dinsdag 30 mei 2017


Walking past our local supermarket I watch a boy approaching on his bicycle, anxiously calling for his mom. Out of breath he stops next to a lady who is busy packing her groceries into her cycle bags, and shouts: "Grandma is dead!"
The woman looks bewildered. Bystanders turn their heads, startled. The boy, ten or eleven years old, is clearly upset.
"Your grandma? That can't be. I saw her an hour ago. Grandma is dead? My god! What happened!?"
His voice falters when he claims he doesn't know. Just that dad sent him to find her and tell about grandma. Tears start to trickle down his cheeks.
She suddenly seems to realize what he is saying, and pushes the shopping trolley aside; bread, crackers and milk still in there. There is panic in her eyes as she yells to the boy that he should return home and tell his dad that she will go to the football field to pick up Matty.
I watch him leave and race across the parking lot, his left arm wiping away tears. I don't want to judge and I understand it must be the shock that caused her to react this way, but I wish she'd given her son a hug before sending him off.

birthday calendar
her name
followed by a cross

woensdag 17 mei 2017

At the gym

With the way she articulates it's a bit hard to understand everything she says, but she seems happy to talk. I hear about her husband and that he recently got a permit for disabled parking, and how they look forward to a cream tea next Sunday organised by the home care organisation. When I compliment her on how well she worked on the rowing machine just now, she tells me about the stroke she had several years ago and that her biggest regret is not being able to ride a bicycle anymore; a number of painful falls destroyed her self-confidence.
She shrugs. "My husband is 77 and I am 76", she continues, "We must accept that we cannot do all the things we want anymore". I compliment her again, and emphasize that their visit to the gym twice a week is a very good thing to do. It doesn't matter that their workout is on a low level, or that they stay only half an hour.
During the conversation her eyes brighten up for a moment or two, and I am struck to see how different she looks when she smiles.

home trainer
picturing herself
in a country lane