BY JANE BRIGHTMAN (and the Other One)
Having been unable to have children myself, I’ll be honest and say that Mother’s Day is always a bit tough. I usually stay off social media and try to keep busy. My husband is great and always makes sure there’s a little gift for me from our two fur babies (the hounds) and I have a special friend who never forgets to check in on me (Theresa). My mum, now in her 80s, lives quite far away so it’s usually just a FaceTime catch up for us but always lovely of course.
I always find great solace in talking to Trish and we planned a catch up on this Mother’s Day. Was it purposely done? On my behalf yes. I wanted her to know that there are people thinking of her on this day. I also, selfishly, get lots from our natters too. Today we talked about her expertise as an acclaimed estate agent, I got some great advice.
But we always do talk about AWOC issues together too. I think a lot about the AWOC work that people like Trish are doing now. I wonder how things will be when I’m older and without family? I have a strong sense that people like Trish will be leaving a legacy for people like me. Im grateful for that and keen to support where I can too. It’s important that people working in health or social care better understand the needs of people who are ageing alone. The same, perhaps more importantly, for people in government and central policy makers, they need to understand more too.
So I’m putting out an ask, on behalf of Trish and myself, for people who are interested in AWOC issues to get in touch with us. Let’s get talking more about it. Let’s make this our Mother’s Day legacy.
(The Other One (if you're wondering)
AWOC sterotyping - is a crime
by the Other One
St Botolph's Church, Skidbrooke, Lincolnshire. The most beautiful (and most haunted) Church I've seen.
The Other One: The Mothers Day Legacy? Like all of your ideas, Jane, it's bloody marvellous (grrrr…) but sometimes there's something about the word 'awoc' that is like an itch. It's in the vocabulary nowadays so we must go with it, I guess.
I'll throw it out there - does AWOC have the 'ring' to it or should we be thinking more around the childless/alone/solitary dialogue? I fear it may be just me, again, but have a think. It's a great word and for PR reasons it does the job. It's just, I've been bothering about people who are simply 'alone' or lonely. But they might not be a full awoc, if you know what I mean. I reckon AWOC is beginning to grow like Topsy in the way its umbrella is covering a wider group. Let's see how it goes.
Anyway, I digress…
Regarding the starting gun of a 'sit up and listen' to policy makers of the big four namely NHS, Social Care, Government, Local Government, let's not allow it to become a marathon. Otherwise it'll be too late for some of us. Because we are here, NOW, and we've been here for a long while.
As I'm listing potential pushers, we mustn't forget those huge bastions of mind control such as social media. Let's not forget them. Or Mr Murdoch et al, Mr Gates/Musk/Bezos and all the many other mega, multi billionaires who keep QAnon (still here?) in business with their antics (little devils). They carry a fair bit of clout. There to be used and not always easy for an elderly awoc, I can tell you. Newspapers are online. Social media is in the ether which can make it difficult to negotiate. The meetings I've missed whilst blundering about attempting to 'get on' a platform. It's a big thing of mine - using social media, the internet and all its bits. I do love it but without family it can be mighty mingin'. Pressing buttons and praying to your God for divine intervention. For I have no clue - still. Not a clue. Merely blind hope that the correct button has been pressed. As I said the other day, in the words of the late, great Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac - 'Oh Well'. Ageing, right?
And no one picked this one up. On the Apprentice Final, lovely Kathryn designed 'family, plus dog, pyjamas'. Pyjamas for the family - only. The rest of us can go to bed in our old vest or greying T shirt? (exaggeration before I get letters). This item was called 'pyjamalies'. Get it? Sod the rest. It can't have been only me who took exception? Kathryn only gave thought to 'the family'. It's subconscious discrimination in a way. But, apparently, acceptable in the childless' case. We don't matter?
We've accepted our lot. I'm going back to Mothers Day where it began to feel like a form of discrimination. Can you imagine if we were celebrating a day where only white people were lauded? Or only heterosexuals were mentioned on the celebratory cards?
But wait - only mothers or grandmothers are lauded on Mothers Day. I call that discrimination. Even Fathers have their own day. (See above - same applies).
I call it discrimination at Christmas when it's all about the 'family and let's not forget the glorious family'.
And, by the way, Easter lurks like a big, chocolate, family cavern. Someone bought me an Easter egg once. One of those small, violet decorated ones. It came from a good place, as they say on your local news channels. I remember standing there with this small, violet decorated egg in my hand trying to think of the words. Eventually 'thanks' stumbled out like an apology. Don't do it - don't buy elderly, awocs an egg like that. You feel like you should be 'live' on Agatha Christie channel. 'Elderly spinster in end cottage with obligatory roses round door likes Easter eggs with purple sugar bits stuck on'.
What d'you reckon Jane?
You might need a minute 😍😀😉
The shots of me and Lilley were taken outside a church called St Botolph's, Skidbrooke, Lincolnshire. Reputedly the most haunted church in the county, if not the land.
I will be going into more detail on that one at a later piece. It's relevant - just you wait.
Also, I realise Mother's Day is now just another day, but we have something to say about it. And that something carries through to continuing narrative. In my humble opinion.