Two stories have come up on my radar, both BBC i-player Storyville documentaries. The first is about a sweet elderly gentleman, as he is dubbed by the elderly women in the film, several of whom fall in love with him. He’s somewhere between 80 and 90 years old, this is the age requested in the newspaper advert of the detective agency looking for a mole to live in a nursing home for three months. The agency has been engaged by a woman whose mother is in the home and she believes the staff are mistreating her mother and stealing from her.
Equipped with appropriate spy cameras in his spectacles and pen, our man is on the case. Truly, he’s such a sweetheart, he makes friends with so many of the residents in his attempt to uncover what’s going on. The outcome is not as expected.
Nobody has a bad word to say about the staff but our mole uncovers something else entirely. Firstly, he discovers that an elderly woman with dementia is going around and taking things, so that’s why things were going missing. The real crime is how many residents are sad and lonely because they’re getting little or no visits from family. In the case of one woman who thinks her mother is still alive, the staff frequently arrange phone calls to her from themselves, they pretend to be her mother just to comfort her. She pleads with her ‘mother’ to come and take her home. It can’t be easy for the staff to hear her heartfelt pleas but they keep ringing, just the same.
The emotional pressure begins to take its toll on our elderly gentleman-spy who is struggling with the sadness and hurt he sees as his newfound friends talk about being abandoned by their so-called loved ones. Even the lady whose daughter complained doesn’t seem to visit her mother. As our intrepid gent reflects, perhaps her attitude towards the staff is a deflection of her own feelings of guilt concerning her mother’s situation.
The second story is that of the corruption in Romanian hospitals that was uncovered following a fire in a nightclub where 12 people died and then another 37 people who went to hospital later died. Not from burns but because the conditions were so terrible that they became infected in their wounds and died. The level of scandal and corruption that’s revealed is mind-boggling and horrific to imagine because it goes hand in hand with personal stories of people suffering or dying as a consequence. One character is a newly appointed Minister of Health who is really trying to sort out the mess and fix the problem, but the level of corruption is so deep that it’s soon clear he has no chance, and then there’s an election and he’s out of the job as all his efforts are wiped away.
The reason I’m telling you about these stories, and sorry for the spoilers, is because they touched my heart so much I was, once again, reminded that my life is a million miles away from that kind of hurt and it does me good to remember it. There are many, many people in the world who live every day with such conditions that I cannot even imagine.
All I put out about spiritual growth and love and peace and such, it just paled into insignificance for a moment there, in the sight of the everyday difficulties these people endure. I’m glad these stories came up on my radar to help remind me of who I am, how lucky I am and to be humble and remember that some people are just trying to find a way to get out of bed, put one foot in front of the other and survive.
I know that those sweet, elderly people who are in their final years are feeling lonely and abandoned because of what’s going on inside their heads and how that makes them feel and they’re doing the best they can with what they’re given. I know that those people whose bodies are disfigured and whose limbs are missing due to the fire and those that lost their children, they are also choosing whether to let that define them or not, and that’s their soul’s journey. They all have my sincere blessings and so many others whose stories I don’t know. During this life, some are dealing with the toughest conditions for what their soul needs, some are taking on massive challenges that have the potential to transform many, maybe even a nation, maybe even the world. Love and blessings to you all, whoever you are, whatever your life brings.