In Australia a lot of service type people call older ladies "Darls" short for darling, an inoffensive term of endearment and often a substitute for other words such as "sweetie" (sweetheart) or "pet" which were often used a couple of decades ago. This morning a trolley boy took my trolley back to the trolley bay after asking if he could "take it Darls" and last week another young man offered to help unload my groceries. All this shows I am an older woman now, a fact given away by the grey hair and the way I walk when I am tired. The left leg where I had the melanoma removed from behind the knee because of its weight gain due to Lymphoedema makes me look when I am tired as if I have had a stroke now.
All in all people are kinder since the pandemic, maybe because they are more locally concerned, more aware of their neighbourhood or of their surroundings. I like it when there is that fellow feeling is expressed in acts of kindness like the young man this morning. It makes life feel more worthwhile. I am tired because my son Trevor and Alice left to go home at 3am and I didn't get back to sleep after that. I always feel uneasy until Trev rings to say they are home safely again. A mother never stops worrying about her kids, however old they are. And those back roads he travels can have many unexpected hazards like bounding wildlife, wet patches and pot holes so deep you can get lost in them.
I enjoyed our time together. Alice is growing easier to live with now. At eight she is obviously intelligent and easier to talk to. We have various things to do and she enjoys coastal life. Easter was a complicated time because holidaymakers came in droves to our lovely part of the coast and parking close to the beach, the shops or any of the beauty spots was impossible but they did go swimming, did visit friends and we as a family ate out a few times. At home we played her computer games and she and I made bracelets. Trev brought boxes of books down from the cabin which I will use as my winter reading. He also fixed a few problems for me.
Tomorrow I have my first vaccination, on Monday I see my doctor to discuss my general health as a few things showed up again in the PET scan. I think I can get through life fairly well for a few years yet but you can never tell. Today I got news of four different people from Ray's old Stroke Recovery group who have deteriorated during Covid. Age is a factor of course but in several cases it is additional stroke damage or maybe just a deterioration due to inactivity. A couple of them are younger than me. We have also lost a few members in the last twelve months. You have to be under retirement age to join the group but some of them joined the club going on for twenty years ago so were no longer young.
I try to keep busy as you know but certainly can also see changes in myself. After the inactivity of the past year I am less likely to be physically active for a big percentage of the day now. I have to get out more in places where I can get fresh air and a good walk. Without company there is less incentive to do that. I also still am not allowed to do the visiting to nursing homes and congregational members in hospital as I used to as there is some uncertainty about my auto immune system. I tell you life gets more complicated as you age. But I feel fine, get up of a morning and go through the day without too much bother. But I look at women ten years my junior and realise I ain't the gal I used to be.
Daylight saving ended last Sunday and afternoons are shorter now. That pile of books looks more tempting now and I am glad I have a few things set aside to do when the days are colder. This is the season I miss Ray the most. This is the time when a chat in the late afternoon was a pleasure, when a soup and toastie meal was good at the end of the day. I guess I will never get over missing him. Our children and their families are out there living a life of their own and sometimes briefly come back home for a few days, which is lovely. But mostly my happiness is down to me. And that is the way it is for us older widows.