The Sage is out, viewing an auction. The phone has been ringing all morning with people desperate to speak to him. No one wanted to speak to me.
“Is it too late to put a few pieces in the next sale?” enquired one caller. I said I wasn’t sure and, indeed, it will depend on what they are – the Sage accepted a piece last night, but that one is a bit special and worth moving things around for.
I’ve just delivered Meals on Wheels. One old lady, well in her nineties, is losing her memory. She looked anxious when I went in and, as I always do, I cheerfully said I was from Meals on Wheels and had brought her lunch, before she had to ask me. “I get confused” she said sadly. I said, sympathetically, that when she doesn’t go out, it’s hard to remember what day it is and who is going to call. She was grateful that I took it seriously, maybe she’s had people trying to jolly her along.
It’s a sad stage to go through, that she knows there is something wrong but can’t do anything about it. A year or two back, she showed me her diary. Her daughter, who visits daily, had written who would call, what should happen that day, the night she played whist, the day she had lunch at the pub, the evening she went to Bingo. Other evenings, she had written “You do not go out tonight.” A few weeks ago, she showed me the diary again. “You do not go out in the evenings” was written. But she still has callers, the home help, the hairdresser and the chiropodist, and she still has her Thursday fish and chips at the pub. She is clean and tranquil and loved. But her mind is going and her body isn’t. She has a lovely face and looks far younger than her age.
She put her hand on my arm gratefully, and asked if she should put the food on a plate. Then she hesitated. I dished up the food – a beef pie with cabbage, carrots, peas, mashed potato and gravy, followed by apple crumble and custard. The cafe does lovely food – the veg were not overcooked and I, who am fussy about quality, would have enjoyed eating it. There was a jug of orange squash ready on the table, covered by a plate and labelled, so I poured some in a glass, took the trayful to the living room and gave it to her. Before I went, I put my arms round her, hugged and kissed her, and she was happy and thanked me for my kindness.
But she is a sweet old lady and invites kindness. I hope, as her mind drifts away, she doesn’t become more agitated. Her daughter loves her very much and looks after her well, but it must be a constant anxiety to her. But I’m sure she is glad to have her mother still.