Wednesday, 13 January 2016

They're Ready, But I'm Not

Very frequently, when I sit a lovely old lady or gent down with the purpose of breaking some bad news, it culminates in them letting me know, calmly and reassuringly, that they've been ready for this for a while.

And not resigned to it, no bravado or over-exuberance, no shadow of a doubt.  Genuinely ready for it.

There's the brevity of 'well I've had a good run!' - to the genuine, breathtaking calm of a very old man who tells me that:

'life is good and bad, feels short then long, you forget more people than you remember, and if all I have left at the end is my marbles and my family then I'll thank my good luck.  You young folk can't understand yet, but one day you will.  My wife has her marbles, and we have each other, but we are both quite tired now'

He jokes to his wife ("of 69 years and 8 months, since you ask, young one") that 'at least you're leaving before you get fed up with me!'. 

His eyes are welling up, and hers are too.  She calls her family in to say goodbye through her oxygen mask before I've even reached a similar final conclusion, nevermind decided to talk about it with the lady or her family.  

And it's sadder than the saddest song, and sweeter than the sweetest of chick flicks, and more heartwarming than a million fireplaces, knitted stockings, kittens, hot chocolates, children playing and all the 'hygge' in the world combined. 

I hope he doesn't mind me remembering his wife, or that I'm passing on his marble filled brand of wisdom about life and death and love.  I was a bystander in a very private moment, and I am privilaged. 

I'm often scorned by friends because I refuse to watch a sad film, read a book about tribulation and death, engage in deep discussion about troubles around the world.  There is enough sadness, enough death and enough trouble from those I have personally met to keep me occupied for quite some time.  And with this, with the sad parts come the most beautiful insights, rays of incredible joy and kindness, wisdom, bald truth, bright young eyes in old faces.  Incredibly personal insights into how amazing people can be, how deeply we can love and hurt and live and need. 

And I'm not as ready for it as my old gent is.

Occasionally my blog posts take a little slide, and I'm not posting quite as often as I do at other times.  Usually, it's because there's this. 


  1. Amanda that was beautiful. You will never know how quietly thankful the UK public are for our doctors and nurses and kindness in our time of need. But thank you from one of them.

  2. This is a lovely post. I lost a good friend last week, and throughout her illness she was so grateful for the compassionate care she received. I'm so glad that you and others are doing what you do.

  3. A quiet and beautiful post. Sometimes this is all that is needed.

  4. Wow. Beautiful lines with so much of meaning and sadness and realities of life. I too avoid sad talks, sad movies. I feel that when there is so much despair we are already dealing with, why discuss it again and again, why not we concentrate on good things.


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