Third Sunday in Advent.
Really courteous and polite person other end: Hello. I’m from a company called Ready for Retirement. I wondered...
Really nice person: I’m sorry?
Me: Absolutely not. The answer is no.
Nice person: I just want to ask...
Me: I’m sorry, but I don’t care what you want to ask. The name of your company is enough.
Nice person: Please don’t take any notice of the name. We’re an investment company, and over twenty years...
Me: Too late. Even if you’re offering to make me a hundred million quid. I’m not interested in retirement, never have been and probably never will be. I don’t even understand what retirement is for. My parents never retired and I don’t see why I should either. So I’m going to hang up now. I’m sorry. Good bye.
Just think. Mr Nice Person may have had lovely financial package all lined up for me in Christmas wrapping paper.
A nest egg by any other name surely smells just as sweet?
I confess, I have been a bit stuck for my post this morning.
Ever since I started blogging a few months ago, my parameters for Sundays have been as follows:
News which is happening now, not from our past.
About Bink, since that’s what the blog is about.
(And – not that this matters – with a photograph I’ve taken myself, in colour.)
It’s obvious that sooner I later I might come a cropper, setting myself these boundaries. What happens when there’s no news? Or it isn’t cheerful?
Bink entered the Priory in mid-October, about eight weeks ago. While she was on the bootcamp programme, she was embracing the challenge and getting on really well.
Since then I’ve heard almost nothing from her (always, in the past, a very bad sign) except that she couldn’t cope with transition to the new centre, felt suicidal and has been moved back to the acute ward. Where, we’ve been told, she can’t stay.
Thus, our story happens to have reached three points in the telling:
Early December 1997, when Bink was twelve and we had to assume she might be dead.
Midsummer 2006, just after the Trinity May Ball, when something happened we knew nothing about... until months later when we were picking up the pieces.
Now. When all our hopes for Bink’s future are pinned on the Priory and we don’t yet know what is unravelling or why.
Into this mix, some poor git whose computer tells him I might respond well to being asked if I want to put my feet up, rings and asks if I’m ready to give up?
Go boil your head, matey.
I realise the name of your company isn’t your fault.
But in the summer of 2008 Bink and I went on a Neuro-Lingistic Programming week together. Since when I’ve become a lot fussier about the message-in-the-motto. No way am I going to let anyone Negatively-Linguistically Programme me with any hint of a suggestion that the game is over.
Now or ever.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard Bink may not get better.
I find it interesting that in the midst of that very first crisis when she was twelve, Shaun and I faced the worst far quicker than most parents you read about in the news. Whose children go missing... whose mothers insist they know their child is alive... who go on knowing it for weeks... until a shallow grave is found and the child was dead all along.
We did none of that. Perhaps because it was so early in the story; but I suspect because, at that point, the end was out of our hands. We could do nothing. (Well, other than fill our house and garden with the national press tripping over each other...)
It was all down to the Met.
(And also perhaps, to be honest, a tiny bit because I’m a slightly contrary so-and-so and don’t like doing what’s expected of me)
So we faced the worst. We accepted it. If there was no hope, we would entrust our dearest Bink to the hands of God, and weep.
But now there is hope, and there has been ever since. And while there is – any hope at all – I will believe, and believe, and believe until there is no breath left in my body.
Advent is about waiting. Waiting may not be easy: but at least you know what to do. You hope. You go on hoping. And you never, ever, ever give up.
“Ready for retirement?”
Never, never, never, never, never.