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The Elderly Man

Updated on November 9, 2012

Alone But Happy

Tick-tock, tick-tock, The antique clock on the mantelpiece.

The old man decides to switch off the television and sit for a while with only the sound of the tick-tock from the mantelpiece.

No sound of traffic passing by. His cottage is isolated and old like him. Yet that was his choice. When his dear wife died, he could have moved closer to town. Have neighbours, nearby, maybe with children and dogs and lorries and cars going by. Loud music may have been coming from anothers´home. All the normal noises of modern day life.

No. The noises of modern day life would not suit him now..., Not for him, . He preferred the peace and warmth of his little old home. Too many years of happiness were in the walls surrounding him. He could not leave. He would manage.


Tick-tock, tick-tock, What a wonderful rhythmic, peaceful sound, thought the old man.

His mind drifted back to the years with his wife, when they were young, Then, gradually as they grew older, right up to when they became elderly.. Their love had been strong.

Maybe if they´d had children? No, ´´maybe´´ is pointless. It is what it is. He loved his wife and she had loved him. They´d been happy. Tick-tock tick-tock................

The old man leaned back in his favourite chair, resting his head against one special cushion. His wife had made it and embroidered every stitch with love,. The words ´´Together Forever.´´.

He closed his eyes and could see her sweet face, realising he could so easily drift into sleep, but this is a man whose life had been filled with self discipline and order. No, he would not fall asleep, it´s after midnight, he ´d get to his bed for the night. Tick-tock tick-tock............

He leans on his walking stick to help him rise up from his favourite chair. Tick-tock, tick-tock.

One small, wrong-footing is all that it takes, he slips to the floor, knocking his head against the marble hearth, beneath the beautiful mantelpiece, where the antique clock had lived for so long and kept going on....Tick-tock, tick-tock..

He lays there and drifts to a world full of dreams. He see his wife coming towards him.

Her arms are outstretched, open so wide to greet him.

Meanwhile a small trickle of blood slides down the corner of his mouth. Tick-tock, tick-tock.

How long before anyone finds him? Tick tock, tick tock...........................

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    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      awesome read... wow the ending.. it is amazing.. He loved her so much.. oh it is wonderful

      voted up

      Debbie

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image
      Author

      Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain

      Thank you Deborah,. Hope you are well

    • duffsmom profile image

      P. Thorpe Christiansen 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      Nicely done.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image
      Author

      Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain

      Thank yu, duffsmom

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      oh, my daddy was old and frail but he had his Momma with him till the end. the proverbial clock tick tocks for each of us...so sad his life ended as it did...but perhaps all of his tick tocks were used up...great job. voted up

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image
      Author

      Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain

      Hello pstraubie48, pleased to meet you on hubpages

      Thank you very much for the comment

    • Cagsil profile image

      Cagsil 4 years ago from USA or America

      Hey Dim, you almost describe what my grandfather felt and thought after my grandmother was put into a hospice(hospital for elderly) when she suffered from dementia. She got it from a surgery she had for colon cancer. I have no clue what was going through her mind, but I know he missed her and had no way to get to her. He was powerless. I know it bothered him. Well, shortly later he passed and she did 11 months later.

      Well, that's what your hub brought back for me. I can relate. :) Voted up and interesting. :)

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image
      Author

      Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain

      Dear Cadsil,

      I´ m delighted that you could relate to my story .

      Always a great pleasure to see you on my page too.

      Thank you.

    • Feline Prophet profile image

      Feline Prophet 4 years ago from India

      Very evocative...I can actually hear the tick tock, tick tock...

    • profile image

      MDee 4 years ago

      Very nice Dim.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image
      Author

      Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain

      Thank you Feline Prophet. I love the word evocative......

      Take care

      Dim

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image
      Author

      Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain

      Thank you Micky, for stepping onto hub territory. Love you man. I´ve been enjoying your photos of ´´veterans for peace´. bycicle ride, Fantastic.

    • daisyflowrs profile image

      daisyflowrs 4 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Great hub! I felt I was there.

    • remaniki profile image

      Rema T V 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      Hi Dim,

      Great hub. Felt as though I knew both of them. So realistic. Thanks for the wonderful story. Socially shared.

      Take care

      Cheers

      Rema

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image
      Author

      Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain

      Hi Daistflowers,

      That is a compliment indeed.

      Thank you very much.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image
      Author

      Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain

      Hello remaniki,

      I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. Thank you. It gives me great pleasure that you felt it to be realistic.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Sad story, beautifully told, Dim. Getting old has its share of risks but being on one's own often is better than the alternatives. My Mom passed out at her house across the street and it was the next morning before I knew anything about it. Now she has one of those push button Life Alert necklaces. But it only works if she pushes it.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image
      Author

      Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain

      Hi PegCole17

      Thanks for commentimg-. It´s not always easy to know what is best when someone prefers their independence is it?

      I´m glad my mum has a Life Alert necklace. , now.

      My sister inlaw has something similar.

      Great to see you . Hope you are well. Take care.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker suzettetaos 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Very good story and so poignant. I actually had an aunt who died from a fall in her home - hit her head against the buffet and that was the end of her. I like the image and sound of the clock as this man's life winds down. Very effective!

    • mega1 profile image

      mega1 4 years ago

      Sorry, I don't get your message here. The elderly man, do you think he should have been living in a retirement community in town? do you think he should have had a helper live in there in the country with him? do you think it was inevitable that he died alone and that his death was a tragedy? I really think this tear-jerker hub could have had a point of view - but then, again, it is so zen the way you put it! if, however, you take the emotional stuff out and see that possibly you were selling some kind of home alert device for older people - then it is a big success, this hub. Because of your name, Dim Flaxenwick, I at first thought you were just trying to be kind of funny, but I see now you probably weren't.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image
      Author

      Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain

      hi there suzettenaples.,

      Glad you liked the atmosphere of the story.

      I think that was all I had in my had at first. Peace and quiet, just the sound of the clock.

      Thank you so much for your comment.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image
      Author

      Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain

      Dear Mega1,

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Sorry if the little story didn´t make sense to you.

      I let people interperate what I write any way they choose.

      From my own point of view I have seen much unhappiness and speedy death when elderly people have to leave familiar surroundings. In this case, the old man felt safer in his own home that his wife had shared so many years with him, death was his way of seeing her again. The fact that death is always unpleasant doesn´t change the fact we all die sometime. He would have preffered to go quickly in his own home than be surrounded by strangers.

      You don´t have to agree with me. Like I said. I like readers to see my work any way they choose.

      I thank you for taking the time to leave such an interesting comment., and am pleased to meet you here on hubpages.

    • profile image

      Vincent Moore 4 years ago

      Dim, I can't see how anyone can be be confused by this piece. It's simple to understand. Take the movie Notebook for instance, where did his heart and soul want to be? With her of course, they were both blessed to lay down and go to sleep together and wake up on the other side.

      So many lonely elderly people who live alone, also die alone. I do prefer never to end up in a hospital or hospice, if I fell and crashed my head on my hearth I would be delighted. Melancholy, depression, silence, alone are constant companions of the elderly. I know I to am hearing the Tic Toc of my own clock and the ringing in my head is constant.

      I scribe in haste before my words are taken from me for good. Peace and blessings to you my Dim. I appreciate you and your talent as a writer and kindred spirit. Hugs.

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

      Dim - excellent story and writing -- enjoyed it immensely. I'm sure every reader has a different take on each and every one of our articles -- that's the beauty of writing. Great Hub. Best/Sis

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image
      Author

      Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain

      Beautiful comment Angela .

      Thank you so much.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image
      Author

      Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain

      Dearest Vincent. Thank you so much for this comment.

      Why am I so insecure that 1 comment out of ten can make me doubt myself????

      But you put me back together again, and I do love you for that.

      Stay well, please. Hugs

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Dim, I would have been here sooner, but between the cane and the mantle I just slipped up. The clock as metaphor is so fitting in this tale of time slipping by and the love waiting is such a nice thought. Well done as always.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image
      Author

      Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain

      Thank you mckbrdsks

      Hope you have recovered from slipping . These canes don´t always behave themselves, I know.

      Love your comment. Cheers!

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 4 years ago

      Our lives are like Clocks, ticking away...Very Interesting Hub story Dim. A little Sad, as well as a very Poignant read.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image
      Author

      Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain

      Hi b,. Malin...

      Thank you for the visit and comment

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