A few months ago, when I was in Auburn one weekend, dad and I went to Clare to visit Mrs Noble, an old Auburn resident who has been living in the nursing home there for a few years. She is a couple of years younger than dad, and has had pretty good health till quite recently, when she has been gradually deteriorating. She is a lovely person – straightforward, kind, funny and hard-working. She is also a good cook, in the tradition of not wasting food, and we had a delicious bottle of her apricot sauce a few years ago, when there was a summer glut. She also shares a birthday with one of my sisters, and would send Helen a card each year for their joint special day. Another connection for me was those many times I would walk around Auburn with mum in her wheelchair, calling in on various folk from time to time – including Mrs Noble. It was a treat to see her, and she and dad had a good chat about days gone by, and a laugh together. After all this time, she still calls him Mr Becker, and he uses the same formality with her.
Her grand-daughter Deanne worked at our shop for many years, and before mum died around 10 years ago, when I was going up there regularly, I would see her most weekends at the shop and have a catch up. I spoke with Deanne on the phone earlier in the week about her gran. Deanne and her sister have been really devoted to visiting Jean and spending time with her these past months especially. I can only think what a great gift that is for Jean – how precious to have dear ones close by at the end of life – and how strong those memories of this time will be for them after she is gone. To be able to show our love to those we love, and to live life fully as is sometimes even more possible when death is close by, is something to be wished for, even though the pain of imminent loss is at the same time hard. It is natural to take things and people for granted as we helter skelter through busy lives, but it is also wonderful not to do that, to savour and treasure each moment when we can.
So, here’s to Mrs Noble – Jean – and to Deanne and Catherine her sister, and to the love we have for dear ones, and to the ties that link us in all sorts of ways. May we enjoy – really live – every moment of all our time with each other.