Look intently

I’ve been thinking about lost or disappearing people recently. Lost because illness or age are swallowing up who they once were, disappearing because few are noticing what is happening to them.

I remember one of the first blogs I ever wrote I continually asserted ‘I am Ruth‘, as I battled to come to terms with being ‘the person with MS’ and nothing more. I still struggle with that. I’ve noticed that getting my walking stick out is the equivalent of Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak. People often look away, and I have to paste an overly bright smile on my face to win them back. I don’t blame them – they’re just trying to keep me from embarrassment or shame.

Last week, a number of people came into my awareness who are not what they once were – heroic, vibrant, attractive souls who are a shadow of the person they used to be. As I thought about them, I felt so much sadness. But then I realised what I had to do: I had to assert their identity the way I did in that blog. Whatever has happened to people close to us, we’ve got to fight to keep the things that make them them. We’ve got to look intently, search hopefully and take hold of the precious parts of them, never giving up or letting them go.

I gave pink flowers to one of those people last week because they reminded me of her. When she saw them she turned and said to the person beside her,

“They know me.”

If you think hard enough, you’ll maybe remember someone in the edges of your world who needs to be seen and known again.

I hope you have the courage to find them.

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