Joan, my special friend, mentor and surrogate mother

Yesterday I drove to the nearest big town, Wigan where I feel at home, where I attended school from age 11, trained to be a nurse, midwife and Health Visitor. Apart from 18 months working in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland in early 1980’s and 12 months in North Manchester from 1980 -2010 I worked as a Health Visitor in the Wigan & Leigh area of north west England.

In 1981 as part of my 3 month’s Supervised Practice placement I first met Joan who was one of 3 Health Visitors working at a clinic in one of the most socially deprived clinics in Wigan & Leigh district. I was always the tallest in my class at primary school featuring at the back in some group photos. Joan was taller than me and for the first time in my life I had looked up to another woman. It felt quite unusual for me. I can’t remember joan’s Height measurement at the time but we both measured on the clinic height measurement stand and I was 5 feet 8 3/4 inches. The rest is history.

More recently Joan has become housebound apart from when her family take her out. A bone infection in her foot has required the wearing of a foot splint rendering her incapable of driving. Joan has always presented as a strong, warm, independent woman and it is sad to witness her physical demise but she remains young at heart and we still share the laughter & tears. When I had my recent cold virus and unable to visit her I phoned most nights and her response to how she was was usually ‘the same, there’s no magic’.

Our family have never had pets so the time I babysat joan’s Two dogs and cat for a few nights was quite an experience. The cat was fine just coming & going for its food quite independently but the two dogs were quite a different story, however we got through.
Joan has always been there in a way that no other friend could be and I know in her later years the same has been for Joan. I realise that she will not always be here in body but remain in spirit. We will continue to meet up as long as God allows.

It seems strange my visit to Joan yesterday followed my recent finding of
a little book on friendship in a charity shop a few years ago. I photographed These quotes and pictures from the book & I apologise if there is overlap in the pics.

6 Comments

    1. Thank you Brigid. It seemed a big coincidence that I shoul find the book before my visit. The post seemed to fall into place. I will get the photos printed off and give Joan a scrapbook presentation as she doesn’t engage in i.t. I will also include some special photographs.
      Hope all is well with you Brigid 🌼

      Liked by 1 person

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