The 93 yr old lady who lives next door to my parents, who are both in their early/mid 80's, has recently been unwell and then most recently in hospital. Now she is in a nursing home and to quote Pa 'she won't be back..'.
My parents have lived in this house for nearly 50 years. The fact that 'next door' is now empty is causing ripples of concern with Ma and Pa. Relatives are slowly taking things out of the house next door and it is expected that it will go on the market soon. The houses are not grand, just 3 bed semis in a quiet cul-de-sac, but they have a school at the end of the road and very very big gardens. Perfect family homes. Our family home. Their neighbour has been their neighbour (attended my wedding, attended family parties etc.,) for such a long time and both sides of the fence have been comfortable with each other. Although never in and out of each others houses, they looked out for each other and shared newspapers and tales of family. As much as we could all see this day coming it is hard to pin down what the anxiety they feel is......they are a little quieter in manner....and I suspect it is fear of change at such a stage in their life. If a lively family move in, it could make Ma and Pa feel renewed and energised and give them a distraction from the everyday ordinariness of old age living.....or......seeing little ones and young families around could make them sad and wistful as they come to terms with their own age and destiny. Today as we sat having a cup of tea in the garden, Ma began telling me which plants I should take out of her garden 'when we go'.........I asked her where her and Pa were off to...were they planning to move? 'Don't be silly..' she said......'but we have to think about things'..........and then she pointed out the various plants, and the reasons for her wanting them to be transplanted to my garden or my sisters garden....'when the time comes'....
Have to say it wasn't the most cheerful cuppa I've ever had, and yet I was aware that they obviously had a need to start thinking about/talking about that scary beast 'the future'.
As a lifelong pessimist, I am not convinced that I will outlive them.....who knows the future for any of us....but I have promised to remove/transplant the various flowers and bushes, according to her wishes.
Hopefully not for a very long time yet.