Their memories , and their attitude to life, fascinated and educated me.
One such lady is Helen. She is 93 years old, an ex-nurse and a dab hand at Scrabble. She doesn’t watch television, but reads ferociously. Getting through three to four huge tomes a week. She lives independently, drives herself and totally self caring, even tending to her large garden herself, apart from having the grass cut.
I love listening to her, she has lived through wars, seen a massive change in the health service, brought up three children, while her husband , who was a Naval officer ,only came home once a year, or sometimes once in two years. There was no leave then ,she tells me.
She rang me the other day to tell me that she was un well and was not going to come to the Scrabble the next day.
Oh,I said. What is the matter Helen.
My dear, she replied. ” I have heart failure, kidney failure and skin cancer ; and now I have had Shingles for six months”.
Have you ring the doctor? was my query.
Well, she said. They don’t have a slot free until the 11th of the next month, so there you are.
I was obviously angry and offered to ring the doctor myself and complain on her behalf.
She was very philosophical about the whole thing. Telling me that there was not a lot the doctor can do , she was on a maximum dose of diuretics, and one has to realise, she said ; that am reaching the end of my life and these things have to be expected. No pint being angry with the doctor or the receptionist, they are just busy”.
Her attitude struck me as stoic and sensible and very moving. How many of can look in the face of ones impending death with such serenity? I know I cant.
In today’s world when we all are so aware of our rights, it gave me a pause for thought, that this lady is willing to look at reality in the eye and accept it. I feel often it is the fear what makes angry. Her attitude I thought is so wonderful and reminded me of
“God grant me the courage to change the things I can, and accept the things I cant,
And the wisdom to know the difference”.
Amen to that.