Friday, 17 January 2014

Facing the end - alone!

"Things aren't going to well for Wim at the moment". With this statement my husband came inside after his morning walk. One of our elderly neighbours a few doors down is dying. He lives alone since his wife died about 6 years ago. Daily he is assisted by visits from nursing staff to administer medication, helping hands to shower and dress, meals on wheels and a nephew who calls in each day to 'check' on him. Weekly a stepdaughter cleans the house, does his laundry and also provides some meals and snacks. Shopping is done for him in that he does need some household titbits, as the man himself is no longer capable of these tasks.

If you add a select few people who pop in from time to time one would say, 'well he certainly has a group of people around him, he doesn't fall into the category lonely elderly'. And on the surface you may be right. But in reality this man is as lonely as if he was alone on the planet.

His nature, his manner, his look on life has not made him loved amongst those who know him. It pains me, thinking about him alone in that house. Despite the 'pop ins'  this man is alone. And I know it and all those that pop in know it! To get a bit of a picture- think how Scrooge is portrayed. Not a pretty picture is it? And I am SO struggling with this. I find it hard to feel compassion- yet I do feel a sense of sadness.

My faith, my up bringing, my 'care gene' which I find almost impossible to switch off struggles with my lack of compassion for this man- feeling sorry just doesn't cut it! Why am I finding it so hard? Why can't I put all that aside?

When I did visit with an elderly neighbour, all we got for a full 15 minutes was - " well about time you came to see me. I thought more of you" - etc etc! I almost got up and left. He had been housebound for all of 3 days at that point.

Those around him were surprised he saw the dawn of 2014. We never thought he would 'last'  this long. Someone even uttered that ' he is even too mean to die'. I am ashamed, saddened and upset.

"What do you mean, things aren't going well?" I asked my husband. "Well, he fell twice this morning, he can't hardly walk anymore, he can't keep his food down, even sitting hurts, he has severely bruised his ribs so breathing hurts. I was a bit hard on him and told him that it was really time he thought about going into care- maybe a hospice. The situation can't go on like this. I even told him it wasn't fair to those few who tried to make life a little easier for him. Those that do come aren't capable of the kind of care you need Wim".

My heart ached for this man- I think he is scared- not to mean to die but scared of letting go of life. He isn't a believer- when he dies - everything stops, it is all over. How sad- how totally and miserably sad. Please pray for Wim.


  1. Sad indeed, but also glad that he has good neighbors like you and Leen! Please, continue to visit him, and we will pray for courage and patience for you! Tell him God loves him!

    1. Your encouraging words help..thank you!

    2. So sad! This is happening to too many of the elderly. Heart breaking!

    3. Anonymous: there are definitely lonely people out there who would LOVE to be surrounded by loved ones, people who care and are left to their own devices. This person pushes everyone away with his brusque, harsh and unfriendly manner- makes impromptu and cheery caring for him harder. That is my struggle. To overcome my own struggle with his personality and go to visit because I want to, not because I feel obliged to.....