What’s the focus?

First thing when I wake up, I immediately ask myself what day it is! Only then can I start the thought process of what I need to do today. Often, I need to pad out to the kitchen where I keep my “written-down” diary to be sure of the commitments of the day. These days I also (almost) duplicate those activities on my newly upgraded Samsung smartphone, just in case I forget something or, worse, somebody. And I do – despite all my memory joggers!

Our minds are strange and wonderful places, they so readily absorb and retain images and events that we would often rather forget, or at least suppress. And conversely, I have some difficulty remembering times past, even when they were good times, and I admit to being confused, often, about what has happened, what is to happen, and what I’m doing, right now. “You’d forget your head if wasn’t screwed on” is an old saying which can certainly apply to me these days.

That means that writing down even simple chores is an absolute necessity for me. Perhaps in hindsight, I suspect I’ve always needed to do it and that’s why I instinctively – when I remember – enter things months ahead in my ‘week to an opening’ paper diary. But and this is fantastic, I’ve also entered birthdays and anniversaries into the database of a calendar printing software gem which prints a month to a sheet at the start of each year, which I then paste over each page of one of those free calendars we usually get from the local chemist, etc. Strangely, the software has been discontinued and at first, I couldn’t get it to run on Windows 10 but finally I tweaked it and now I’m all ready to print it for 2021, and it will automatically add a year to everyone’s birthday and anniversary! Sadly, there is one name to be deleted from the list, but never forgotten, a friend whom I’ve known since our teenage years and at whose wedding I danced! I remember with great affection the great times I spent with Ian and his family and with him during the years he courted his Joan who has now outlived him by many years and was able to see their beautiful children happily marry and mature into lovely people, and even see her great grandchildren. Vale Joan, a life well lived.

Yes, memories are precious, and I am often brought to tears as I learn to accept that my darling wife has none. That means my memories are tinged with unutterable sadness and sometimes I am so bereft of feelings that I can hardly be motivated for anything. To see the print-out of next year’s calendar might help me, again, to come to terms with the reality of our present lives and, as many of my readers well know, sorrow is a terrible master; I try to console myself with the thoughts that there are innumerable folk ‘out there’ who shoulder burdens far greater than mine. I have been spared from coronavirus directly, but all around the world people are suffering in isolation and with illness and strife. I have no cause to be other than immensely grateful for God’s mercy to me and on all my friends and our wonderful family. So, with those thoughts in mind I wish my readers the merriest of Christmases possible and a happy and healthy New Year. Let’s focus on that!