A Forgotten Story – 2AM

“It is 2AM and i am sitting on my bedside thinking of the good old days, Enid has come to this hospital. I think Stan perhaps no longer with us.

Albert and Stan used to love to have a drink together. They were boys again. Kathleen (Albert’s wife) did not approve. Beer was common, but it was good to see them enjoy themselves. Oh those were the days. Albert loved his little sister and was very kind to her and his mother. I must see if Enid is well enough for me to visit when i have a good day.

This home is deathly quiet, everyone is able to sleep but me but i love to think of the happy times. Albert would give my mother a G&T and she would laugh. Laugh. It makes me realise how we should recall and love those good days. Albert was very kind to me and my mother – he had a very good job and was able to do so. He enjoyed the good things in life – was able to do so.

How i would love to have those days back. To be young again and feel good. I would go to cinema twice a week and when i got my first car i was in heaven. Of course it was a second hand one but we were able to get to the coast in it. Mum would make sandwiches on a Sunday morning and off we would go. I think there was never a time as happy as that for mum. She had been brought up by her mother. Her father who she loved and her younger brother had both died of cancer and life had been very hard and sad for her and her mother. Work and not much fun!

I was happy i was able to give her an easier happy life for a few years”

Doris, 89.

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A Forgotten Story – Birthdays & Purpose

Wednesday 25/10/2017

” I am sitting on a seat in the garden, the sun is shining and it is really warm. It is Pauline’s birthday today and they are having a bit of a tea party. Pauline is a nice lady. I get on well with her, at lunch i had the company of Jill and Nina. It is not what i have been used to – miserable people – but there are cheerful ones here, all i can say is not on the day when i shall be high above the clouds.

If only i was back at 59. I worked until i was 56 years old, looked after my mother and we had many years of happiness together. My enjoyment was making her happy and she loved me dearly! She worried as to what would happen to me when i am on my own. I miss her so much. One day who knows perhaps i will be with her again.

When i was able to get my first car i was able to take her to the coast. It was a happy time for us both. Perhaps collect fish and chips on the way back. We have enjoyed the simple things in life. I thank God i did something worthwhile in life – making someone happy.

We have just had a quiz this afternoon. Pauline’s daughter’s partner was there – a lovely cheerful man (he is always kind to me!). It is Pauline’s birthday today (she is 81), a nice lady who i can get on with.”

Doris, 89.

Lost notes

When you find notes in your bag that you’ve been carrying around for months and forgot all about.

When they bring back all the emotions you felt while writing them. Anger. Sadness. Loss. Fear.

When a new emotion turns up when you reread them. Pity. How strange that we can feel pity for our past selves. We know the outcome of what happens from that conversation. We know the outcome that comes from those questions. We know that pain and we know the relief as well, and yet we pity the poor us who didn’t know back then.

“What do you want?

What went wrong?

How long have you been feeling like this?

Why can’t I come with you?

Will this happen again?

What does this mean”

The hope and trust and love in those words, reflected by the worry, fear and pain. And yet the overwhelming emotion is pity.

A Forgotten Story – Washing

” I am a resident in Cuffley Care Home at the near age of 90 years old, but I would like to write about my early life.

I was born at 46 Russel Road, South Tottenham which was the home of my Grandma – Emily Maria Long. Grandma’s husband (his name was Albert) died at a very young age of cancer of the throat. As a widow Grandma had two young children to feed and take care of. One being my mother Laura Long and a son Albert Long. They were both young children. In those days there was no social security and Grandma had to take in washing in order to feed herself and her children. Albert suffered from fits and one morning, he had left the house to go to school and had a fit that made him fall and hit his head on the pavement and he died immediately. This just left my mother (Laura Long) and her mother. Because my Grandma had to work hard, so did my mother. Grandma had to take in washing to survive.

My mother had cousins who lived close by and she loved her uncle but unfortunately he died very young and his wife was left with a number of children, Agnes, Lucy, Stan and Dennis.

Life was very tough for her. Her mother had to take in washing in order to get money to feed her children. There was no widows allowance in those days, there was something called ‘The Poor’ but to get money for food you had to sell your furniture to survive.

My mother said her mother had to take in washing from near her and she would be up until midnight and past washing and ironing.

It makes me ashamed about things I grumble over now. How tough lives were for so many in those days.

My mother met my father – I believe they were distant relatives and he was conscripted for the army medical corp 1914/1918 war.

I believe when they first married they lived in grandma’s house, 44 Russel road, south Tottenham and we children were born there. After a while we all moved to another relatives house at Elthorne Road, Holloway, needless to say it didn’t work out and my father rented a house at 92 Middle Lane Hornsey (in those days it was called Hope Terrace). The house faces Priory Park which was lovely for me as a child to have a park and swings to play on. ”

Doris, 89. In her own words.

Because misery loves company

In attempt to stop myself from sending this letter. In an attempt to stop myself from hurting someone else so I don’t have to hurt alone. Here are the malicious, self deprecating words of a girl on the eve of a potential breakup:

Hello,

I know this is out of the blue, and inappropriate and probably of no help to either of us but hey ho, here I am in crisis and nobody was quite right to talk to about it, so it had to be you.

It’s happening again, another man is looking me in the face and loving me with resentment. I have gone full circle and ended up back here. A heart that never really got mended about to be broken again. What do I keep doing wrong? What is it about me that doesn’t work?

I know you won’t know the answer to those questions because the two in turmoil now aren’t us. They are me and him.

I don’t even know if I am about to be dumped but it feels awfully familiar. Only this time, I don’t know what I want. Last time I knew, I knew it was going to happen and I was praying with every fibre of my being that it wouldn’t and that I would never have to close that chapter of my life. And I guess I never did, even if the story ended. But this time, this time has been a cruel trick where I think I have grown and matured and been better and I haven’t. I still have venom in my blood, I still have a temper and rage and I am still a nightmare dressed like a daydream.

This time I don’t know if I want to fight for it, or whether I should let it run its course. I don’t know whether to manipulate it so I prolong the inevitable. Am I jumping the gun? And I being crazy? Have I blown the whole thing out of proportion?

Can I make it work? Yes. Do I want to make it work? I have literally no idea. Do I know what I want? For the first time in forever, I don’t. Do I hate him for making me relive this nightmare? Yes. Can I forgive it? I don’t know. Is there a path back? I don’t know. How much water is under the bridge, can I see the bridge anymore? Would I be able to touch the bridge now?

Surely my heart can’t possibly break, because it wasn’t really whole to start with? Is that why I feel like I can’t fight, is that why I am going to let this happen, is that why I am already crying myself to sleep, is that why I can’t bare to look at my bedroom because he is everywhere, because everything is stained by him, because I can’t imagine it without him.

I let it happen again. I let my life balance on the back of another man, and now he is tumbling and so my life crumbles. I thought I didn’t rely on it so much, I thought I had learned my lesson. But I can’t. It’s my safety net, it’s what let’s me do all my things, yeah this time I got to be a person not just somebodies girlfriend, but my person doesn’t have value unless she has support and love guaranteed by yet another dark haired, blue eyed, July born man.

Good job Jess. You really know how to pick them.

So I think this is rhetorical and thus completely pointless but there we go, sometimes you need to vent and who else could I possibly vent this to?

Lots of love,

Your nightmare ex.

Care Home Hooligan – Part 6

So what did I learn at work today. Several things.

Firstly, that you lose people in this profession more frequently than we’d care to admit or like to think about, but it never gets easier. If you have a connection with that resident, losing them will always sting, just like the first one.

Secondly, that losing someone doesn’t have to be the end of their story. We recently lost a shining light in our home, a wonderfully caring, happy and strong woman. But, just because she has come to the end of her life, doesn’t mean it has to be the end of her story. Here is one nugget of her story continuing. A second is the hearing aid batteries she donated to the Home, she is letting a whole home of people hear and be engaged. A third is a collection of Tottenham Hotspur memorabilia, that to the uninterested football suffer like me has no value, but to the gentlemen upstairs who is an avid supporter is a heartwarming gift.

The third thing I learnt today at work, is that my job is definitely not for everyone. It has to be in your heart, in your nature. And, that if it isn’t you should not be working in this field of work, not only for your sanity, but for the well-being of everyone in that Home. An unhappy resident, quickly leads to an unhappy team and an even unhappier Home.

Care Home Hooligan – Part 5

Meet the two ladies locked in a battle of wits and cunning over the attention of a smiley but incapable companion

Okay like any good work environment there is always some rivalry for attention and for friendship status with the most popular person.

In a care home apparently it’s no different! We are currently dealing with a fight between two ladies over a third lady. For the sake of confidentiality I am going to change the names. So let’s call them Saskia, Mia and Greta.

So here is the story thus far:

Mia and Greta have been relatively close friends since they both moved in around the same time. Mia can be a little stand off-ish but generally speaking is quite a capable and interesting woman. Greta on the other hand is a very smiley, outgoing and friendly soul. The friendship between Mia and Greta was going well, they spent many an afternoon chatting and eating their meals together. But unbeknownst to them, trouble was on the horizon, in the form of a new resident, Saskia. Saskia is a charming woman, quite conversational and capable with a wonderful sense of humour and need to be busy.

Immediately the challenges begin. Mia and Saskia are in a feud for the attention and companionship of Greta. Mia sneaks in first to get a seat on the sofa with her, Saskia spends some quality time with her over a game of scrabble. It’s a dead heat. Then the rumours begin, Mia has been telling Greta not to like Saskia, Saskia has been accusing Mia of bullying. All while Greta is completely unaware because she can’t remember one minute to the next!

The fight would be all well and good if it weren’t for the fact that the two women who are feuding would actually be much better friends together than with Greta because they both have the capacity to maintain a conversation! Greta although smiley and positive, is very limited to agreeing and giggling in a conversation rather than actually contributing any points, opinions or topics. Both the feuding ladies are fighting for attention in order to break the boredom, and yet they are fighting over someone who is the equivalent of a mirror after taking a good dose of morphine.

New Years Resolutions 2017

So it’s been a whole year since I first made my New Years resolutions blog post. Last year I set myself 3 resolutions, and like the vast majority of us I carry them over to this year as I failed to achieve them last year.

1. Learn Spanish – the forever dream, that forever dies because I don’t have the faith in myself to maintain the motivation to spend real money on lessons.

2. Lose one stone – should have been relatively simple, I had a whole year. And yet, the pull of those cakes and biscuits are unwavering!

3. Stay motivated – this I would argue hasn’t failed me as much, I still feel pretty motivated, just tarnished my time pressures. So this year I am going to remove this off the list.. yay, somewhat of a success!

4. So to have 3 healthy goals I am going to set this years new resolution to read 10 books. I managed 8 last year I believe, so I think 10 is a good target. I spend so much time starting at screens I am surprised I don’t have glasses by this point! So to postpone the inevitable I want to go back to reading, as it really is one of my favourite pastimes.

So here is to 2018, may you be better than 2017, and trust me you have a hell of a lot of work to do to top that corker of a year!

A New Year Fast Approaching

So 2017 is drawing to a close and my god it feels like both a lifetime and a second.

I started the year in summery New Zealand, working far too many hours for some lovely, and some rather horrendous people. I draw the year to a close back in wintery london, working far too many hours in the most beautiful and wonderful home.

How the two worlds link I am not quite sure, because my little life on the other side of the world doesn’t feel linked to 2017, to my childhood bedroom and snow.

I slept in hostel rooms with 10 people, friends I hadn’t yet met, and now cherish. I made memories and challenged myself and leapt from a plane. I did unimaginable things and brave things and things I don’t remember because there were so many things. I drank, I danced, I laughed, I cried, I worked, I slept, I didn’t sleep, I baked, I cooked, I met new people, I made new friends, I met family, I made family.

And now I sit at home, nearing the end of this magnificent year, wondering how next year can even try to compete with the year I became me, the year I went crazy and sane all at the same time. I have hopes and wishes and dreams for the year to come, I have anxiety and stress for what it brings, I have love and passion for the people I will see.

Christmas is a knocking, so new year will have to wait. I have 35 stockings to deliver and Santa can’t be late.

Care Home Hooligan – Part 4

So my day was going great, Santa’s workshop was nice and calm, we made our lollipop stick trees and chatted, all plain sailing. We had a lovely church service thanks to the local father, then I went and did one to ones and got to know our new residents. Nobody was in a bad mood, everyone joined in and was laughing and chatting away all day, in terms of my residents and me it should have been a perfect Tuesday…. yet of course I have left feeling stressed out and unhappy.

Why you might ask? After such a lovely day do I feel so panicked? Well because it’s not just me and my residents, it’s relatives and staff and head office. My boss was under inspection which meant it had implications for me and my job was being analysed to check she was doing a good job. So I have that report to look forward to tomorrow. Our home manager was asking me for a map that I haven’t had time to do which we don’t need for 2 weeks yet. All the staff had lost their heads and were stressing out and at me. It was all a bit much. Which is such a shame because my actual job in isolation was such a win today.