A humbling day

I have spent a bit of time with my parents recently, my dad is needing some hospital care. We had a hospital appointment, sat there waiting, my mum and dad together as ever, my mum anxious, protective and frail yet strong, and my dad stoic and gentle.

We see the specialist…my dad has to strip off, an unusual thing to be asked to do in your late 80s by an attractive woman in her 40s, so he goes behind a curtain and we lose him. He is examined and then asked to get dressed in that way that doctors have. relationships-couple-silhouette-300x239

My mum gets up and asks from our side of the curtain if he needs some help putting his socks on. I don’t know why but that bit all of a sudden makes me want to cry. I look at the doctor and say something like…” These guys are from another generation aren’t they…” , she looks moved too and nods affirmatively saying… “Yes it is very humbling, something to aspire to..”

If you are reading this and you know what I mean then you will know I am trying, badly, to describe that tenderness of care and love that you sometimes see between couples who have been together a very long time, a lifetime in fact. I think is is a topic worth exploring.

Can any of us today in our mid 50s or younger ever hope to achieve that level of tenderness in our closest relationship or has feminism, affluence, confusion of roles, lack of backbone or something else entirely put a stop to all that…..discuss….

Carolyn Lazarus

About Carolyn Lazarus

This is the author biography the late, great Carolyn Lazarus (1960-2015), founder of totally4women wrote for herself. Her words are typically self-effacing and humorous... 'Well at 50 I looked 40 and at 54 I look 99...someone explain that to me if they would. In addition I am, allegedly, a woman with little or indeed no sense of chic. Shy by nature or nurture it is difficult to say but it is what I am at heart. When I was 14 my mum bought me, “The Shy Person's Book" ...if you are a shy person this can be a difficult title to deal with every morning when you pass by your bookshelf. I like to run, nothing funny to say about this, it's just what I like to do. So that's me in a nutshell. It remains to say that I love my husband (long - suffering), my children (totally bored) and my parents (concerned).'

  • I understand what you’re trying to describe. I noticed the same thing in my own parents before my dad died last year. Mum and dad had what i would call a very traditional marriage. Mum stayed at home to look after us and dad went to work. I used to think mum was ridiculously old fashioned and perhaps ‘doing herself down’ by being a stay-at-home mum; until i tried it myself and realised what hard work it was. I started to look at mum with new eyes, seeing her as the biggest support in the family, keeping the rest of us afloat. Over the years they developed a unique non-verbel communication, whereby one could let the other know what they were thinking or feeling, often at a time when words might have spoiled the moment.
    My husband and i have been together for almost 20 years (married for 15) and no, i don’t think modern life has diminished the ability for couples to create their own ‘NVC’. I think it has made it even more necessary. My husband has said that i’d be a terrible politician because my face gives away everything i’m thinking and i’ve noticed that over the years, he has become more skilled at reading my feelings regardless of the facade i present.
    I think a couples ‘NVC’ grows out of the love they have for one another uniquely and organically. It’s not something a new-together couple can fake. It may not even be something that you yourself will notice, until your children point it out to you many years from now.

    • Thanks Karen..funnily enough spoke to mum about it and she said mainly wanted to help Dad so he didn’t take so long and waste the doctors time!!! Made me chuckle!Carolyn