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Friday, 8 October 2021


 You are absorbing the news that someone you cared for has departed this Earth. Tis enough to cope with, without the coffin-chasers appearing, crawling out from the woodwork like cockroaches.

Over a number of weeks, I'd become accustomed to phone-calls from my friend. We'd meet for a cuppa and chat. As the weeks went by, it became meet-up and chat. We did our usual putting the world to rights. Agreeing naturally over so much we had in common.

I became concerned that she was having to cope with not only severe pain, but also 'well-intentioned' bullying.

Unless you've already experienced it most folk would never understand.

When so-called family distance themselves for over two decades, they lose any options on appearing to be next-of-kin.

My dear friend suffered daily from multiple medical problems, always stalwart and indomitable.

Gradually, macular degeneration robbed her of her sight. She was a natural mathematician. This was the skill she used to navigate the world as her sight deteriorated. It was from her, that I learnt to appreciate what sight loss actually meant. It amazed me. We caught the bus and she counted the stops. Effortlessly telling where we'd reached along the route.

The image shows her teaching a group of sight-challenged people how to do crafts.

Carers accompanying the visually challenged often refused to accept that my friend was blind.

Another pet-hate of hers was to come across people who insisted on assuming blind people ought to be treated like vegetables and left to rot in a chair.

Over the years, I experienced with her the in-built ignorance and bias against blind people. The daily assumptions that everyone everywhere always has all faculties.

Another growing irritancy was to experience the Cavalier attitude and tick-box bias of all so-called members of the 'medical profession'. To witness at first-hand the tick-box bias of so-called medical professionals. 

My friend must have been in extremis for several months. We adjusted to calls for us to leave everything and go to her aid. For someone so independent it must have been such an indignity to call for assistance. As I kept telling her,' You are the only one I've ''got' and you ar special to me.

For several weeks, we went round to help her up after a fall. The liver cancer robbed her of as much as it could.

Now, I cherish the occasions when I was able to help and to comfort her. Helping her back on to her feet, gently holding her upright in my arms; assuring her that I was 'there' for her whatever happened.

A fortnight ago she chose to go to hospital. The writing was on the wall. That first few days she phoned and we chatted. 

Next, came the impenetrable silence.


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