Audrey Barker (85) accompanied us on the way to Glenelg. She shared with us her life and her family; keen as mustard she was to talk with someone and enjoy the day. We were glad to reciprocate. It made it interesting to think we struck a collective chord both on the way there and the way back.
I was impressed with Mrs. Barker's capacity, mentally and physically. She had vitality that a lot of people twenty years her junior don't have. And, I suspect, she sought us out from the far end of the Glenelg tram on the return trip to the city.
We talked about a great many things, not the least of which, the glory of life and the things to be seen, and paradoxically, the sadness of a life lived without a life partner for the past twenty-five years; yet, the legacy was effervescently precious.
She spoke with such fondness of her kids, grandkids, and great-grand kids and all their many passions, achievements and odd ways (which we all have) that made them so special. When she spoke there was a sense of time standing still.
Life for many is a lonely existence. Speaking with Mrs. Barker reminded me of the reason for our trip interstate. To spend a memorable day or three with my grandmother. Life for most elderly is an altogether lonely time. To think that the passing of a life partner with many years to run in life can bring a void to life making it a rather harsh reality.
Some would be tempted to shrink, as I'm sure Mrs. Barker had experienced. But life goes on eventually. The inspiring thing in interacting with this spritely octogenarian was she, like my Nanna, lived so much for others. Seemingly her only need was people to share her life with.
Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.