(This blog post was first published on squarepegs.overspillers.net by SusieJB and is reproduced here with the author’s kind permission)
Around about the year 2000 I needed to earn some money so I set up a little business as a home help, it was just me, I offered to do shopping, cleaning, basically anything that anyone needed doing for a few hours a week.
I received a phone call from a lady who said she had a rather strange request, she was a recluse, and wanted me to do her shopping, she would leave the money on the step, as I was to do with the shopping on my return. I told her I fully understood her situation as my son was recovering from a very similar episode.
I talked to her on the phone a lot and gradually established a very good friendship, even taking a fully cooked Christmas dinner to her doorstep.She was very intelligent, but had a very sad life losing her parents and her only brother very close together, she had been in a car crash and was very concious of some scarring on her face, she would not look in the mirror, turn on a light, or open her curtain, she had absolutely no one, not one friend.
It eventually emerged that she had a lifelong desire to move to Polperro so I encouraged her to do so, saying that we would help, even though it is quite some distance from where we live.
Eventually she found a flat to view and much to my amazement agreed that we would take her to see it. I had never met her even thoughI had been doing her shopping for getting on for three years by now, I did wonder what sort of person we would be meeting, I was I must admit rather shocked when very smartly dressed attractive lady came out to the car, if she had bad scars she did a marvellous job of hiding them.
Well to cut the story short, she did move, it seemed to transform her, she made new friends, went out of her home and started to have a life.
We have kept in touch and I have always done her online Tesco order for her, however, I have noticed over the last year or so that she has gradually started to retreat back into her shell, not wanting to see anyone.
She has sounded very unwell on the phone and has resisted all my attempts to persuade her to go to the doctors.
She phoned me on Monday her voice very slurred, she sounded very ill, I begged her to phone the doctor and she promised to phone for an ambulance at 9.30 on the Tuesday which she did.
She is in hospital now and sent me a text yesterday to tell me that she is terminally ill and has very little time to live, she won’t allow me to visit, she has absolutely no one, I doubt if I will even be informed when she dies.
I know I could force the situation, but I know her, and I know she trusts me to respect her wish to be left alone, she says she has to build a wall and that if she saw me it would break it down and she couldn’t bear that, she sent me a text saying ‘no sad farewells young Sue’
I don’t even know why I am writing this, I just need to, to appease my conscience maybe…because I now think I should have been more insistent that she saw the doctor although I do know her very well and know that would have been fruitless.
I suppose I feel it is really such a wasted life, she was such a lovely person, and it is quite heartbreaking to see someone so nice come to such a sad end.