Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Our History In Photographs

“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” – said Ansel Adams.
That’s were Beloved took up position.

He was an excellent photographer. He had kept photograph albums of his own work from the time before we were together, a round dozen of them, which I inherited. He took many more photographs in our thirty years together, those I am keeping for now. But the early ones I filleted, sorted the pictures according to subject and, where I recognised the person, passed them on. I have only two small piles of pictures left, mostly of former colleagues, musicians all, which I am going to send to the Royal Opera House for distribution. A rather larger pile is of landscapes, cityscapes, mountains, rivers, the ancient bricks and mortar of European towns, churches, cathedrals, castles, market squares, secret passages in backwater villages, balconies overflowing with geraniums in French and Italian cobbled streets. What to do with these? I have many more in the albums I am going to keep; while I am alive they shall help to remind me of holidays we took in our time together. But what about the others? What to do with them?

I am not as good a photographer as Beloved was, I shan’t feel obliged to keep my own photos when his are so much better. But I have ancient photographs from a time before I was born, pictures of figures in formal dress, people I can no longer place, if I ever could. From my parents I inherited a boxful of loose pictures as well as three albums, the last one of which is a chaos of unrelated images which, as a child, I glued in without order, with the subjects unnamed and long forgotten. There is no one left who could help me identify them. I’d love to know who the smartly dressed lady is, elegantly  and elaborately coiffeured, in a long, flowing skirt, a white frilled high necked blouse with sleeves puffed to the elbow and from there to the wrists tightly buttoned. She is standing upright next to a chair on which, standing stiffly to attention, is a small child in a dark dress with a white pinafore, white stockings and black, shiny shoes. A boy? A girl? I vaguely remember Mum saying : this is aunt somebody, but whose aunt, hers or her mother’s?

We take hundreds of photographs which we post on social media (or not) where they will be preserved for eternity. Or at least for as long as our current form of social media exists. Since I have uploaded my pictures on to a screen I no longer stick them into albums. I had a look the other day, it says there are 6.000 of them; I sincerely hope that most of them are doubles and trebles; I surely have not taken 6.000 images? What on earth for?

Since Beloved died I have hardly taken any, fewer than I can count on the fingers of one hand: one of the German Bundesadler (Federal Eagle) in the Consulate where I applied for my new passport, one of the instructions on the inside of the Aga door how to operate the cooker, (which didn’t come out readable), a couple of spring flower beds. No more.

Some time in 2016 I treated myself to a new camera, idiot-proof the salesman said; I must have given the impression of an accomplished photographer. I still haven’t learned how to use it to its full capacity, little effort on my part leading to little progress. There must be someone who will teach me. The University of the Third Age does a photography class but I think you need to know how to handle the mechanics at the very least.

Old photographs have something so sad about them, the subjects no longer exist, they have become mere ghosts of the past, our own past, or our families' past. Gathering dust at worst, stuck in forgotten old-fashioned albums at best, they slowly fade and with them fade our memories. Here are a few lines taken from Philip Larkin’s “Lines on a Young Lady’s Photograph Album”.

But o, photography! as no art is,
Faithful and disappointing! that records
Dull days as dull, and hold-it smiles as frauds,
. . . .

How overwhelmingly persuades
That this is a real girl in a real place,
In every sense empirically true!
. . . .

Or is it just the past? Those flowers, that gate,
These misty parks and motors, lacerate
Simply by being you; you
Contract my heart by looking out of date.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Picking Up and Moving On . . .

. . . starting with a visit to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Marlowe’s play 'Dido Queen of Carthage’ which is based on Virgil’s Aeneid. It is a play of intense human passions.

Fleeing a war-torn Troy, Aeneas is a refugee seeking new roots and a new identity in Europe. Queen Dido is ready to help him when meddling Gods intervene and turn help into an all-consuming love.

The goddess Venus complains that Jupiter has been neglecting her son Aeneas, who has been lost in a storm on his way to found a new Troy in Italy. Jupiter calms the storm, allowing Aeneas to land safely on the North African coast.

Aeneas meets with other surviving Trojans who have been receiving hospitality from Dido, Queen of Carthage. When Aeneas meets Dido, she agrees to supply his ships and he tells her about the fall of Troy.

In order to keep Aeneas safe Venus sends Cupid to make Dido fall in love with Aeneas to stop him resuming the dangerous mission to Italy. Venus and Juno come together to create a storm, forcing Dido and Aeneas into a cave together. There, they declare their feelings for each other and consummate their love.

Meanwhile, preparations are made for the Trojans to depart for Italy. Dido removes the sails from the ships so that they cannot go, although Aeneas denies intending to leave. Dido announces that he will be king of Carthage and they decide to found the new Troy there instead.

Hermes informs Aeneas that he has no choice but to leave as his destiny is in Italy. Aeneas reluctantly agrees and goes to tell Dido. She is horrified and burns everything that reminds her of him. Heartbroken, Dido takes fate into her own hands and kills herself while Aeneas’ s fleet, with him on board, sails for Italy.

I enjoyed the outing very much. No matter how convenient and stress-free live streaming to local cinemas is, a live performance, on stage, in Stratford-upon-Avon, is always a special occasion. There’s nothing like the buzz you get from the collective anticipation of a theatre filled to capacity.
My friends and I have already booked tickets for a series of plays starting from January. Additional excitement will be added to the trips by spotting that we were passing a branch of my favourite supermarket in a town on the way. We stopped on the way home and I indulged in some unnecessary and excessive food shopping, mostly treats and luxuries. OK, so I added a few vegetables to my cart for virtue.

There you are, something to look forward to.

Social life is picking up. I wonder if people round here are psychic? Or perhaps I am giving off more receptive vibes? For the past few weeks I have been very aware of the fact that my loneliness is always more intense at weekends. Beloved and I made something of them and sitting at the table in solitary state, no matter how tempting the food or palatable the wine, there’s none of the warmth of two people in perfect harmony sharing a meal. So I am glad to report that I have a Sunday luncheon invitation for tomorrow! I had an invitation to supper last night and last Sunday I had two invitations: one to drinks before lunch and one to lunch, at  two different houses. I will accept every invitation coming my way even those I might have turned down previously. On two occasions recently I met with people whom I liked very much, one of them a brand new acquaintance. Perhaps I’ll write about them presently.

It looks like life might be returning. In one of my prolonged bouts of sitting on the second from bottom step of the stairs in the hall after returning home from a walk with Millie I’ve been asking myself where I think my life might be going. Who am I, now that I am alone? I never did identify myself by my relationship with other people, i.e. wife/mother/grandmother. With Beloved gone there is now nobody who depends on me and, for the time being, I do not depend on anyone either. The latter will eventually change, of course, if I am unlucky. Decrepitude comes to us all in the end. Sans Eyes, sans Teeth, sans Taste, sans Everything, as Shakespeare has it. But not yet.

Finally, the relationship with my daughter has broken down again, for good I think. She won’t say why. Marlowe has a wonderful line spoken by Aeneas to his friend and fellow Trojan about his disappearing mother, Venus:

Stay gentle Venus fly not from thy son
too cruel! why wilt thou forsake me thus?
or in these shades deceiv’st mine eyes so oft?
why talk we not together hand in hand,
and tell our griefs in more familiar terms?
But thou art gone and leav’st me here alone,
to dull the air with my discursive moan.

Strikes me it works the other way round too. Or for anyone left by someone they love. Whichever way, in life or in death.

If I come up with an answer as to how I see my remaining years go I’ll let you know. Does anyone out there ask themselves a similar question?

Monday, 16 October 2017

Back to . . . .

. . . . . . a bit of this and a bit of that.

Still spending hours reading rather than writing or doing anything else creative. Still obsessed with the news, both here and across the world. How very foolish of me to search for items on Brexit, the humanitarian catastrophes currently unfolding in the Yemen and Somalia and Myanmar’s Buddhists' genocide of the Rohingya people in Asia. Who knew Buddhists are no less cruel than adherents of any other faiths can be, given half a chance and a great enough measure of hatred of ‘the other’? And then there’s the good old USofA and that magnificent example of how a democracy works.

So why do I feel this obsession? You tell me, I have no idea. As if life weren’t miserable enough already.

Book reading is different though, I am sticking with delightfully lightweight fare. I have just finished a tale by Amor Towles, a writer new to the bookshelves. 'A Gentleman in Moscow’ covers 32 years in the life of a Russian aristocrat who has been sentenced to house arrest in a small attic in a luxury hotel in Moscow. Should he risk leaving the hotel he’d be shot. In spite of these 32 years coinciding with the most harrowing period in Russia’s recent history the story is uplifting: how to make the most of a bum deal. I enjoyed it greatly. Grand literature in the Russian classic tradition it is not but tragedy is not what I’m after.

For much of the week I am ok but weekends are hard. There’s the poetry group, the German Conversation group, there’s a bit of shopping, a chat with a friendly soul while out with Millie, tradespeople and repairmen, hedge cutters, old gardener and Kelly the cleaner, the pleasure of a meal at the pub when family old and new come for a visit, or with other pensioners for the ‘seniors’ deal’. Only Kelly and old gardener come regularly once a week and I now spend quite a bit of time chatting with them rather than letting them get on with their jobs.

I remember the time after my Dad’s death when my own Mum must have been very lonely.  She used to ring me at least once a week, usually on Sunday morning. I remember feeling impatient with her, she’d ramble on and on about nothing much. Often she’d say “If only you had stayed in Germany”. Poor Mum. Even though I flew across and stayed with her every few months, particularly during her last couple of years - leaving Beloved, my relatively new husband,  alone - she had few friends and was unable to adjust to life on her own. Poor Mum indeed. I hope I will do better.

For quite some time I have been fretting over renewing my passport. I am still a German national and will forever be one. Now, after Brexit, I am even less inclined to apply for British citizenship. On the whole, people reassure me that after all these years living here, working here, paying my taxes and having British husbands throughout (one at a time) I will not be summarily deported. But if I were I’d simply sell up and move back to Germany, although I’d prefer not to. My life has been here for so long now I’d probably find settling in Germany difficult. So, I needed to renew my passport which cannot be done by post. After Beloved’s death and completion of the necessary paperwork following on, I finally had the space and time to go to Cardiff (or Liverpool) and apply with the Honorary German Consul in either of these cities. A train journey would get me there. That is until my leg and hip turned on me. I was in perfect agony for more than two weeks and the thought of travelling by train became a nightmare. In stepped my son. “Mum, I have a few days off in October, would you like me to come over and do whatever needs doing?”  Would I? Would I? He took me to Cardiff by car and we even had enough time to spend hours in my favourite department store where we had lunch, afternoon tea and a leisurely stroll around the ladies’ clothing floor. I came away with a very smart and rather expensive jumper. It’s so long since I bought myself anything at all in the clothing line that buying this jumper (sweater?) felt like a real treat. I  really am most grateful for my son’s kind deed. And what’s more, I should have a passport within six weeks, one of those European Union passports with fingerprints and eye recognition. As soon as I have sorted myself out I shall probably do some travelling again.

I have had no further news from my daughter other than a pleasant note in reply to my email, but I am still hopeful; she’s been on holiday and may be short of time. It would be nice to be on good terms with both my children. However, as I said in the previous post, I will expect nothing and appreciate everything.

As I sit here writing, Ophelia is roaring around the house. It’s a storm now, not a hurricane, but it is quite frightening enough. My main concern is about the beech tree holding on to it’s roots. Millie and I ventured out this afternoon but not for long and no further than the field. And keeping well away from trees. The forecast is for gusts of 80 - 90 mph to continue into the night. As I am (I didn’t say WE, there’s progress!) quite a way inland from the West Wales coast perhaps the strength of the wind will be less by and by. Should I go to bed or stay up? What do people in the hurricane prone regions do? I still have electricity.

I have enjoyed writing this post; I know it’s pretty anodyne and waffly, but yes, I enjoyed it. Perhaps blogging will become a pleasure again.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Afterwards - 4th and final part

I am settling into my new life, strange though that is. I rarely cry. I am often very sad, lonely and still lost, but the raw emotion is lessening. I don’t suppose I will ever stop missing Beloved. I still speak to him, still ask what he was thinking of when he decided to leave.  Old and lonely people supposedly speak to themselves; yes, I can confirm that. I pretend it’s Millie I’m talking to but really it’s me. My conversations with myself are by no means interesting, for the most part they are questions like ‘now where did I put that key,’ or 'what did I come in here for’. So far I haven’t fallen prey to doing that in public, like a mad old woman mumbling to herself, the kind that carries a huge, shabby bag around with her. Today there was a charity concert in the Church towards the installation of loos in the annexe which included the sale of raffle tickets as well as the modest entrance fee. I paid for entrance, bought my raffle ticket and promptly forgot where I’d put it. When the raffle was held at the 'tea and cakes included’  bit in the Church hall afterwards I frantically rummaged through every single pocket asking out loud where the ticket could have disappeared to in the space of a mere hour.  My table neighbours, being understanding and forgiving, simply found that funny.

I noticed that it was dark outside at 8 pm. I dread the coming winter evenings. I’ve never felt happy during the dark months, I fear that I shall feel even more unhappy on my own this winter. Books and TV are a great help but I must try and connect more with other people. If only I were a joiner. Valley’s End has endless societies, clubs and organisations, very few of them appeal to me. I suppose I could join the more interesting ones, the wildlife and local history groups? Rejoin the gardening club? And write about them and their members? If I could get back into my slightly acid mode of writing? Would that help?

It’s very difficult to change direction midstream. It is also very difficult to change attitude. One evening not long ago I had a special supper, opened a bottle of wine, and put my feet up in front of the TV. There was a programme on I had been looking forward to all day. I sat in Beloved’s very comfortable chair, leaned back and felt strangely happy. Here was an evening which was all mine, to do with as I pleased. All evenings have been free like that for months now, why should I feel particularly happy on this particular evening? Then it came to me. I was unencumbered, not answerable to anyone, with the house exactly as I wanted it.

On two separate occasions recently I had had family staying. My son had come to help out, drive me places, assist with various tasks around the house, none very arduous but necessary. He had brought his wife along. Those two tend to spread themselves and their belongings, leaving things out overnight and carrying on the next day where they left off the evening before. Their conversation is very limited. They are Seventh-day Adventists whose world revolves around their Church, almost to the exclusion of all else.

None of that is blame-worthy. True, I don’t share their beliefs, but we all have our own way of getting through life.

I have mentioned here before that my daughter and I have been estranged for many years. We exchange birthday and Christmas cards which has been the sum total of our contact. I felt I needed to send her an email asking whether she wanted to be involved in what is called my ‘end of life’ arrangements. I also wanted to ask her the Big Question, would she be willing to help me to achieve a dignified end if the need arose. One can ask these questions and make these arrangements when there is no immediate need, when one is fit mentally and physically. I am now on my own, without any close confidante or family, no friends I would wish to burden with undue responsibilities.

I had assumed that my daughter would reply yes or no, and that further contact would continue by email. But no, she wrote to say that she would come and we could discuss things in person. I was very pleased if a little apprehensive.

In the event the visit went reasonably well;  my daughter spent a lot of time recalling the many hurts she had received during her childhood as well as her marriage to her previous husband. I hope it helped, it is always good to clear the air and dispose of burdens and grievances one has carried around for years. I hope that future contact will gradually improve; we have actually exchanged very friendly and chatty emails.

But, and here I get back to my strangely happy evening: neither visit had been emotionally uplifting for me. There had been some stress involved, even if only because of my slight OCD tendency on the one hand and apprehension about possible points of friction on the other. Perhaps I was asking too much, perhaps I was wishing for genuine warmth, less of the dutiful attitude, more of the “you’re not such a bad old stick, we like doing things for you now that we’re the do-ers and you’re the being done-to”.

Howsoever that may be, I realise that my attitude all-round will have to change, from grumpiness at not getting what I had hoped for to expecting nothing, accepting gracefully what is given and otherwise enjoying my freedom, my independence and the years ahead.

Wise words, here’s hoping I will turn them into deeds. And that there will be more of those strangely happy evenings.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Afterwards Part 3

"Looking at it logically, there’s no doubt that I’ll go before you," he said whenever the conversation turned to old age and shuffling off the mortal coil. “All things being equal, of course.”

Not the kind of equality I was looking forward to. You look at these things from a distance using the same comfortable specs that will eventually take you through every difficult patch, when you can see an end to whatever problem happens to bar the road. Intellectually you know it has to happen sooner or later, but ‘nah, not to us’, ostrich-like. (I do believe that’s a myth, ostriches do not stick their heads into the sand).

I am still counting the weeks since it happened. Still thinking ‘I wonder if there was anything we/I didn’t do / could have done that would have put off the evil day?' The simple fact is that it was his time.

His time, not mine. Not mine, so now I feel guilty for having outlasted Beloved. I feel guilty for surviving, for surviving and not crashing, for surviving and not lying shattered in a heap, wailing and broken; surviving and functioning, quite well, on the face of it. How shallow does that make me? Why am I not destroyed? I have no idea if guilt is part of the grieving process, like anger and denial,  - I won’t be going back to the websites that would enlighten me. But guilt is a frequent yet vague visitor, unacknowledged, not dragged into the light of day to look at dispassionately. It’s almost as if I need to feel this guilt.

Could that be the reason why I now have habits that were Beloved’s habits, never mine? We have a small paring knife. It was his favourite and an absolute no-no for me. "The handle too small, the blade too short, I simply cannot get on with it”. Now it’s my favourite kitchen knife, I rummage in the drawer for it. Beloved and I both had muesli for breakfast, he with banana pennies, me without. He invariably offered me half his banana, I invariably turned it down. “You know I don’t like bananas”, I’d say, irritably. Guess what’s on my bowl of muesli now? Every morning? And who gets a large chunk of the banana? Beloved’s favourite chair was one of those large semi recliners. I always complained that it was bad for his posture, that he should at least keep it upright. Now this large, rather comfortable, dark green leather chair embraces me for TV watching and reading. Yes, I do make it lean back and often fall asleep in it for a spell. Oh yes, I also wear his summer anorak, although it’s rather baggy on me. And, no doubt, some of his better shirts left in the wardrobe will come in handy for me.

It’s a way of keeping him alive.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Afterwards Part 2

You walk into the sitting room and your husband is lying on the floor. He is conscious but unable to get himself up; the first thing you do is fetch a pillow to place under his head and a blanket to cover him, then you call an ambulance. The paramedics arrive, switch on their monitors, get him upright, check him over. “We have to take him in”, they say. The last you see of him is the scared and confused look on his face as the gurney is wheeled out of your sitting room. It’s an image which is as clear today as it was then.

It is also the last time he is in his own home. The last day of normal life. For both of you.
That evil day now lies eight months in the past. Afterwards is truly here.

In her book “The Year of Magical Thinking” (one of the best non-fiction books ever written) Joan Didion says ‘Until now I had been able only to grieve, not mourn’. I hadn’t thought of it before, but it’s perfectly true and eminently logical: the two processes are entirely different. Grief happens to you, mourning is something you do. ‘Mourning, the act of dealing with grief, requires attention.’

I have been doing my very best to avoid ‘giving attention’ to grief, and thus mourn, by reading obsessively, often rubbish and light weight stuff, watching hours of meaningless TV, staring into space without focus, sleeping and/or dozing, with or without artificial aids, buying and drinking wine - the latter in moderation, it doesn’t take a lot before I feel sick - and eating chocolate.

Reading still figures high on my to-do list - that is if I had a to-do list - but I have turned to more satisfactory nourishment. (see my new ‘books I have read and enjoyed’ in the right hand margin). I am more selective in my TV watching too, choosing movies over sitcoms. At present I am working my way through the Tolkien range; enjoying the splendid special effects, magnificent landscapes and epic battles. Sometimes I find myself grinning at the plot, what little there is of it, and the grandiose dialogue. I also search out romcoms, a genre Beloved  and I simply never considered before.

I have been told to pursue anything that gives me pleasure by a professional who deals with people in distress. Now I ask myself how long can I go on doing this before the whole edifice of avoidance crashes down on me? Can one avoid mourning altogether? Will it catch up with me sooner or later?

I went to see my heart specialist for my annual check-up; he found me in perfect good heart health - amazingly - so we spent my allotted time comparing notes. He is a Dutchman, working in the NHS temporarily and we wondered how long before the dread hand of the Brexiteers comes knocking on our doors, showing us the way out. In his opinion mourning intensifies with time; by the end of the first year it is at its most acute. In particular the first anniversaries of any special days, like birthdays and Christmas. Wouldn’t these days have to have been special throughout your time together? We were always very restrained when it comes to special celebrations.

There is, however, something to celebrate: I have finally had the cataract in my seeing eye removed. For the last two years of Beloved’s life, while my time was taken up with increasingly needing to be his carer, my eyesight gradually deteriorated until the ophthalmologist pointed out that my driving days were over. In fact, had I been caught during my daily visits to the Nursing Home, the DVLA (Driver and Licensing Vehicle Agency) would have taken my licence away and I might have faced prosecution. The eye is healing nicely, my sight is restored and I am looking forward to going under the knife with the other, little-or-non-seeing-eye. A bit more light could make a difference there too, I am told. The operation was the most expensive half hour of my life but, had I chosen NHS treatment, I would have had to wait for up to nine months. Living where I do, being unable to drive is just not an option.

Every time I go out to the shops I practice reading number plates from a distance of 20.5 m. When out walking Millie I put down my cane at a spot I imagine to be 20.5 m away from a stationary vehicle and pace towards it. I am always highly delighted when I find that I’ve covered more than the requisite distance. A great improvement !

Guess what was the first thing I did when I realised that my ability to read had improved also? I ordered three books, real paper, printed, hold in your hand and turn pages books! For more than two years I could only read digitally! I still need reading glasses, but so what? Kindles will still be part of my life, but so will books again from now on.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Afterwards - Part 1

After Beloved.

Everything is afterwards now.
There was an old lady's funeral in Valley’s End today; I had planned to go, was determined to go; she had been a friend of sorts and I thought I should pay my respects to her and her husband and family. Also, it would have meant joining a throng of villagers for the funeral tea afterwards, chatting, mingling, getting back into village life, rather than clinging for succour to the few friends I have. So, all things considered, surely a good plan?

I didn’t go. Sitting over my solitary lunch - the funeral was at 2.30 in the afternoon - I felt bad. I knew I wasn’t going to go, no matter how urgently I pressed myself to do so. When I finally hit upon the solution I felt great relief. 'I’ll say, I just couldn’t face it’, I told myself, ‘it’s too soon after Beloved’s death’. ‘I shall break down in tears’. That would do for an excuse I thought. ‘Nobody can expect me to attend.’ That’s what I came up with, and all that after I had promised myself that, from now on, I would never feel obliged to lie again for appearances’ sake. Without Beloved’s polite good manners to rein me in I can say what I feel. Not giving offence, hopefully, but not giving much of a damn either. As my good friend Andrew says: ‘It’s brilliant to mature beyond giving a damn’. "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat which doesn’t go . . . .” Jenny Joseph’s ‘Warning' may only seem to concern itself with outward appearance but look a little deeper and she’s telling you to take yourself and your disapproval on a running jump from a short plank.

It’s frequently like that: I have every intention of coming out of my cave, blinking in the sudden light of day, joining others, accepting that life goes on. The other day I bought an expensive concert ticket. Some friends were going to take me and it would have been a pleasant evening. I let the ticket go using a dicky tummy for an excuse. True, I had had some rumblings and frequent loo visits during the day but I was feeling much better come evening. “Such a pity you had to miss the concert,” my friends said afterwards, “you missed a real treat.” Of course life goes on, I am here, am I not? At first I didn’t care to survive, alone, friendless, lacking family, lacking purpose. (There’s some self pity in there. ) Now I do. In fact I have made a decision: I want to survive for years yet, becoming a sharp-witted and sharp-tongued old woman. When I told a couple of friends on separate occasions, both said “Well, you shouldn’t find that difficult, you haven’t far to go to reach your goal.” How lucky I am to have friends who feel able to make that sort of comment, don’t you agree?

The wretched problem is that the recently bereaved become vulnerable, naked; being visible draws attention to that state of insecurity. It’s almost as if you have to take baby steps before you can walk out into the world again with any kind of self assurance. And the lack of focus on something other than grief, the lack of purpose that can fill the mostly empty days make survival questionable. I can’t even say that Beloved died too soon or unexpectedly, although the end did come rather suddenly. He was old and very ill and his mind had begun to wander. But grief does not depend on justification, it just sits there, like the elephant in the room, taking up all your breathing space.

Although Simone de Beauvoir was not speaking about grief when she wrote in her study on the ageing process: "the paradox of our time is that the aged enjoy better health than they used to and that they remain “young” longer. This makes their idleness all the harder to bear. Those who live on must be given some reason for living: mere survival is worse than death.” The survivor had better rediscover that life is for living.