I can remember one day whilst on holidays in Donegal,
passing a church.
A coffin was being wheeled out,
and the only people following it,
were the priest and the lady who looks after the church.
No relatives, no friends.
I was a teenager at the time,
but I can remember being so struck,
by the lack of mourners.
I come from a big family,
and the only funerals I had attended,
had involved large numbers,
both in the house for the wake,
and in the church.
As I watched the lonely procession,
walk across the road and into the graveyard,
I asked myself,
“How can you live a lifetime and never gather friends?
And then I remembered.
This was an elderly man.
He had no family.
Many years before he may have had many friends,
But old age is cruel,
and with our loss of mobility,
also comes our loss of contact.
Yesterday I was speaking with my mum,
and during our chat, we spoke of my Grandfather.
He had left Donegal to come and live with us,
after my Grandmother had died.
I had always thought that this was great for him.
We were his family and he would not have been so lonely.
However as mum pointed out to me yesterday,
My granda had to say Good Bye to all his friends,
and leave behind his home and life of eighty years.
She said he had found it very hard to do.
I cannot imagine what he must have felt,
as he drove away that day to his new life.
At least my grandfather was coming to live in a busy house,
and would spend the rest of his days,
surrounded by family old and young.
When I was nursing,
I worked for a very short time in community nursing.
My area was Dublin inner city.
One of our daily visits was to an elderly lady.
She lived alone in the top floor of “the flats”.
I never got to see her.
Our task was to ensure the bag of groceries,
that was dropped to her door every day was gone,
and to bang on her door loudly.
After five minutes or so she would come to the door,
and roar out at us,
We would smile at each other,
job done, she was still alive!
I do not suppose many came to her funeral.
So today I look around at my own friends.
I am thankful for each one of them.
Long may I be well enough to have so many.
However I wonder with modern technology,
will we be less isolated as we get old?
After all we may eventually have less “real” friends,
but we can still have our friends in our computers!
photo credit: Juergen Kurlvink via photopin cc
photo credit: teaeff via photopin cc
17 thoughts on “I am relying on wordpress to look after me in my old age.”
When my wife was told she had lung cancer, friends were supportive – call us any time, day or night, if you need anything they all said. Well meaning, and nice to know. But I never did. For the times when I most felt the need for some support was generally in the middle of the night and I did not feel they would be overly pleased at me phoning them at 3 o’ clock in the morning just for a chat. So I would get the laptop out. Because virtual friends occupied different time zones across the world, there were always some around no matter what time i logged on – no need to wake someone up for a chat!
Virtual friends also had the advantage that I could be open and honest with them about what we were going through and my fears and feeling. Something I couldn’t do with family and friends because I had to always be the strong one to help and support them
So In some instances, online friends can be ‘better’ than ‘real’ friends because they are more ‘available’ and because we can ‘open up’ to them in a way we may not feel comfortable doing with ‘real’ friends
And in most cases, we probably interact more frequently with our online friends than we do with family and friends.
I think the growing number of elderly that are using the internet is a great thing. So many elderly folk now have families that do not live near them (may even be in another country), their friends are dying off, they have retired from work so have lost the social contacts they had there, they probably don’t know their neighbours. It can be terribly lonely for them. With the internet, they can keep in touch with far-flung family members and friends and forge a whole network of new internet friends. I think, increasingly, our internet friends are going to become more and more important in our lives !
Well said. I can imagine how supported you would feel by “virtual” friends even though you never met. And definitely more open and honest, especially within the circumstances you were living in. I would love to think I would be blogging in some form or other to the bitter end.
I liked, except for the part where you just called me not a “real” friend. What’s the Irish equivalent of “bitch”? Lol.
It would be dangerous for me to give you that word! If you read the comment before you, you will see exactly how important “un real” friends are! In some circumstances I could see them playing a bigger role than “real” friends, how sad is that?
I guess I need to read all the comments now? It’s all I can do to keep up with the posts! I need to visit this Dublin. Sounds wonderful.
Come on over!:) Just in from a ridiculous night out, think you could manage to fit right in! I suspect your wife could also be totally corrupted.
Lol! Love the old lady screaming out at the nurses.
Yes another “character” of the neighborhood!
Thanks for this – I found while my daughter was going through cancer treatment and then hospice that communicating by email was far easier than phone or in person, and I felt so much love and support from family, friends and even acquaintances that way. It’s why I started my blog too, to feel that connection in the “virtual” world that can be more timely and easier to receive than the “real” friends who are mostly far away anyway!
I understand. I actually thought of you and the comments others have made over time when I was putting this post together.
You have just given me a great idea to keep myself entertained when I’m old and infirm: I will be “Super Granny F**K OFF”. I have asked for fancy dress and a party for my funeral. That way maybe someone will come, if only out of curiosity…. 🙂
Can you imagine if you really were that kind of Granny? I’m sure you’d have a full house for your fancy dress. 🙂
Loved this post- really beautiful. And the story about the old lady was terrific! 🙂 Thanks also for checking out my blog!
Very thought provoking, Tric, and I’ve often wondered the same things…I know we, who love blogging, “talk” to many people, but I also feel that we, as people, are becoming less communicative and more isolated, due to being plugged in. It’s a toss up, really; good and bad to everything, I suppose..
I know what you mean. My husband and family are half amused and half fed up with me talking to them with a laptop on my lap. But I do think it must be of help to those who are unwell or immobile. Who knows what will be there by the time we are old and immobile!
Now begs the question….will we then be able to attend a funeral for our un’real’ friends virtually?
Oh definitely. And maybe even participate on screen. It will say how many are in the church and online!