In the past I stuck mainly to journal or diary writing, or I tried to come to grips with some of my childhood memories. Only occasionally did I resort to fiction writing in the form of a short story. As far as my reading tastes are concerned I must say, in my younger days I always preferred reading novels: Only occasionally would I read a short story.
These days the time I spend reading novels seems to be getting less and less, even though I still like novels a lot. Today for instance I spent half an hour reading a short story. It turned out I did very much love this story. It was a story I had been reading many years ago and I could still remember the subject of this story since this is a subject that interests me very much: What happens to a mother when she is suddenly widowed?
Barbara, one of my neighbours, is the author of this story titled “For better or worse”. Many years ago Barbara won a local award for this story. As I said I could still remember having read this story. I asked Barbara the other day, whether she is still writing. I told her how I remembered this story of hers. The mother in the story moves in with the daughter´s family after her husband died. She lives with the daughter, son-in-law and their two children for several months. In the end she decides, it is better to move on. Living together all the time is just not the right thing and brings about serious tensions in the family.
In the story we learn that the daughter is not at all like the mother. The daughter is more easy going whereas the mother as a very tidy person. This reminds me how all my children are very different from me. I am definitely not a very tidy person. None of my daughters nor my son are extraordinarily tidy either, but they are easy going in lots of different ways, not the way I am, not at all. Living with any one of them I can imagine might lead to frustrations all around. I just cannot imagine to live with any of them indefinitely. Maybe if there was a granny flat, it could work out?!
Well, I am fortunate, that my husband is still alive. God willing, we may still have quite a few years together. We live in a three bedroom house, called a villa, for it is in a corporate housing complex. There is a master bedroom, a guest bedroom and the third one is a computer room but can also be made into a bedroom. Our living room has an extension sofa for overnight guests. I always love to have family staying overnight at our place. We call ourselves lucky that we can make room like this for overnight guests.
Several women who used to live in our complex, eventually moved away after their husbands died. They live now in retirement villages. Another neighbour, who was recently widowed, keeps thinking that she might want to move too. She is a very tidy person. She feels, the effort to keep her place and surroundings in the condition that she is used to, might become too much for her with advancing age.
Some years ago I wrote a fictional short story about a hostel for the aged. I used to have a friend in a hostel like this. This hostel was a very beautiful place on top of a hill with terrific views towards the ocean. In the beginning my friend loved her stay there. She was still mobile enough to go on outings with some of the other residents. Over the years she aged a lot and did not feel like going out any more. It turned out the people in that hostel who ended up needing nursing care, could often not be transferred to a nursing home because of bed shortages there. It was sad to see residents, who required constant nursing care, struggle on in the hostel where it became more and more difficult for the staff to look after all these feeble residents. In the hostel was not enough staff for nursing care. A lot of the residents were just sitting around all day, half dazed and not being able to participate in the life that was going on around them!
Originally I thought I would not mind spending my final days in a hostel like this with my own room and private facilities. But a nursing home? Oh, I hope it will not come to this. I hope that I can die before I need a nursing home. On the other hand, a person who is that far gone, maybe does not really mind too much to have to stay in a nursing home.