Reflections on a surprising year!

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Birds of a feather celebrate together!

Happy holidays!

Somehow after my trip overseas I lost the impetus to write the blog and then, as they say, life took over. So now I am trying to reflect on what has happened during the year and continue my musings on aging and so on!

Let’s go back to mid – year!

My brilliant holiday in the UK served to consolidate what I had always known, that friends are the foundation of my life. Yes, I know it’s meant to be family but for myself I understand that it is the continuing circle of friends that has supported, guided and nurtured me

Being able to reconnect and ‘play’ together again was a rare treat and we lived up to our reputation of geriatric hippies! What fun we had visiting places old and new and of course reminiscing. From a wacky trip to the Isle of Wight to the peace of a Dorset village I saw England in a soft rose light, removing some of my greyer memories.

Of course none of us have aged, we baby boomers don’t know how to spell that word let alone how to act grown up and, while most of us are not working anymore, the word retirement does not appear in our lexicon.

Coming back to SA was also a small shock to the system as I, as of end May, had joined the ranks of the ‘at large’ group! What you may well ask is that? New word for semi -retired and one which made me feel at least a bit disciplined, purposeful and retained my identity! A few wobblies later I have in fact adjusted to more free time selecting things I want to do. Saying no has been soooo much easier. And of course the universe was preparing me for a new ‘project’.

With rehearsals for a play as I touched ground I was in for a busy time coaxing my brain to remember lines and moves. That and some radio and NPO work was going to keep me off the streets. Never use the word pensioner in my company!

As usual I threw myself into these activities and then there I was minding my own business when a phone call changed my routine for the next few months!

My ex- husband had been attacked n his garden, found a day later by a friend and taken to hospital. The friend, who naturally did not feel it was his responsibility, then did a search for me and alerted me to the situation. Peter and I parted 11 years ago, divorced for 6 years and no communication. My life has moved on and I am truly happy

However in a situation like this there are no conscious thought processes…. Get up and go and see what you need to do. 27 years spent with him and knowing him for 40+ years does not absolve one of some empathy even though many would disagree. I suppose a subject for discussion and debate.

Some five months later we are seeing the light! His best friend Ernst and myself took on the responsibilty of handling his affairs and ensuring that he is cared for. In a nutshell, the attack led to hospitalisation, recuperation and the understanding that Peter was no longer able to care for himself. We were able to get him into an old age home where many of his contemporaries live and then get his son out from Switzerland to sanction what we were doing…

Simple and practical solutions for the man’ s wellbeing. Or so it seemed…

The day of his son’s arrival Peter developed 2 brain bleeds, back to hospital and 3 operations later and a 6 week stint in hospital and he is finally back in the OAH, a tired and confused man! With the diagnosed beginning of dementia what these brain bleeds have done to exacerbate his condition I don’t know but he is frail and introverted and needs constant care

So it’s been an interesting time of clearing a house of the detritus of 30 years, putting it on the market, hospital visits and generally trying to put oneself into someone else’s frame of reference and remain patient when confusion intrudes and memory fails.

Clearing the house was rather a rollercoaster. Nothing had been moved since I had left and it was this that alerted us to Peter’s real state of mind. The house was a mess, the garden a tip and around the pool – an accident waiting to happen. Sad and scary

Communication is the key. Not isolating yourself and remaining active and putting some systems into place seems to be the answer – leaving keys with friends and so on. We all think it will never happen to us and it just shows that life can change in a moment!

In between all of this I have assisted in stage managing that most wonderfully energetic farce Noise Off. Our local community theatre is very active and has some extraordinary talent and what fun we’ve had. From finding sardines as props to changing sets in front of the audience we have had a huge amount of laughs and made new friends

And now the end of year looms and all the festivities associated with Christmas and the holidays. It is a time of year that can be so lonely for so many so I am really grateful for the friends that I regularly spend the holidays with.

It seems that this has been a year of lessons and never mind easing into retirement – I seem to have lurched into this next chapter which I suppose is an analogy of my life.

And now for the best present that I could ever have – I have had my cataracts removed and permanent lenses put in so that for the first time in my life I do not need glasses or contact lenses…modern technology!!!!

The perfect Christmas/70th birthday gift …I am now able to see clearly in the mirror (a bit of a shock to see the wrinkles!) and everything is so sharp and crystal clear as I gaze around me.

I can now see a world without blurred edges and it has given me a new perspective on my surroundings.

The end of the old and the beginning of the new , and so we prepare for 2016. What this year will bring who knows, hopefully the turbulent economy and politics of this lovely country will settle down, the rand will be less Mickey Mouse and all of my friends and family will prosper and be happy!

Thank you for sharing my space and now I really need to get my writing boots back on for the coming year and be a regular correspondent!



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