Monday, 15 August 2011

Lord now lettest thou thy servant.....

Possibly wrong that I, who have no belief in that sort of thing, should steal from The Book for a title. However, I have always hedged my bets and one never knows who might be listening.

Today is my birthday. Thank you for congratulations, best wishes, Mazel tov, whatever. I had never imagined that would sustain for 78 years on this planet - or any other. I had never been terrible solicitous about my health and welfare right from climbing the tree when my father came and told me I had better get down as war had been declared. I was not evacuated - my parents held that if they were dead, I might as well be also.
The Army claimed me and I was able to get to most parts of the world where the Union flag few. Objectors to this threw stones and fired bullets and I walked among this unharmed. My trade involved investigating - not all my finds came quietly when told to get their strides on because they were nicked. I occasionally drove very rorty rally cars with only minor shunts.
At the the beginning of my 40s I moved away from Action Man's world and resorted to using my brain. I was asked for my opinions and people paid me for my advice. I got involved in preparing budgets for millions of pounds, fighting to explain why I wanted all this money and then controlling the expenditure thereof. I drove many miles on busy roads. The stress was something I grasped like a true adrenaline junky.
And then, in due course of time, I retired. The challenges were put beyond my reach; like a steel fire shutter deployed. I took to hill walking - always without human company but often with my dog. All the adrenaline went out of my life. There were no challenges any more. I felt like Teddy thrown in the corner and abandoned.
Then the physical side started to let me down. Glasses, no real teeth. I was at the mercy of minor illnesses and recovery became longer. Breath was in short supply and I had a season ticket to the local GP. All very frustrating; the remedies seemed to be dealing with the symptoms and not the root illness.
Some months back I realised that my memory was failing me. I would be talking about something and a word I wanted would not come out of the files. Then, for no apparent reason, the word would come into my mind unbidden. I walk from one room to another for some purpose only to find myself wondering why I am in that particular room. I sometimes need two attempts to pick something up - I drop it the first time. I knock things over.
I realise that in the scale of some peoples suffering, all of this is a walk in the park. Well, I sympathise with them but this does little for me in my cocoon of advancing mush. I look back at the few occasions when I might have gone out in a blaze of glory and white light and wonder if what I actually did at those times was worth it in the light of my present state.
So, I want no more congratulations. good wishes or Mazel tov. Just a farewell please. "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace"

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