Caught up in the daily routine
So often, we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. Our thoughts, contained within our own little bubble that dominates our world. Our own concerns, worries and issues connected to our circumstances, and of those near and dear to us, whirling through our minds. Often, we act on auto pilot so as to cope with the myriad tasks that constitute our hum drum days.
How often do we stop to notice the little things? A kindly gesture, a smile, a wave? Shared connection, perhaps fleeting, but none the less powerful for that.
An unexpected delight
By moving into my flat on the first floor of a small self-contained block, I found myself living directly above an elderly lady in her late 90s. Her flat, at the front of the block, overlooked the small, neat, shared garden area. Unwittingly, I was brought into close contact with a daily reminder of the simple pleasures in life.
Confined to her home, due to deteriorating health, apart from short trips to the local shops or with family, Brenda was ever-present each time I left home, and on my return. A lovely, open-hearted, friendly lady, she always had a ready smile and a wave for all passers-by. She would regularly invite the gardener and window cleaner to share a cup of tea. One of her daughters who visited daily, also shared her mum’s cheery disposition.
Until one day, something changed. I noticed that the blinds were drawn – a sombre air had descended. Had she gone into hospital? A few days later, I learned the sad truth. Brenda had passed. Although our contact was mainly restricted to fleeting smiles, waves and thumbs up, sadness swept over me. A beautiful presence in my life was gone. Only the cheerful flowers she loved so much, and the quirky garden ornaments that brought her so much fun remained. Proud reminders of a lady who always extracted the best from life. The best, not only for herself, but in the love and affection reflected back to many others who came into her orbit daily. Her friendly smiles and waves lifting the spirits of many.
As International Women’s Day comes around once more, it seems fitting to pay tribute to one who lived through the majority of the last century. Whilst she must have faced her own challenges and hardships along the way, in an era when women had only just secured the vote, and opportunities were often limited, Brenda kept smiling to the end. Her spirit brought a wonderful balance to a sometimes seemingly harsh and cheerless world.
I will miss her indomitable spirit and unfailing bonhomie.
Brenda has Gone Poem
Blinds closed, drawn across once cheery windows
That drew you in to the warmth of her home
The beauty of her soul. Now an empty shell
Bereft of her welcoming presence.
Even before I moved in, causing mayhem
With a cacophony of building work, radios blaring
Urgent resident meeting about this recalcitrant
Absent traveller; she was there.
Warm, inquisitive; inviting me in to her home
Without a second thought, to look around.
Generosity and joy spilling out into the regal
Atmosphere of her carefully maintained flat.
Brazenly allowing me a sneak-peak into the vacant
Property above, soon to become my abode,
Proprietary, illicitly she still held a key.
Self-appointed, spare key-keeper in chief to us all.
Brenda loved her garden. Resplendent
At the front of the block, only troubled
When illness prevented her careful tending.
Yet her quirky style soon compensated.
Many a time she would proudly beckon,
Calling me over to show off a new acquisition.
Meerkats with binoculars, larger than life blue tit,
Brand new patio, complete with fretwork chairs.
Ever constant, a cheery wave on leaving home,
Welcoming reprise on each return.
We developed our secret code, ‘thumbs up,
All is well’, to end each fleeting, joyous connection.
No longer will I push a note through your door
Keeping you posted, care-free, when I’m away,
Nor knock to gather up a parcel,
Kindly collected in. Just one lingering, sad goodbye.
I honour you, dearest Brenda, as sad tears I cry.
A Secret Code Poem
A secret code, our code.
Love shared, adventures lived,
Life experienced in all its bounty.
Trust, innocence, carefree happiness.
Whilst the world watches and wonders.
No-one can comprehend
The magnitude of meaning encapsulated
In a handshake, a hug, a secret
Sign shared between two people in the know,
Revelling in the mystery of shared connection.
A simple key that clicks into place,
Unlocks universal, yet personal truths
As plain as the carrot nose on a snowman’s face.
Fluffy bunnies, squirrels, flowers, birds, fur babies,
Our hopes unfurled in nature.
Unlock the pain, emerge again into the sun.
Brenda, smiles and waves.
She sees it all, never questions,
Sees the good in everyone.
Good night lovely lady,
Set sail on a new adventure.
QE2 bound, you survey the endless oceans
Perched high in the heavens.
If only we could set ourselves free.
Your essence, for me, holds the key
To natural things, a lantern swaying
Purposefully in the wind,
Lighting the way to wonderous things.