Belonging

For some reason I find myself thinking of mum now we’re in lockdown and of her husband Fred, and the family life we had. We had a happy life. e had fun and good times and much affection. I was a part of something and had it good. I never thought it could change, because you don’t think that way. This is your life, these are the people around you, this is where you belong. But then the people around you go until one day life is very different and you realise you don’t belong anywhere anymore.

The 23rd was the anniversary of her death, but I was so busy on the day that I didn’t really realise until the evening.

I’m isolated from everyone, more or less, and it doesn’t worry me in the usual sense except that it reminds me of the separation that was forced upon me, and for which there’s no comeback. I can still remember mum’s phone number, eight years after, and how every day or so we’d talk on the phone. She was always there when I needed her, though I affected that I never had the need, or any need at all, really.

It would be comforting in this time of lockdown if I could pick up the phone and speak to her again. The nearest person I have to that is Donna, but that’s very different. Mum gave me unconditional love (mostly!). I’m not in need of it, but I miss it.

I think this is one of the things I might find most challenging at this time. Everything has slowed. Some things have stopped like you could never have imagined. Life becomes more basic and simple, and what emerges I expect are the essential needs of life. We remember what is important, and perhaps we learn to cherish it more. That’s a good thing, but in my life there are gaps were some of those things should be.

I was sorting through the stuff in my filing cabinet today. I came across a card in a red envelope. I opened it and took the card out. Across the front of it was the image of some painted flowers, simply done, and the text: Come grow old with me, the best is yet to be…

What is this, I wondered, not remembering it. Then I opened the card, and it all came back to me. It was a card I’d bought to give to another. Inside my words were tightly spaced across both sides of the card. I couldn’t read it. I never gave the card. That woman went away, though not for want of trying. But there was a time I thought I wanted her to grow old with me. Now, in a time of isolation, I grow old alone.

What does it all mean, this stuff, life? What is the point of it? I wondered. Surely one purpose, at least, is to learn by your experiences and to become a better version of yourself – but what then is the point if of achieving that kind of enlightenment if it comes at the end of your life, when it counts for so little?

I’m just thinking aloud. These are the things I need to figure out for myself. Where do I stand?

I must read the card tomorrow. Perhaps I’ll know then.

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