It was a lovely party and I saw several old friends whom I hadn’t spoken to for a long time. I sat between Betty, who is 91 and Mary, who’s aged 90. They both looked very well, but I know they’re not. They put a brave face above their painfully ageing bodies. A couple of friends (there were over 50 of us there) had changed and looked very old. I’ve known most of these people for over 20 years, we’ve all got older together, though I’m the youngest of this group of friends, and because we’ve all aged we don’t see it in each other. But…well, Florence, whom I hadn’t seen since her 100th birthday party in August last year, hadn’t changed. A couple of others, who I saw a few months ago, didn’t look the same women. So, whilst it was a delight in so many ways, and it was enormously thoughtful of Marian, whose birthday it will be in 5 weeks, to get us all together, there was a valedictory air (I had an attack of imagination, something I can normally avoid). Some of us will not be alive this time next year, I know it.
Of course, that could be said of any one of us anyway. Ho hum. Ignore me, darlings, I did have a great time this afternoon but it’s left me feeling a little melancholy.
I do rather love old people, though. I feel a great warmth towards them – well, that is, I don’t think that age really matters all that much, old or young, or it shouldn’t. And if you’re with someone who is old, especially who lives alone, do touch them. Nothing inappropriate of course, but so many people miss the warmth of affectionate human contact. There was a lovely old man to whom I used to deliver Meals on Wheels, who always wanted a hug. I remember once, he didn’t want to let me go, and I heard him mutter “this is what I want, this is what I want.” He didn’t do anything to make me feel awkward, he was a kind old man who missed being hugged.
I don’t mind getting old. I do hope that I never become argumentative or feel the need always to be right, or become grouchy. But I might, sometimes you can’t help it.