Allow me to introduce Adri Sinclair, one of the most interesting characters I have had the pleasure of meeting during the last few months. She and I just sort of hit it off, and honestly, I can’t remember if it was Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, or G+. All I know is that she has become and inextricable part of my life and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
When Jen kindly offered me a guest blog post on her space, I flapped like a broken-winged bird. She was encouraging, and said: “Just write about something you feel really passionate about.”
My mind went into a flat spin. Gosh! I’m passionate about so many things!
But then, there’s always that one thing I have been passionate about since I was a little girl – and this is what I am hoping to share with you today.
Three years ago, we moved into a suburb outside of London. One of the major motivations was the near non-existent crime rates. Sure there were a few incidents, but none of it as dire as a bullet coming through our living room window! [True story!]
Coming from a busy, affluent, central London ‘yuppy’ camp, this was a big move for us as a family. [Not so much for me, I’m a barefoot farm girl, and that is not about to change!]
A week after we moved in, I quickly realise why there aren’t as much crime in our area… We’re surrounded by old people!
My daughter immediately stroked over my arm and said: “No, Mom, please.”
Hubby looked absolutely panicked on his way out to work for the first time. “Please, Adri, no troubles with the neighbours.”
What could they possibly be so concerned about? I hear you, right?!
Well, here’s the thing. I love, LOVE old people. I remember sitting on my grandma’s lap, stroking over her face with my fingertips. Her skin so soft, and wrinkly, covered with spots. Nothing to it, it was my Nanna! As I grew older, that love extended further and further…
I met the grumpiest of old men, frowning and scowling at being bothered because I am asking him for the millionth time to tell me about his life, anything about it! I met the lady with MS, and told her dirty jokes until she couldn’t breathe. I met hubby’s grandma—the last Christmas we spent together, I had her dancing on the coffee table with ‘Madonna’ cones to Rocky Horror time-warp. I met the old biddy who went and had her hair rinsed purple every Thursday at the salon, and convinced her to have it done in pink! I stole wine and sweeties for Aunty Lizz from the dinner table when nobody was looking, and we giggled like naughty children. I read from an old bible to the old uncle living on the street.
So now you see the problem?
Here I am, living among an entire village of elderly – I agree with hubby and daughter, there should be a warning on my front door: This person lures old people to her living room with cups of tea and biscuits.
Three years on…
Yes, it is true, I know just about every single one of them – I’ve carried their groceries, cleaned their kitchens, fed their chickens, laughed at them scolding me for not wearing shoes, pushed their cars, played with their dogs – Heck, I have a schedule to make sure I don’t miss any one of them!
Why? Why do I do it?
I guess because I think they are the most beautiful people in this world. They have lived their lives, they have paid their dues. Some are doing better than others – but the saddest part is? They are abandoned so easily by a society that is fast moving, fast living and fast to discard that which is old.
The elderly are among the poorest in the world – not because they didn’t prepare for their futures or their golden years… but because the future did not prepare for them. They are among the most abused, most abandoned and most vulnerable. Not good enough to be yesterday’s history, not strong enough to be tomorrow’s news.
But when you spend a little time, and you make a little effort – oh my world – inspiration and admiration is the order of the day. The wisdom, the battle scars, the no none-sense, no BS honesty and truths. The utter acceptance of self – warts and all; they have paved the way for us more often than not with their bare hands, and we DARE complain about the loose pebble on the road!
We speak so often about the ‘inner child’ and not to neglect that side of our psyche – yet we neglect to consider what we, as a younger generation, are doing to the ‘inner child’ of a person who’s frustrated by their own weak bodies and minds. They know their lives are not as rich anymore, they know their usefulness has passed an expiry date; and it hurts.
So yes, I lure them – with a cup of tea and a biscuit, to my home, where I shower them with respect, with honour, with dignity. I take the sharp fingers pointing at me, chastising me over my loudness. I accept the grumpy mutter over the rubbish cup of tea I’ve just made. I inwardly grin at the snort over my rudeness when I cuss accidentally. There is nothing like the sparkle in the wise old eyes, the mischief that lights up when you find the “Missing Child” whose face was fading on the milk carton of the soul. When you can see the chains that held the red tricycle of the heart unlocked, and you know – deep inside your own person, you know they are just dying for one more race around the track of life.
I can only hope and pray, if I live long enough to get to a ripe old age, I will have someone interested enough in me to want to spend time. I consider the reality of my daughter growing up and moving on with her own life; the possibility of losing my husband – or him losing me. I dread the picture of my inner child gone missing, stuck on the side of a billboard next to my life’s road.
And that is why I consider myself: Adri Sinclair, investigative detective for the lost and abandoned inner children of the elderly. I am extremely passionate, and dedicated to this job!