Posts Tagged ‘old age’

Winter Chill

January 24, 2013

Winter Chill

Many years ago I used to visit a lovely gentle lady. She had been blind for a few years and then a stroke made it difficult for her to talk. But somehow we managed to communicate. I visited her twice a week on my way home from work. I would sit next to her and read from books that took her out of her darkness into a world of light, of action, conversation, memory and imagination. She loved these times together, and so did I.

This dear lady did not live alone, her elderly husband cared for her with the help of relatives and others. From our talks I discovered that in their ‘late in life’ courting days they would walk the local lanes. On the mantelpiece there was a figurine of a couple under an umbrella. I was told laughingly that people in the village saw it as being them. This dear lady had been a member of the choir until old age and blindness made things difficult. But my strongest memory of her when she became blind, but before she was housebound, was of her husband leading her up the aisle to receive communion. I think everyone in the small church was struck by their mutual devotion.

As I said, when she became housebound, I visited her twice a week. The visits were on regular days. But one week I called on an extra day. I gave no thought to what her husband would think of it. After all, maybe he wanted to watch television instead of having to switch it off. It was a thoughtless action of mine and one which I lived to regret. I saw another side to the relationship that I had never suspected — one I kept to myself.

I wrote this poem a long time after the event, in fact many years after they had both died.

Winter Chill

She sits there…

June in the December of her life:

withered skin,

eyes unseeing

speech mangled,

a stroke deadening half her brain

leaving her part vegetable,

part human,

the human crying out to walk and talk again.

….

Not yet rotting in dark grave

but compelled

to dwell in darkness

inside a swift decaying shell.

‘Bell. Someone’s at the door,’

June tries to say

in garbled words

desperate to be heard.

….

‘No one’s at the door,’

her husband bellows above the din of

shouting crowds

and thundering hooves

of horses at a racetrack many miles away,

brought into their room

courtesy of BBC

on a TV screen

that June will never see.

….

‘Bell… door… bell,’ June insists,

frantic to let her caller in —

a hand to hold?

a voice to cheer?

a friend to read?

Awkwardly she struggles

to loudly speak the words —

‘Bell… open…the… door.’

….

No one’s at the bloody door,’

her husband, minus hearing aid,

yells in rage.

‘You’re always hearing doorbells ring

when no one’s bloody there.

For god’s sake, woman —

Shut up!….

I’m trying to watch the race.’

….

I do not ring the bell again,

I walk on home,

James Herriot book in bag…

sad for June, for whom I read

and for a gentle man

that once I knew

but would never be the same again.

Yes, weeping for the suffering endured

when life with meaning is no more.

Gladys Hobson….

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Poem — December Chill

January 23, 2010

December Chill

She sits there…
June in the December of her life:
withered skin,
eyes unseeing
speech mangled,
a stroke deadening half her brain
leaving her part vegetable,
part human,
the human crying out to walk and talk again.

Not yet rotting in dark grave
but compelled
to dwell in darkness
inside a swift decaying shell.
‘Bell. Someone’s at the door,’
June tries to say
in garbled words
desperate to be heard.

‘No one’s at the door,’
her husband bellows above the din of
shouting crowds
and thundering hooves
of horses at a racetrack many miles away,
brought into their room
courtesy of BBC
on a TV screen
that June will never see.

‘Bell… door… bell,’ June insists,
frantic to let her caller in —
a hand to hold?
a voice to cheer?
a friend to read?
Awkwardly she struggles
to loudly speak the words —
‘Bell… open…the… door.’

‘No one’s at the bloody door,’
her husband, minus hearing aid,
yells in rage.
‘You’re always hearing doorbells ring
when no one’s bloody there.
For god’s sake, woman —
Shut up!
I’m trying to watch the race.’

I do not ring the bell again,
I walk on home,
James Herriot book in bag…
sad for June, for whom I read
and for a gentle man
that once I knew
but would never be the same again.
Yes, weeping for the suffering endured
when life with meaning is no more.

By Gladys Hobson 2009
Based on a true incident.

The joy of love’s reward

September 19, 2007

I am in tears. Stupid really. But when others say something nice about my comments (on a blog), they are commenting on me – in particular, my written thoughts. I speak from the heart. Okay, there are some things that maybe should be left unsaid — they could embarrass others. But that is the beauty of a blog — no one has to read it!
I guess it is all about acceptance and self-esteem. Many rejections can lead us to think we are useless. Rejections of our writing — something we have put our heart and soul into — become rejections of ‘me’.
How wonderful then, when our thoughts are accepted, and especially the inspirations with which we weave our stories. The characters I have created and which have become part of ‘me’ — personas that live within my mind — become alive and live on in the minds of my readers. There is nothing that can give a writer greater joy. It is a gift beyond price.

It has been a very tiring week. Family I have not seen for many years coming from abroad. Family arriving from over 200 miles away and family from close by calling for a special event. I am busy planning a party for Saturday too.
My new book has been ordered and that is going through the system — will the cover be as good as I hope after so many efforts to get it right? And the reorder for Northern Lights has been delivered and needed sorting ready for its destinations. Domestic chores to do to.
But the important thing is my husband’s 80th birthday. Hard to believe but true. The young man I live with is 80 years old!

WRITTEN FIVE YEARS AGO!