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If God spares me

(25 Posts)
biglouis Wed 24-Aug-22 17:23:32

Back in the 1970s my grandmother was in her 90s. She was still sharp and bright intellectually speaking but her body was now letting her down. She was arthritic with poor mobility but nevertheless chose to live independently. She had a “woman who does” come in and clean for her daily and get her shopping in. My two aunts, who lived only a few minutes walk away, took it in turns to go in and cook her a meal and do any other little jobs.

I lived across the city but I used to visit my gran on Sunday afternoons after lunch and we would have afternoon tea and a chat. When I left I would say “Ill see you same time next week” and she would always reply “If God spares me”. My grandmother was quite religious and believed that once you passed 70 you were living on borrowed time. One day she said it with such sadness that I asked “Don’t you care nana?” “No child” she replied. “Ive outlived my time and I cant do many of the things I want to do. We are living in such dreadful times. If I went tonight quietly in my sleep I would not mind.”

Not long afterwards, as if by a premonition of her own death, nana did die. She did not die in her sleep as she wished, but from a sudden heart attack. She reached up to a shelf, gave a little cry, and then fell down. My aunt (who was with her) told me it was very quick and she did not suffer. She was pronounced dead at the scene when the ambulance arrived.

Im beginning now to understand how my grandmother felt. At 78 I am a lot younger than she was and I do not share her religious beliefs. I can no longer do many of the things that gave me pleasure like walking, shopping and travelling. Ive achieved most of the things I wanted to do – published a book, gained a Ph.d and travelled to some of the most exciting and wonderful places on earth. But increasingly there seems no point to it all. We are living in dreadful times and I can see no end to it. I have nothing left to strive for.

I often wish, as she did, that I could go quietly to sleep and not wake up.

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 24-Aug-22 18:03:23

I'm so sorry biglouis.

I too am less able to do the things I could (osteoarthritis and asthma) and I realise that I am unlikely to ever go on a proper holiday again - by choice, we don't go on holiday because for a good many years we've had rescue dogs for whom kennels mean only abandonment, and I really have no desire to go on holiday with all the hassle it entails, but the realisation hits hard doesn't it? I have a married son to whom I'm close (though not geographically) but often wonder 'what's the point', especially since I retired from a career which somewhat defined me and where I was needed and valued.

Now I basically live from day to day and find pleasure in small things, such as my garden, my dog, the countryside around me or nice food. I'm not the type for lots of friends or going out but that suits me fine. I know you have a long-established antiques business and trade internationally, and also have a good relationship with your nephew. You are also a popular member of GN, don't underestimate that. There are many who value you.

I know well that feeling of wanting to go to sleep and not wake up. It is the best thing for the person concerned isn't it, whatever one's beliefs, but devastating for those left behind. And particularly so if everything isn't in apple-pie order with detailed instructions left. My granny also died very suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart attack and it was dreadful for all concerned, though so mercifully quick for her. However she had had a premonition in a dream a few weeks earlier and everything was in order. I still miss her terribly all these years later (1966) and I expect you feel exactly the same.

We all get down occasionally and want to go to sleep and not wake up, but then we're glad when we do. A new day puts a new perspective on many things. But if you feel more than just 'down', please see your doctor and if he/she thinks you're depressed and offers medication, don't refuse it. I have been on anti-depressants for many years and they have changed my life beyond belief.

I sincerely hope you soon feel much better.

Sago Wed 24-Aug-22 18:14:21

* Biglouis* You have achieved so much, don’t stop now!
As GSM advised go and see your doctor.
I hope this is just a blip.
You are a valued member of the GN community.
Please keep us informed as to how you are getting on.

MayBee70 Wed 24-Aug-22 18:19:31

I’ve lost several very dear friends over the past couple of years. The pandemic hasn’t helped in that I hadn’t seen them for a long time and feel that I missed out on the time we could have spent together. But it’s really getting to me. One such friend died yesterday and I’m still in disbelief. And yes, I feel that I will no longer do things that I’d planned to do: holidays abroad for example.

Granniesunite Wed 24-Aug-22 19:54:12

I’m so sorry to hear that MayBee. It’s a sad and lonely time for you. I hope the good times you shared and the memories of your friends go a little way to help ?

Granniesunite Wed 24-Aug-22 19:56:00

?for you biglouis.

Doodledog Wed 24-Aug-22 20:08:39

My grandad used to say 'If God spares me' after he got to 70, too. At 69 he used to do Meals On Wheels 'for the old folk' and got out and about a lot. At 70 and a day, that stopped, and he started to wait to die. He lived to be 99.

It was such a shame in a lot of ways, particularly for my grandmother, who was far from ready to stay in all day and all night, not go on holiday or do anything. They spend their last decades very unhappy. I'm not religious, but I did say to him that if God had spared him, He did it for a reason, and suggested that He might think it was rude not to make the most of the 'extra time', but Grandad was having none of it.

I agree with GSM that a visit to the doctor might be a good idea. There's nothing to lose, is there?

Harris27 Wed 24-Aug-22 20:15:59

You still have lots to live for and you can live for the special things in life that keep us happy. A garden a good book some nice food set your goals and look to what did make you happy maybe on a smaller scale. ?

SueDonim Wed 24-Aug-22 20:48:02

Oh gosh, you sound very low, biglouis. flowers

My dad lived a good life until his final three month illness at the age of 92. My mum, even though she is currently in hospital having rehab for arthritis, still enjoys life at 94yo and she finds much to look forward to despite being much restricted compared to her younger years.

I don’t think the situation you describe needs to be the norm and maybe a visit too have a chat with the doctor would help.

henetha Wed 24-Aug-22 23:25:45

Oh biglouis, I'm sorry you feel this way. Our world shrinks as we age and can no longer do the things we used to do. But there is contentment in small things, small achievements.
You have done many wonderful things, and still can but in a different way. Good wishes.

biglouis Thu 25-Aug-22 00:07:31

Many thanks to all the members who wished me well.

Im not just thinking of my situation now but of the way the world in general (and this country in particular) is going. Im glad I chose never to have children (and therefore grandchildren) as I would feel so angry, bitter and scared for them. Ive read a lot of threads over on Mumsnet where young families with both parents working full time are clearly at the end of their tether. They are younger and fitter than I and wondering "whats it all for" when you are working just to pay bills and live from day to day so that greedy investers and landlords can prosper.

I am very fortunate because if I didnt sell antiques I would sell something else - if only my knowledge and skill in the academic sphere. So I will always have a side hustle to get me out of bed and money to pay the parasites.

But I cant help wondering if its all worthwhile. I no longer feel any sense of achievement.

My nephew is 15 years younger than I. He survived a stroke 8 years ago and although he is 80% recovered there are things that gave him pleasure which he can no longer do. We had this talk yesterday and although he didnt articulate it in the same way I know he has similar feelings about "not wanting to wake up."

Whiff Thu 25-Aug-22 07:31:27

biglouis don't give up on life. Unfortunately my husband didn't get to live a full life dieing in agony from cancer aged 47. I have been ill my whole life thought I would die first and was prepared for that. But it was my fit healthy husband who died.

He made me promise to live the best life I can and I do . It's been 18.5 years since he died I was 45 now 64.

You still have a life to live, live it to the full . What I love about life is we are never to old to learn and do something new. My health has improved in one way but gotten worse in others . But I won't let me living a full life.

You still have so much to give and life to live . To many young children and young people don't get the chance .

Don't wish your life away . I am sure there is at least one thing you still want to do . It can be small or silly but there is bound to be something.

Just be grateful you wake every morning I know I am. If I could have given my life for my husband I would have but as we all know life is not fair.

I always find a positive from a negative even if it's something silly. Here's an example. Last year I had plants delivered but it was raining and going to have a new gate fitted. I put on my waterproof jacket, trousers and wellies. I always leave my garden gate open whilst in the garden. I fell and landed on my artificial lawn. When I fall I can't get up. So phoned the fitters and they where on there way. But got stuck in traffic. Negative is I fell and had to wait 15 mins in the pouring rain BUT the positive I hadn't hurt myself and my wellies, trousers and jacket keep my dry and warm . Once up the men wanted me to go inside but I planted my last 4 plants. Then went in.

Can you find a positive out of a negative ? If so then you have years ahead of you grasp it will both hands and live your life to the full. Don't wish your life away. Death finds us all in the end but until then live.

dogsmother Thu 25-Aug-22 07:45:18

Ah Biglouis, sad to read this post. Means I’m responding and pretty sure I’m quite the irritant to many when I come on.
Seems like you need an anti depressant which is very common in us older people. And/or a new outlet for your energies.
There are many more eloquent posts so that’s my offering. Apologies for lack of decent grammatical comprehension.

GagaJo Thu 25-Aug-22 09:49:09

My granny used to talk about all her friends / generation being dead (died at 96). I thought it was sad at the time, and now I'm starting to see it myself.

I do think it is a generational thing. The world we knows passes and the one that replaces it seems so alien to us, we don't have much of a place in it.

I'm late 50s now and once my grandson has reached a reasonable age, feel that if death could take me one night, peacefully, I'd be very happy for it to happen.

J52 Thu 25-Aug-22 10:18:38

Sorry that you are so down. I hope the suggestions and support give above has helped you.
You mentioned your fears for the younger generations, my DCs and DGCs are very optimistic and make the most out of every day. The spirit of youth, I suppose, just as you had when your Nana thought the 1970s were dreadful times.
Please get some real life support, there’s a lot of living waiting for you.

MayBee70 Thu 25-Aug-22 13:04:56

biglouis.. I get worried about things and despair for the future. But each day I put on a Paul McKenna hypnotism tape. There are several of them but my current favourite is the Happy Trance one. I’m sure it changes my mindset. x

AGAA4 Thu 25-Aug-22 13:33:51

I understand how you feel biglouis. I have had times when I have felt that way. I am a similar age to you.
My DH died at 51 and I decided I would try to make the best of my life as it is now as l felt guilty that he had so little time.
I hope this passes soon as it did for me ?

GrannySomerset Thu 25-Aug-22 13:42:54

So sorry you feel so bleak, biglouis, it’s horrible to feel there is nothing to look forward to. Since DH’s death in January I have struggled with the feeling that I am no longer first with anyone and that I don’t have much to offer either. My local friends have been an immense help, and my very nosy interest in the doings of the young means I do have some investment in the future, though I worry about it more and more.

Worth considering whether you would benefit from medical help, but hard if you have always been fiercely independent; it’s taken me to the age of 80 to realise that there is nothing pathetic in asking for help.

Germanshepherdsmum Thu 25-Aug-22 14:20:27

Maybe you do need to start a new side hustle biglouis. Perhaps what you’ve been doing for so long has become a bit stale? Do you go to the antiques fairs as much as you used to and meet other specialists in your field? You’re lucky to have other strings you can put on your bow if need be - perhaps the time for that has come?

I’m afraid I totally switch off from the constant stream of negative news. When I was working I decided I had a finite capacity for worry, and that I would worry only about my family and those things over which I had some control. Beyond making the odd charitable donation and being environmentally aware there is absolutely nothing I can do about the world’s problems. Yes, the world my son and any children he may have will inhabit doesn’t look great but making myself ill pondering and worrying about it won’t help anyone. Just live your life as best you can for yourself and don’t fret about what you can’t change.

I mentioned depression above. Feeling you have nothing to look forward to is a classic sign. When I first saw my doctor, frankly on the verge of totally cracking up, the first thing he asked was ‘What do you have to look forward to?’. Nothing of course. I guess I still don’t as I lead a quiet life, but that’s by choice and not having much to look forward to in the sense that others do, holidays, outings, seeing grandchildren (not that I like children), really isn’t a problem with the medication.

I hope you’ll go and see the doc and that you’ll soon be feeling a lot better. ?

MadeInYorkshire Thu 25-Aug-22 14:41:54

Hello Biglouis I feel exactly the same .... I am only 60 and have lost my life due to ill health, and feel as though there is nothing to look forward to anymore. My aged Aunt lost her husband early and was on her own living next door or a few doors up until she was 99, the family kept an eye on her and she was almost blind, but stayed in her own home until she got a chest infection, went into hospital, had it cleared up but decided she had had enough and began to refuse to eat and drink and she never came home .... her favourite expression was "if I'm spared ...."

I have been on antidepressants now for years, but they don't really work as everything is so circumstantial - never have any luck in life ever. If I even had someone to spend time with, wouldn't have enough money to go out anyway! Scratching an existence on benefits is no fun and I don't have a sideline - even if I did they would take it off me as you aren't 'allowed to increase your income', you just get stuck in the rut, and it's horrible. My family moved in with me to help look after me, we were going to do some works to it and no one will lend us any money because the house I bought is of non standard construction. So, as it is it just doesn't work for us at all and we are all on top of each other and relationships are breaking down sadly, so they have applied to go on a council housing list (335 houses and 4,000 on the list!!) so will lose my carer and my company, even though it is driving me mad (kids need to come through my room to get outside, I have to wash in the kitchen and have no privacy. They sold all their stuff to come here and will need to get it all over again and I am unable to help them - it's all a never ending nightmare, and the longer this covid thing goes on and everything else, the more conspiracy theorist I am becoming as it doesn't add up! I fear for my granddaughters .....

Germanshepherdsmum Thu 25-Aug-22 16:44:35

That’s so sad, MadeinYorkshire. I think you’re the lady who lives in the conservatory?

Have you thought of asking the council if they can give you a little place of your own locally, not far from your family, and get carers to come in and help you? I don’t know anything about entitlement to benefits but there are people here who do. Also Age UK would be a good source of advice and one of their people could come to visit you to see what you’re eligible for.

May I also suggest that you speak to your doctor if your antidepressants aren’t working as they should. There are so many different kinds, or possibly your dosage isn’t right.

Is there a day centre nearby where you could go for a bit of a break and some fun, and to make some friends?

I sincerely hope your situation improves soon. You shouldn’t have to live like this. ?

MadeInYorkshire Thu 25-Aug-22 17:37:27

Thank you Germanshepherdsmum

Yes that is me! Conservatory woman, lol ..... Council, ummm, I have both daughters now on the list - one is quite high up there because of her disabilities, and the other has the 2 young children, so will also be quite high on there too - problem is there's no housing stock anywhere! Marlborough is known as 'God's Waiting Room' - there are hundreds of sheltered housing flats for sale, but not rent, but the service charges are around £4k a year! With 2 dogs I need a garden, which I have got, but if everyone moves out I will struggle to look after it all .... there are a few council bungalows, but are obviously at a premium here and the rest are flats with a remaining spattering of 2/3 bed houses like the one I am in, or at the top end of town some much smaller more modern ones, hardly anything!

I speak to my GP regularly, he knows us all and all of our 'foibles' and has recently changed my antidepressants, but when it's all circumstantial they don't help much - I am also on several Controlled Drugs for pain and you would think being on enough medication to drop a horse, that I would sleep, but I don't!

I have carers come in once a day to help me wash and dress as it's almost impossible for me to get my abdominal 'corsetry' on alone, it's a 2 man job, lol! I have one of them that has 5 straps, very kindly built for me by the NHS some years ago which is more of a 3 man job!

Not sure if there's anything in the town I could go to - am 60 so not really the right age for some of these places etc, although someone on FB was asking if there were some groups/meet ups for people that aren't very elderly or mums with tots, so will see if anything comes of that - but I now get very anxious about going places as I look a mess, feel a mess and a lot of the time I am covered in mess sadly ..... I know I sound negative about things, but it feels like life has conspired against me since my health took a bad turn, 24 surgeries in the last 25 years has taken it's toll sad xx

Harris27 Thu 25-Aug-22 17:41:40

Such sadness breaks my heart. ?

Germanshepherdsmum Thu 25-Aug-22 19:13:35

My goodness MIY, you have been through the mill and still only 60. Life is terribly unfair for some folks.

I'm glad you have got some carers, you sound as though you really need them.

I understand that with dogs, who can be our lifeline (mine is my wonderful friend), you need a garden especially if your mobility isn't great. I'm sure you wouldn't give up your lovely dogs, any more than I would. Our best friends.

If one of your daughters was able to get council accommodation, would staying in the house be workable for the rest of you? It sounds as though the house is overcrowded, which should I would have thought give priority for re-housing.

Its such a shame that when the house was purchased nobody told you that its particular kind of construction (I'm guessing it's an Airey ex-council house?) would mean it's unmortgageable? It's a tragedy that people sink all they have in a house that nobody will lend on. If a survey was carried out the surveyor would have flagged that up, but I guess one wasn't done? But the house would have been advertised as 'cash buyers only' - I see quite a lot of those. However it's no use crying over spilt milk is it. Onwards and, I hope, upwards. I really wish you well and you will be in my prayers. Please keep in touch.

biglouis Sun 28-Aug-22 22:31:54


"Maybe you do need to start a new side hustle biglouis. Perhaps what you’ve been doing for so long has become a bit stale? Do you go to the antiques fairs as much as you used to and meet other specialists in your field? You’re lucky to have other strings you can put on your bow if need be - perhaps the time for that has come?"

I was only discussing this with my nephew last week and saying that I might get back into academic work and do a bit of private tutoring if the antiques market declines. Possibly adult students whose first language is not English. Of course I would do it remotely - not in person. Ive also done indexing in the past and copy editing.