So, I’m sitting here with Hector (my trusty hound) on my lap – it’s a bit awkward to write but I’ll press on. I was going to write a strident piece on the need to get on with stuff and make things happen rather than just talk and then…this morning, one of my neighbours popped round to tell me that Dot had died.
To give you some context, I live in a quiet suburb where I know my neighbours to the back of my house, to each side and across the road. We’re all on first name terms, venture into each other’s houses and have got to know each other well over the years by walking our respective dogs. In fact, as news of Dot’s passing was delivered, it was swiftly followed with an update on Jack (her Jack Russell) who is settling in with her daughter’s family.
The point of the story is simple. Bill and Dot lived together in their family home, behind mine, for over 30-years. Last year Bill died, and now Dot. A familiar tale: Dot fell over, broke her hip and then it was discovered she had cancer. In less than a month she was dead.
Despite living in a friendly street with neighbours to say hello to, Dot’s last year was spent very much alone with only Jack for company. Of course her family saw her most weekends, but that still left hours of solo contemplation – time she was not used to spending alone. And it wasn’t how she wanted to live.
We would meet in our local field as the dogs played and chat about how we were both getting on. My husband died just over two years ago so we had something very personal in common. The difference between us is lifestyle. I’m not quite 50, have thrown myself into building a business and very busy meeting interesting people every week. Dot was in her 70s, with family close by but with busy lives. And we both experienced the complete lack of invites to and inclusion in others social lives – those we’d been part of when a couple.
Dot was a better cook than I will ever be, but it’s hard to bother for one. Trust me, I’ve tried most ready meals for one and it doesn’t get close to the haute cuisine Stephen served up for me. I was extremely well looked after for over 17-years and I’m really angry that I now have to think about catering…it was never my job!
The big issue is this….
Opening the front door on your return in the knowledge that there’s nobody there. You put the lights on, you prepare your meal for one, you prop up your newspaper to read and listen to the radio in the background. (Is it just me that has a radio on in every room for the company?) Mealtimes are now about refuelling, no longer the chance to catch up on what’s happened during the day.
Without Hector, perennially on guard for any titbits that may drop in his direction, evenings would be grim. So I’m sadder than you can imagine to have lost Bill and Dot in such a short timeframe. And I’m more determined than ever to build Evermore. So that people, like Dot and me, can have the hope of great food, conviviality and company when left on their own. We’re not made to be solitary.
Will you help us make Evermore a reality now?
Sara McKee, Founder & Director, Evermore