Never mind the mirror neurons today. I’m feeling blue for folks who have not had, or are losing, the opportunity to share old age with each other. After say forty or fifty years together, I suspect that most thoughts are exchanged between ageing partners in a process of mutual osmosis, a kind of seepage from one to another and back.
That’s really quite comfortable, that is, and perhaps if we don’t recognise the joy while it’s with us, we miss it the greater when it’s gone. Many things in life are only finally appreciated in their absence, after all.
I’ve been writing a short story for our Writing Group with a piquant stimulus of ‘crashing a funeral.’ It sounds maudlin, referencing as it does a Guardian Experience piece by Felix Bazalgette
which describes the life of a tell-all revealer pre-engaged by the deceased to spill the emotional beans during their last rites, the confession or riposte that they couldn’t quite manage while they were living. Perhaps it is rather maudlin, but I’ve turned the tables a little, and instead of imagining a solitary life revelling in their final triumph, I’ve suggested that a fictional ageing couple collude in a conspiracy to ensure their last moments of intimacy stay that way. Close knit, as it were.
And in so doing, I’ve come full circle back to friends and family who are denied that privilege, whose partner has gone before. I’m so sorry for them. I wish there was a way, somehow, to give them back the intimacy they’ve so loved together, and as they mourn their beloveds, I fear for their own life, the life that must, inevitably, feel left over.
It feels pretentious, somehow, to think that because of potential loss we should delight in our own good fortune the more. But what is perhaps more relevant is that we should try to experience, and to remember, the joys we share now, rather than complain about the vicissitudes we may feel are visited upon us.
And that, finally, is what this blog really is all about.