I think I made mention of my grandmother some months ago, and how amazingly independent she was as she approached the age of 92. Not so anymore, her health has been failing steadily in recent months. That would already have been the case when I wrote those words (not that I'm going to search through previous posts), but wouldn't have been all that apparent at the time. Things look different, of course, in retrospect.
So whenever my mother rings me unusually early in the morning or late in the evening, I tend to brace myself for what might follow. On one occasion recently, she called around 10pm, which is pretty much unheard of: it turned out she was stuck on a crossword clue.
She rang again the other morning however, shortly after 8am. Her first words were, "don't panic," so I was half expecting something equally trivial as the example just given. It's my mother's birthday very soon though: so she asked me if I could buy a card for my grandmother to write on and give to her. Of course, I said I would do.
I breathed a sigh of relief that it was nothing serious, and then when I thought about the conversation we'd just had - as matter of fact as it was - I just felt sad. However long my grandmother has left, I tell myself, 92 is a great age to have reached. But these little indicators of her ever-diminishing health and ability strike me as incredibly poignant each and every time.