I have recently been a bit scathing about the plethora of ‘it’s all about me’ articles I’ve been foolishly reading. So, in the spirit of pure hypocrisy – here’s another one.
I was struck by the advertising for the Marie Curie charity. The radio advertisements talk about this tremendous charity providing ‘a light in the darkness’. They do. When my mother was terminally ill and wanted to die at home, we were distraught, shocked, grieving and clueless. A lady appeared one night a week – a retired nurse who worked for Marie Curie for free. She was, most definitely ‘old school’, with her upright posture and her iron grey hair in a French pleat. My very private and modest mum, shocked, agitated and ill, refused to get out of bed; she was cajoled into an armchair and given a good old-fashioned scrubbing, with a (good old-fashioned) scrubbing brush and bar of soap and a basin – and somehow appreciated being bossed around. The two ladies talked about gardening and books and their husbands and children. We grown-up daughters were called ‘you girls’ and sent to bed. In the morning we got a knock on the bedroom door and a cup of tea.
That’s enough. The calm stern presence of this lady was reassuring – and we got rest. The service was free – which was a tremendous help and a great comfort. I also appreciated greatly the support of the local NHS nurses, it should be said – who were, again, without any of them ever saying much, caring, reliable, businesslike and calming.
Marie Curie needs money. Here is their website.