"When my children William and Rebecca were young and hadn't yet started first school, a lovely lady in her seventies called Mary Milner would pass our house daily on her way to the bakers at the top of the road. Each day my two children would wave to Mary as she passed by and await her return; knowing full well that she would always have a bun or a biscuit for them, or some other confectionary treat.
Mary had been been widowed for around fifteen years then. By the time my children had been at school five years, Mary's mobility had left her and she became effectively housebound. Her only child, a son, lived over eighty miles away and visited her on occasional weekends whenever he could manage. Now, when my children passed her house on their way back from school, Mary would be sitting by the window. The wheel of life had turned full circle and it was now her turn to wait for them to pass by and wave to them daily.
For the next seven years before Mary Milner sadly died, I visited her daily with William and Rebecca and we brought her her daily buns and biscuits and other confectionary treats. I also tended her garden in the last seven years of her life. One day Mary introduced me to her one and only lifelong friend, a spinster in her early eighties called Miss Henretta Denton. Over the next fourteen years, Henreitta and I were to become like mother and son; a role that each of us were happy enough to fall into after my mother died.
From a few small acts of kindness shown to two young children, two beautiful adults were introduced into my life and also into the lives of my children. They each became extended family members and remained in our daily lives until the day they died.
For the elderly and unsure of foot who now live alone and have no visitors from one day to the next, one can understand why they often find it easier to stay indoors, even when good weather beckons them outside.
Do not at any age, be content to take a seat by the window and wave to the world as it passes you by. Do not sit quietly in a corner by the fireside or surrender yourself to senility and sleep away your remaining time when there is so much that can occupy and bring you pleasure, like listening to music, the radio, reading a book, tending to a house plant, talking to a household visitor or watching a television programme. Keep your curiosity alive and never stop stirring it. Don't be afraid to ask for either company or help if you need it. The fatal thing is to turn your back on life and to let life pass you by as you look at it from the solitude of your window seat. If you still have the legs, get yourself out for a little walk and get back into the practice of saying 'Hello' with your mouth instead of a wave of your hand through cold glass.
My 86 year old mother-in-law, Elizabeth, who is in the early stages of dementia and lives in a nearby nursing home also has her window seat where she observes the birds and wind in the large tree outside. My wife Sheila visits her daily and does everything possible to keep her brain active and her life as meaningful as it can be. Being riddled with arthrithis now and only able to move at a snail's pace with the aid of a walking frame, each day, whatever the weather, she looks forward to her daily walk of a few hundred meters outside the home. She loves to feel both sun and breeze on her face and the older she grows, the more she appreciates Nature and all the beauty it has to offer the observant participant. Mother Elizabeth still loves listening to classical music, talking about the old days in Hong Kong and eating her daily treat of chocolate. Her favourite trick of all however, is never to be seen without a huge smile on her face, something that ensures her neverending popularity with the nursing staff and other residents. God bless you Mary Milner and Henrietta Denton who now occupy a perfect window seat from high above. Love you Mum Elizabeth." William Forde: April 14th, 2015.