Frustration

I just found out that one of the people I speak to each week has died.

About October they stopped answering. I thought that was strange, because we got on well. You can always tell when there is a rapport.

The charity has a procedure: after several weeks of no answers, I notify them, and they send a letter out. The wording is flowery, but it is basically asking for confirmation that they still want the calls.

Obviously somebody has been going through the client’s mail, found this letter, and got in touch to explain.

It comes with the territory, I suppose, especially as the charity specifically works with seniors. but from the conversations I have with clients, I was quite gobsmacked because I had no inkling that they were anywhere near death. I’ve had clients die before, but usually the signs are there.

It’s weird, because I phone these people up each week to say hello, have a chat and along the way to get some kind of feel for whether they are all right. It’s a bit like on here, especially when somebody doesn’t appear for a while. And if they happen to be *not* all right, tough. There’s not much I can do about it. I struggle with that.

It felt similar during our first lockdown, although that was more direct. We were asked to make “reassurance” calls. They were mainly focussed on direct needs. Have you got enough food? are you managing your anxiety ok?and so on. Again, there was a limited amount we could do, if someone said “no”. We could signpost them to services which could offer concrete assistance, but we couldn’t actually do anything ourselves. We couldn’t put fresh food on their table, say.

It’s kind-of a weird feeling. You’re helping, but… there’s a limit to what you can do. Ultimately… you’re on your own.

Author: Mister Bump UK

Designed/developed IT systems for banks, but had a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Returned to developing from home, plus do some voluntary work. Married, with a grown-up, left-home daughter.

14 thoughts on “Frustration”

  1. So sorry for the sudden loss. Having personal contact with someone, only to hear they’ve passed cannot be easy. I cannot begin to imagine your sense of loss after having been personally involved with them. God bless my friend.

    At my age, leaving this world is always at the back of my mind. The other day my wife asked me what I thought of getting burial plots. That thought was out of the blue, but made perfect sense to talk about. So, she started checking with cemeteries in our former home town in California near our kids. Then we talked about how we want our remains handled – burial or “throw me on the barbie”? I chose the barbie so she could easily take me anywhere she wanted to go, if I went first.

    My youngest brother always told me he wanted to be cremated as well. His comment was, “I’ve always wanted to travel, so when my ashes are ready, put me on a semi- tractor truck (articulated lorry) and tell the driver to take me with him until the road runs out, then pass me off to another one.” Sadly, there was a fight over his ashes between his last wife (#3), and his daughter.

    My high school alumni association puts out a column called “Loss of another classmate” to advise us of our dwindling numbers – a few of them have been close friends as well. It is a shock to suddenly see those names in print.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, the same happened on our three weekly RVS ‘books on wheels’ round. Sometimes we heard a very frail person had gone to hospital, then much to our surprise they would be back home next time. Other times someone who seemed very lively would be gone. Elderly folk often leave their door unlocked or have a key box and we would knock loudly and tiptoe politely in, fortunately we never came across any sudden deaths!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow – that’s a kick to the gut. I’m glad to read you are serving a purpose to aide others, and understand that it is limited and you do what you can. It’s still sad when a life ends. Hopefully, that person was a Christian and then they didn’t die alone. The had their faith in God.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is quite the shock sometimes. I talked to my mom’s cousin early in 2020 and he was fine, near as I knew. In fall Bob came across an obit: this cousin had died in April. You’d think the family would go through his/her phone list and give a quick call to regular connections.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t mind the death aspect so much. People die, that’s a part of life. It is frustrating because, at the end of a phone, you can only provide a tiny fraction of the help you might provide, say, in person.

      Liked by 1 person

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