Crazy-making – why the world seems mad

Crazy-making life

Acknowledgement of country

Crazy-making seems to describe my world. Nothing goes the way I expected it would as I aged. Ageing-in-place seemed a delicious idea in theory. But for this eighty-six year old, life-events are confronting.

I thought that I’d be peaceful and gentle. And I also thought a rocking-chair and some knitting would feature in my life. Being respected, even revered in old age felt possible.

What I saw in the lives of my grandmothers fed into the myths I’d absorbed about old age. They were old at sixty. By now I expected I’d be well out of the mainstream, content, even happy with my lot.

Instead, I’m challenged by a maelstrom of activity and decision-making related to legal and financial issues.

In July last year, my second husband of sixteen years decided, with the help of his children, to leave me and make a better life for himself beside the sea at Busselton in the South West.

He is 87 years old!

The Australian Government had recognised me as his full-time carer. He’d been classified as eligible for a place in a nursing home, although he chose ‘to live at home with the care of his wife’.

As his carer, I was, in the words of Anna Funder in Wifedom, ‘overworked and neglected’. Do not believe that other myth, the one that says it’s as easy to cook, wash, clean, shop and do laundry for two as it is for one, even when the other person is well and healthy.

Thank goodness, my own health has improved in the last few months, although my life is still busy, but differently.

Bizarre week

Here are some examples of my mad life in the context of last week during a heatwave that debilitated me.

  • I need to make an interim will and contact a lawyer recommended by my family lawyer. The receptionist tells me that, because I’m over 80, I must produce evidence from a doctor that I’m competent! Very discriminatory and ageist in 2024! As if I have nothing better to do. My general practitioner is appalled but writes a letter anyway.
  • The will-making firm requires me to fill in and post to them a nine-page questionnaire. It must include photocopies of my intimate financial information, which I dutifully download and print. The job takes hours.
  • I post the information by Express Post from the Subiaco Post Office in plenty of time to reach its destination. Somehow, the package is lost in transit along a five kilometre direct route. Using the tracking number for the package, I track the mail and discover it’s been redirected to a country town three hundred kilometres away. It arrives at its destination address a week late. Crazy-making stuff.
  • Meanwhile, I’m directed to remake the documents and take them to the lawyer on the day of my appointment.
  • When I get home after an hour and a half in her office, she calls to say that she has a conflict and cannot act for me! A week of my life spent running around for nothing! Competence?

More crazy-making stuff

  • I buy a dress online, a silly thing to do as I’m not a good online shopper. It doesn’t come immediately, but my credit card is hacked. I cancel the card, and wait without access to my money for a week.
  • Payment for one of my blog-related apps falls due, and I cannot pay with my new card because somehow access has been blocked. ‘Maybe I should give up on my blog,’ I think. But I enjoy it, and it helps to keep me sane. I message the supplier and get two responses. One says they will immediately close my account. The other seems more helpful. I persevere. For four days. Eight emails. Four different technicians all giving different advice. In the end, someone thinks to give me a temporary pin number to access the blocked account. Bingo! I’m back in business as a blogger.
  • The dress arrives. It’s polyester, and I expected linen. It’s badly made. But I like the colour and quickly whip out my sewing machine and make a skirt I love. Bingo again! More proof of competence.

My neck hurts, and the physiotherapist tells me I need to manage my stress better. Welcome to my crazy-making world.

‘Right,’ I say. ‘Suggestions?’

One way out?

I’m meditating. Quiet, peaceful.

A delicious thought pops into my mind and I follow it. I can give up and submit myself to an aged care facility somewhere. I’d have a room that I’d keep neat and tidy. Get everyone else to do the worrying. Let myself be taken care of. Give up.

Fortunately, I remember that I’m lucky to be able to deal with what’s important. Change and transitions happen all the time. They’re often uncomfortable. I tell myself this, too, will pass.

I remember, also, that I’m well supported by loving family, siblings and caring friends. One day, things will resolve. By then it may be winter, and I’ll keep warm and get back to my knitting. But right now, I’m determined to keep all my balls in the air.

keeping balls in the air

I’ve got a couple of holiday trips planned for later this year. A writing course to complete. Children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to love and play with, including a new great-grand child due mid this year.

In the meantime, thank you everyone for your love, care and support. And thank you for letting me do as much as I can. Keeping me and my brain active will help me to stay competent.

Remembering snow
signature and copyright


  1. Dear Maureen, I take my hat off to you, managing so many balls in the air. I hear your heart. Hopefully there is a measure of consolation in that your stories along the way, in your blog, are inspiring: you always see the diamonds. Like my grandmother used to say to me and inscribed in my childhood autograph book: Every cloud has a silver lining. I therefore turn my clouds about and always wear them inside out. Much love.

    1. Thank you dear Susan. I almost enjoy the idea of juggling, and loved the picture I found of the scowling juggler. I once learned to juggle, and could manage three balls at once. It felt like quite an achievement, but this is more than that. I love ypour grandmother’s quote about the silver linings. What a delicious image it is to turn clouds about abnd wear them inside out. I guess that’s sort of what writing, even in small snatches, helps me to do. I’m blessed to have support and encouragement. Thank you.

  2. Oh Maureen
    What a wonderful blog to describe your awful, challenging but ultimately rewarding, chaotic, mind boggling time you have just been through. And yet, through it all, you wrestle and climb over every hurdle in your way. What a legend Maureen Helen! I really take my hat of to you. I have always said Maureen, that you are such an inspiration in resilience. You blog, like your book, ‘Other People’s Country’ was riveting. As I was reading my jaw dropped, and asked myself , ‘could this get any worse!’
    o could
    I know no-one who could have all those challenges and tell the story so well.
    Thanks for sharing Maureen – a gem of a blog post to read! Loved it and am in awe of your steel resilience and your cheerful demeanour – Hugs to you girl

    1. Oh, dear Tricia. I’m not sure I have much of choice but to climb over the obstacles as they rise up and block my way. I keep hoping that one day I’ll ‘be back to normal’ whatever normal may look like in the future. Not sure it’s resilience. In fact, I think my father, God bless him, would have called my attitude ‘sheer bloody-mindedness’. I guess one of the major problems is that I’m too afraid to just lie down and let it all happen.

      Thank you for your loving concern, and the support you provide. Also, I’m delighted you still read my blogs! Thanks.

  3. Your tenacity is inspiring, so glad that your health has improved. Maybe make your temporary will on a will kit form, from the Post Office, until you can find a more “friendly” solicitor once other things have been dealt with. We did that & it was done quietly at home, witnessed by neighbours & all legal & uncomplicated. I know that you won’t drop any balls in the process as you negotiate the legal & financial maze. Warmest thoughts, M F.❤️

    1. Thank you for your sensible solution, Maureen. I will look into that. The whole lot seems fraught with problems. I really appreciate your support. Thank you for that, also.

  4. There was a mention on ABC 7-20, Nadia’s programme today re wills. The advice was that you can get an uncomplicated will for about$200. DiY wills done correctly are usually okay. But get a more complicated will as soon as you can.Get some recommendations from trusted friends.We didn’t have to fill in a 9 page form or supply our full financial history. Seems rather extreme as it’s your will & nothing to do with anyone else as long as all legal requirements have been complied with.❤️

    1. Hi, Maureen. That is very helpful. I thought it was over the top to have to prove my competence and to have to fill in forms and supply a financial history. But making a will is something no one does every day, so I thought, also, that maybe I’d got behind the times. I guess the take away lesson is to find out more about lawyers from friends, as you say. And to go with one’s intuition in future. Thank you again for your help. I’ve decided to waid a few more weeks until after mediation, and keep my fingers crossed that I don’t die in the meantime! xx

  5. Again and again dearest Maureen – your strength, wisdom, resilience, faith shine and sparkle. You can do it dear friend. You can, you do walk tall. You lead. You will survive.

    I love you

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth B, on lots of counts. I only walk tall because I have friends like you who support and encourage me to get on with things. That’s one of my favourite sayings, at the moment when people ask me how I am. ‘I’m getting on with things, thanks!’ It’s what Philip Maslen said after Anne died. What else can a person do?

  6. I’m, so sorry to hear all this, Maureen. I didn’t know you and your husband had separated. I hope his children are enjoying being his carer! After all your service. I hope he left you in situ and you didn’t have to move house. F…. Well, once you get through these glitches/bumps/roadblocks, I’m sure your life will even out and you will have the calm and comfort and independence you deserve. Lots of love.

    1. Thanks, Christina. It’s been a bit rough, and there are still financial and location matters to settle, but bit by bit with a terrific family lawyer everything is beginning to fall into place. Already my life is starting to even out, and I’m enjoying the peace and independence I crave. Thank you again for your love and concern. x

  7. It seems as though it’s one thing after another.
    I admire you so much; after everything you’ve been through in your life, you still pick yourself up and carry on.
    Is there anyone at the same firm as your family lawyer who could assist in writing a new/replacement will?

    Graham and I wrote our wills when we were still in our twenties. Then, a couple of weeks before he died, we updated them by adding a codicil to each one.
    I would suggest making a temporary homemade will on a printed form that can be downloaded from the internet, and perhaps choose your most organised, sensible family member to be the executor. You can visit a lawyer with your homemade will after the mediation meeting.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Sue W, but there’s nothing to admire about my carrying on. It seems like there’s no option but to just put one foot after another, to hope it will all pass soon, and things will be ‘back to normal’, whatever that will mean in future. Looking forward to that day, I can tell you. I’ve noticed it’s also how you do things!

      Maureen Furr, in this thread, also suggested I could make a temporary homemade will, and that was a good solution. But it will be nice when EVERYTHING in my life is regular and normal and proper. xx

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