Sunday, January 11, 2009
Last Sunday I took some flowers from our church to an 87-year-old lady in a hospital ward for women with dementia. She wept. “I don’t know why I’m here,” she said. “I’m fed up. I want to go home. I’ve got my own house. I don’t know why I can’t go home.”
Yesterday I visited a 92-year-old lady in a care home. She’s in full possession of her mind, but has various physical ailments which make it impossible for her live any longer on her own. “I’m bored,” she said. “I can’t play the piano any more, my eyesight’s going so that I can’t really read and I don’t want to spend all day watching television.”
I could quite understand their point of view. I wouldn’t like my life to be like theirs.
When I got home, Mr Life was transferring some family videos on to DVD. We watched one for a bit. There was 5-year-old Daughter 1, the future archivist, deep in a book; and 3-year-old Daughter 2, the future architect, drawing – both of them frequently talking non-stop in that way children do. (“This is my seal. I call him Flipper. Do you like him? He likes to swim in the sea. Now I’m going to take him downstairs and….”.) There was their little brother, the future doctor, a wobbly-headed baby giving that sudden, huge beaming smile that all babies produce with the thrilled gasping “Aahh!” laugh. And look: Mr Life, young and raven haired. And me, at 34, slim with glossy dark hair, my every waking moment consumed by these lovely, never-stopping children.
Yesterday evening we went to see Scottish Ballet performing “Sleeping Beauty” – lots of impossibly lithe young people leaping around in the prime of their strength, raising legs effortlessly skywards and bending in unlikely directions. Surely they’ll never get old and creaky?
It’s all made me a bit thoughtful. My thoughts are totally unoriginal. Time flies. Where does it go? Life is short. What’s the meaning of it all?