Friday, 13 June 2014
The Greater Spotted Ladybird appears in the garden. Summer has come and I'm here to appreciate it all.
But I'm also thinking of having Please Turn Over tattooed on my back, and Do Not Resuscitate on the front because I've been given the realisation that I am no longer invincible, and that when you get to three score years and fourteen things can go wrong and can't always be put right. Ageing is not something that you recover from, but something that you must acknowledge and accept with a strong dose of realism.
Nine weeks after surgery and I have learned a lot. I begin to emerge, battered, scarred and humbled from a series of unexpected events.
Life will not be the same, for a variety of complex reasons, but as my recent weeks have been so full of waiting rooms and appointments relating to health matters I don't want to write about that.
What I want to write about is the overwhelming kindness and support from so many people.
I am not good at asking for help, and I haven't had to ask.
In hospital I was touched by the kindness of people who knew the exact angle to bend a drinking straw, and who made time, one long and painful weekend, to come and sit with me and tell me their stories. I was touched by the thoughtfulness of a lady in the kitchen who made tiny pots of jelly in the hope that I might be allowed to eat them, and the nurse who was determined to find some pain control that worked.
I was made to feel a great success for being able to sit up, stand up and walk. I was assured that I was doing so well, so much better than most people, being brave and determined. Brilliant in fact. (Also rubbish - I was a mess, but it's still very powerful to be made to feel good, especially in one's most fragile moments.)
Then I came home, and people appeared and told me what they were going to do - make me a drink, change my compression socks, weed the garden, put me in the car and take me up the hills (and bring me back again!), do some shopping, escort me to my many appointments, bring a meal and share it with me.
Sons and wife and partner have travelled considerable distances and cut lawns and vines and hedges, moved heavy things, made me smile and reinforced the message that life goes on.
Grand-daughter has come and sat on my lap, reading books very carefully and then danced and pranced and run around and made me laugh.
Fellow bloggers have expressed concerns and sent kind thoughts, and one has the specialised ability to be very, very supportive (you know who you are, especially Zhoen). And I have not been able to respond, but still the kindness and thoughtfulness has poured in. I am very grateful.
I begin to emerge, accepting that life has changed and I must change with it, acknowledging the things I can no longer do, and getting on with what I can and must do. The tattoo, or at least the clear recording of my wishes is important. But even more important has been the realisation and acceptance of the kindness and thoughtfulness that surrounds me.
I am a lucky old person.