Archive | 21:01

A Life Lived Fully

9 Nov

Ink drawing: my dear aunt.


I’ve been sitting with my dear aunt in her nursing home and spending the time drawing her. She mostly doesn’t recognise anyone and stares into space or dozes quietly, but now and again she’ll look directly at me, smile and give me a broad wink before slipping back into quiet isolation. It’s a hard decision to blog this drawing because I worried that it might be intrusive and maybe voyeuristic, but I aso feel strongly that we shouldn’t hide our elders away. They’ve given us everything and this generation, my aunt is in her ’80’s, fought a World War for us and then built a new society with free education, healthcare, the redbrick universities, good housing …. they didn’t want us to suffer the awful poverty they endured during their own youth and they wanted their children and grandchildren to have the opportunities they never had. And they succeeded. Big time!

We’re a society unhealthily obsessed with youth and celebrity. Well in my opinion, young skin is rather bland and uninteresting, whereas our elders glow with the beauty of a lifetime of living etched into their faces and bodies. I remember my aunt as a strong, gutsy woman who lived every day like it was her last. She inspired me and loved me. She jived to The Andrew’s Sisters at my wedding when she was well into her 70’s and boy, could she jive! And now she’s tiny and frail and quietly living through her last few days, she is still lovely and I won’t pander to our unfortunate cultural stereotypes which dictate that we only see young plasticised people and that pictures of older people must have the wrinkles Photoshopped off them! Here she is at the end of a life lived fully and she is beautiful.



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