In December 2013 I posted about someone I called Maisie, an old friend of my late mother's, and a couple of months later posted briefly about her again, because she was and is such an inspiration. I went to see her today, after a phone call during which she told me she had decided to go into a home. This was her decision, made realistically and thinking about the weight of responsibility resting on her only surviving son, who is himself in his seventies and lives a couple of hours' drive away. Maisie's health has deteriorated from what was already not a great state: her eyesight is worse, her joints more painful, her mobility more restricted, and her dependence on others greater. A few months ago, having to get up to go to the bathroom in the night, she had a disastrous fall. I found her a few days later in hospital, with a very dramatic purple bruise down all one side of her face. She was sitting in an armchair by her bed, as positive and chatty as ever, but I think that episode has set her back, and she has now come to the conclusion that she needs round-the-clock care. It's a big step for her, but she says now the decision is made she can't wait - not because she wants to leave her home, but because she wants to be less of a worry for her family and friends. Today she said philosophically, 'Wherever I end up, I'll make the best of it.' And I am certain she will.
Last month Maisie celebrated her 98th birthday. We had a tea party in her house and so many people came there was barely room to move! Today I took her some photos of the day - printed on A4 so she had a better chance of seeing them. Here's one of them, catching her mid-laugh. She was holding a neighbour's baby, and I whispered, 'Maisie, you didn't even tell us you were pregnant!'