What’s Really Going On In Their Life?

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One of my indulgences in life is not to have a personal trainer, a dietitian or haircuts every six weeks, but to once a year, employ an accountant. Not quite so glamorous and perhaps not quite what you were expecting, but I’m nothing if not practical. My justification of this ‘indulgence’ is simply based on the fact that I don’t have Sky Tv or Netflix, go for regular massages, manicures, pedicures or any other types of cures.

You see, I feel no shame in not spending six hours of my sodding life trying to fill out a sodding tax form that I don’t sodding like, don’t understand, is badly worded and each and every times results in tears, tantrums, a minimum of two phone calls to the bank and four phone calls to the tax office helpline which takes, oh yes, a minimum of 20 minutes to get through before you can actually speak to an actual human being.

(And breathe) …… I’m sure you understand.

The last time I did a tax return, I finally had to beg the unfortunate man to stay on the phone whilst he and I filled out the last four pages of the form together which probably accounts for why it takes 20 minutes to get through to a person in the first place … because of people like me, but I’m guessing therefore that I’m not alone in doing this.

So now I have the lovely James. The lovely blue-eyed, twinkly-eyed James, whom, with his wife, has the perfect set-up of a life together in a beautiful riverside village not far from London where in their garden beside the swimming pool is a little cream painted wooden office where their employees come in each morning and presumably James and his wife simply tumble out of bed and head through the garden to their little office, via the pool, clutching a hopefully not too soggy piece of toast and begin their day. It’s all rather idyllic in my mind, and frankly as James always looks rather chirpy, I’m guessing I’m not too far off the mark.

So, suffice to say for the last few years James has been doing all the hard work for me and I now simply telephone him with the figures, send him a cheque and he does the rest. The result, I don’t have to battle with the tax office, make endless phone calls, cry, behave like a brat, and James does it in a nanosecond, happily receives my cheque and then goes for a lovely swim in his beautiful pool. Win, win I’d say.

With my various anxiety issues (yawn) I still intensely dislike making telephone calls and naturally therefore procrastinate telephoning even the lovely James, but this year we were getting dangerously close to the deadline so needs must, and I thought happy thoughts and dialled his number.

Now usually once I’ve bitten the bullet and made a call, I wonder what all my fuss was about and berate myself for having procrastinated, but this time James was offhand and cold. I’d even go so far as to say verging on rude. I was upset. I was irritated. I only want kind, gentle people in my life otherwise my demons (aka Betty) start paying me a visit, and she is not the sort of visitor anyone wants knocking on their door.

I therefore, being overly sensitive, took James’ coldness to heart and then somewhat predictably to the absolute extreme, as is my default setting, and vowed that next year if I was going to pay someone to help with the finances I’d darn well pay someone who was going to be gentle, friendly, ask me how my day was and generally smooth my naturally ruffled feathers, (clearly no doubt that I really can be quite the spoilt princess) rather than someone leaving me feeling more anxious than usual and as though I had done something wrong, upset him, not asked him enough about his wife …. “Manners maketh man James” I wanted to remind him. I’m glad I didn’t.

I received an email a month later. James was dead.

Apparently only a few days prior to my speaking to him, he had been diagnosed with a brutal type of cancer, had a couple of weeks later gone in for surgery, and a few days following that, died from septicaemia.

I am ashamed to admit that at the age of 48 I still hadn’t learned to put aside my own self-obsessed thoughts and instead think and ask if he, James, was ok during that strange and final telephone call, rather than to focus, yet again on myself, my own feelings and me. Yes, me, me, me. I’m so, so sorry that I never stopped to think for a moment and ask.

We just never know what someone else is truly going through, do we?

Sleep well my twinkly, blue-eyed friend.

Katie xx

31 thoughts on “What’s Really Going On In Their Life?”

  1. Wow. That ending was a shocker. A wonderful post as always Katie.

    Susan gets in such a tizzy about her tax return as well but keeps resisting the suggestion of using an accountant as she is too much of a scrooge to pay for one!

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    1. Ha! I am really a complete Scrooge, but I figured that I would rather pay someone (equivalent to a days pay) than spend a day of my pulling out my hair and generally being unbearable to everyone around me! Strangely everyone agreed with my decision somewhat vehemently! Funny that!

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      1. I agree and it sounds like a job for Bletchley Park …. I think it must be a combination of genetics and something that we’re eating, drinking or breathing in. Both my parents had it and everyone I know has someone close to them affected by it. Horrendous disease. Sorry to be glum 😘

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    1. Sorry … it really rather threw me when it happened. It taught me a bit of a lesson. Life is darn cruel – he was one of the good people. My mother used to say, “Whoever told you life was fair?” Good point I say rather sadly. X

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  2. Yes there is a moral there. My mum has cancer but she still can’t understand why some people are not always cheerful. I say to her..they may be ill or just have had bad news. Who knows. Take care with opinions. I am an accountant so tax returns pure joy!!! 🙂

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    1. Yes there was a real lesson there … I hope you mum is doing ok? As for tax returns …. arghhhh! You must be both clever and have the patience of a saint. I could learn a lot from you! 😘

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      1. The brain isn’t too bad actually. I have stopped accounting work now. Many changes and it was never the career I dreamed of in a million years. I wanted to do something in art or history. So really now I am seeking my chance to do what I love. Equally though your accountant friend should have told his clients about his health. I am very up front with mine and have some long standing friends who were clients. I even married one of my clients!

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      2. Art and history, now those I can relate to! I’d have liked to have been encouraged more as a child, but sadly was fairly clueless and tricky. It sounds as though you’re really fulfilling your dreams and potential. This is wonderful!

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      3. My parents have zero schooling help and still I am a bit bitter today. When I had my husband’s two teenagers for a few years at 13 and 14 even with a polish income I managed to get them into good London grammar and technical colleges. It was hard work supporting them from working long hours to homework and emotional..especially as I was the step mother. They are both doing well and Emma is at LUC studying languages and Paul doing A Levels.
        Me I love just..mainly European modern up to 1700 and obviously French history !

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      4. I meant parents gave me zero school help . They themselves got a lot of support from their parents. Probably generation thing. Nana prob knew education important where as for mum and Dad the post war was easy come easy go. They got fantastic education’s but were ungrateful. It’s bugged me all my life and I am glad my friends really put the effort in for their children and it’s not been easy for some of them.

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      5. I do think that if everything is handed to one on a plate it’s never as appreciated as much. I can see why you’d feel bitter – I don’t blame you, I would too.

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      6. Sorry for the delay in replying, I’ve been poorly … so dull! But my goodness, you clearly did a fantastic job with your husband’s children… it’s seriously hard work with children, but more so with stepchildren. I find it incredibly difficult. I wish I was more tolerant … I try, but often fail.

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      7. It’s sounds harsh but no I don’t think so in the same way you would expect. Shame but that’s why relationships should be a whole life issue not just when one person needs another. Some things in life can’t be switched on and off as you please. Nurturing relationships takes empathy and intelligence and often sadly it wasn’t always that way. But I am here and doing my bit to help.

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  3. Yes parting from someone whom you respect certainly is a painful experience. I lost my father to cancer few years ago and it still weighs me down emotionally sometimes thinking what could I have done in the past. A wonderful post indeed! Thanks for sharing ☺️

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    1. Thanks very much. I’m so sorry about your father … my goodness life is tough sometimes isn’t it. Sorry for delay in replying … I’ve been poorly, so boring. I often think about my parents and I feel guilt that I didn’t do more.

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      1. No need to apologize, I too am quite inconsistent when it comes to my blog. Thanks for your concern I still feel my dad’s guiding hand on my shoulder. Don’t feel guilty while thinking about your parents, instead have a will to carry yourself in a way that makes them proud. ☺️

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