She was in a state, shaking and trying not to cry. I take it all in, the whole scene, knowing that this is not right, not 'normal' behaviour. I tell her to take some big breaths, relax, slow down.
'But I get like this a lot now Billy'
That's what she calls me, Billy.
'I had to phone the bank the other day, they wanted some information and I couldn't find it and I got myself into such a state and started shaking and...'
She breaks down. I hate to see her like this but I've seen it before. It can start like this, I think to myself. And I hope I am wrong.
We were trying to book a holiday on line. The place she had set her heart on was not available, however her next choice was so we booked it immediately. It was all too much for her. The disappointment of loosing her first choice, (to me seemed totally out of proportion) the quickness of booking on line.
What makes it worse, my step father makes it unbearably clear, albeit with a stealthy delivery, that he would really rather stay at home. He says he wishes she had booked somewhere further east (we are talking Devon/Dorset border here rather than 'The Far East') She wishes he was more enthusiastic, they never go away together. The sadness of the situation slowly creeps under my skin, like a sort of osmosis, a passive process; I have felt it before.
Before I was married and had a family I remember her sitting on a dinning chair in my living room saying that she had nothing left to live for. There have been times when I have wanted to point out, since then, how much she would have missed; two grandchildren for a start. But when I look at her today, I do wonder whether a half life is good enough (perhaps she was right after all), whether the half life has made her this way. And while I think it, in my selfish 'only child' way, I wonder if I am seeing myself 30 years down the line. Will I be like this woman, so easily pushed off key? I recognise so many of her traits in myself. Will age make me weak and unsure, doubtful and depressed?
She sent an email this morning, I read it in the car. It made me cry, for her not myself. ...'Just a bit 'down' about the holiday...wish he was more enthusiastic.. wish we'd used my credit card so I could cancel it...I suppose I'll get used to it.. have been feeling a bit depressed lately and this seems like the last straw...' That was when I realised it was real, no one feels sad about a holiday that they have longed to book.
I have persuaded her to go to the Dr next week. Hopefully she'll get pills, they worked the last time. It takes 2 weeks before you feel any better. Yet I am convinced that to be loved and cherished would work just as well, my love is not enough, it is not that sort of love that she has been deprived of for so long. No, it is the love of a good man that could have made her life so much more full. Love and kindness. She is 77 this year.