He was in his mid-eighties and had spent most of his life surrounded by people. Introverted, he depended on himself for almost everything. He was kind, but distant, even with those he loved, and never, intentionally, did harm to anybody.  His loyalty was to his wife and then his family and he was an unfailing gentleman. Although he was 80 something, he was fit and sprightly, although a little underfed and thin.

She was a martinet and some years younger than him. A teacher with a Masters degree in Mathematics, she was used to getting her own way and being held in awe by others. She was, also, a mistress of manipulation and was quite prepared to use underhand methods to get her own way.

The two of them were direct opposites, she had hypertension while he had low blood pressure. She did not smoke but drank regularly – never to excess. He smoked to the age of 76 and then stopped – she only noticed a year later! She suffered from osteoporosis but insisted on walking everywhere and regularly fractured her bones.

The point of this story is that he was born on a farm, left it when he was fourteen and never got back to farming until he was 60. He loved the land and open spaces and wanted to live out his life on his farm. She arrived on the farm following the death of her first husband and proceeded to hunt and catch her prey. With her history of hypertension (a quadruple by-pass) and osteoporosis, she independently bought a cottage in a local Retirement Village in the nearest town. This was battle joined.

As I have already said, she was a master manipulator, but he was a grumpy old man, stuck in his ways and determined to stay on the farm. She tried every trick in the book, then developed new ones which she then added to the volume. All this to no end. He refused to even visit the cottage, suffered every trial sent his way and retired into himself.

Eventually, she tried to take control of his money by having him declared incapable. This was another false errand as she could not convince his children to agree with her. The effort put in both on attack and defense was inspiring to watch but relentless in its endeavour. The end came when he was 89. He suffered a stroke, was admitted to hospital and suffered a second which brought the whole painful saga to a close.

He died on the farm, or almost there as when taken on his final trip to a hospital he was unconscious and he never regained co0nsciousness and, within 72h of his death, she had moved into her cottage where she saw out the rest of her days.

I hope such pain and resentment is never visited on you and that you live for as long as you want, in surroundings you find both pleasant and comfortable and with people you value and who value you.

Life is, quite simply, too short for such happenings.