In the years following my old man's death, I observed myself changing in a number of ways.
Similarly, since the old dear died last year, I've noticed some changes:
• I tend to be more fidgety. Though we weren't close, maybe somewhere in the back of my mind I had always retained a sense of the old dear being in control of the world. And now that she's gone, there's nobody looking after everything. The remedy for my new restlessness is either to get religious, so god can take the place of the old dear. Or I can tackle it by getting back into tai chi, or even meditation except that would only set Hotters off again.
• I tend to be more angry, aggressive, reckless, impatient. That's the downside, but the upside is I'm more spontaneous and outspoken, so maybe I'll just live with it. I think it's because I'm aware that now the old dear's died, I'm the next cab off the rank, and time's running out.
• I'm more sloppy, lackadaisical. As above (time's running out). Life's too short to try and keep on top of everything. But I feel conflicted about giving in to this - you have to be organized to make progress on things. I still fill my (smartphone) diary with things to do and people to contact, but then I never read what I've written so I never remember to do anything.
• I'm thinking more about infirmity, and slow dying vs. quick death. Though life keeps getting better in some ways, I'd still rather go in my sleep tonight, than suffer for years in pain or getting bits chopped out of me.
• I'm thinking more about younger folk, and the challenges they're likely to face in their lifetimes. Most of my generation will probably get to conk out before the worst of the future happens. I remember a couple of days before the old man died, I broke the Lockerbie news to him, but he was already beyond caring.
This photo shows the old dear in the 70s.