The older the fiddle

The sweeter the tune.

In this time where our older people are hidden away, living alone, surviving on ‘window visits’ and masked encounters, I wanted to spend time honouring them.

Rightfully we show our appreciation for our NHS heroes, but what about the many facing the winter of their lives alone? What about the ones who do not understand why they can’t be surrounded by their family? Those who don’t remember from one day to the next why their children don’t come visit any more? The dead who are only mourned publicly by a legally restricted few?

I don’t know why we think that age brings this sudden tolerance of neglect. When does that happen? At 70? 80?

It doesn’t. We just stop looking and listening to the seated members of our community. Maybe we stop because it’s breaking our heart and we have no idea how to help.

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine you’re sitting in a magnolia room, in a chair that was not chosen by you. The air is choking with disinfectant. The windows are shut. You know someone will come in and out but you will never see their smile, just their worn out eyes. You see the sun is shining but you won’t be out to feel it. Once a day, if you’re lucky, someone you love will stand at a distance from you and shout through the open window at you. You won’t see their smile either, just tear-filled eyes. You’ll reach out your hands but they won’t be allowed to hold them.

These people once fought wars, taught, healed, mothered, farmed, campaigned and did so much for us. They are still here. Needing our acknowledgment and care. Never, never shrugged shoulders when they become another number.

Usually I like to end my blog with suggestions about what we can do now. Sadly, I’ve got very little this time. Write down your memories of your old people, if they’re alive and you’re able. Be their window person and crinkle up your eyes so they know you’re smiling. Pray for them always.

And don’t forget they are the sweetest tune you’ll ever hear.

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