Last week we went to the funeral of an elderly aunt. She was a feisty lady, well read and well respected. She reminded me a little of my mother. She had two sons, now in middle years, who arranged the funeral beautifully and, as a mother of two sons, it took my imagination forward to the potential moment of my own funeral, with my sons arranging the readings and music for me. This made me wonder what they would choose. It would, perhaps, be controlling of me to leave them a list …?
It is discomforting to accept that I have reached this stage of life. It means I truly have to start thinking of myself as grown up, as of an age when my own parents were getting ill and more vulnerable. I prefer, of course, to think of myself as a svelte, slightly rebellious rather pop-mad teenager but there is no way I can pretend that this is who I am these days – especially when I look in the mirror!
And moving house – when we finally get an offer on our beautiful Hampshire home – brings this all to the foreground of my attention as we have to begin to consider what life might be like for us over the next 10-20 years. A rather unsettling prospect, really. My younger son told me off the other day for talking too much about ageing and legacies (at least it’s good to think he isn’t waiting for that one!) but the reality is that as we look at houses we do absolutely have to consider our needs in the years to come. We certainly don’t want to be giving the government and estate agents the benefit of our cash in exorbitant taxes and fees by having to move again, unless we absolutely have to.
So this involves us thinking about whether we shall have dodgy hips, wobbly ankles, rheumatism or arthritis, will we go a little doollally with dementia, will the staircase be too steep for us, will it (awful thought) fit a Stannah chairlift? Is it close enough (but not too close) to children and grandchildren for us to visit them – and of course for them to reach us in an emergency?