Last year Gloria’s husband, Jim, died suddenly. He just sat up in bed one day and was gone. She called 999, of course, and the paramedics were brilliant, but nothing they did could save him.
“It was a massive heart attack” she told her son, Ronald, on the phone. He came immediately, even though he lived in Scotland. Gloria lived in Mere Green and now she was alone. Her other son, James, lived in Kent. “They’re wonderful sons” she told Mary, her next door neighbour. “They’d be here all the time, but they live so far away”. Mary sympathised, her only child had immigrated to New Zealand two years ago. They were in contact on Facetime, but it wasn’t enough.
Gloria had always been a strong, no nonsense sort of woman. Born in 1943 she was the child of tough, working class Brummies who had survived the war and were strict with their children. Her mother had always told her “There’s no such word as can’t Gloria!”
So in her usual way Gloria muddled along after Jim was gone. One day as she was going to the bathroom in the middle of the night her bed cover seemed to reach out and trip her. She lay for a while unable to move, but as time went by found the strength to get up. She recovered by herself, but became preoccupied with her failing eyesight and decreased ambulation. It wasn’t long before she decided she didn’t need to go shopping because she didn’t want to go out and it was so hard to walk to the shop. She didn’t feel hungry and told her sons “I’m getting too old to cook for one person only.” No one knew it, but she also became very sad and tearful.
One day Ronald showed up unannounced. He found Gloria lying in bed. As far as he could tell she had been like that for a few days. Ronald stuck around and made an appointment with Gloria’s GP. She was assessed and her doctor recommended regular visits to her local day centre. There she was given hot meals and refreshments and other services were provided. After a short time she felt more motivated and even participated in singing and an exercise class. One of the volunteers had her joining in quizzes and trying the arts and crafts program. It wasn’t long before Mary came too. Now they go together. Finally Gloria’s golden years are shining brightly and her dark depression has been beaten.