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I’m not quite sure how my mother did it, but she imprinted the importance of being on time very deeply into my psyche. I was taught that it was bad manners to keep people waiting, and I have made a point of being on time ever since I can remember. I guess it is part of my ego identity and who or what I perceive myself to be. I do what I say I will do, and being on time (and never missing a deadline) is all part of that.

I plan ahead and am simply, never – ever – late. So it comes as much of a surprise to me, as to those who know me, to see me write this blog. But since Bob’s stroke I’ve learnt that some things are more important that proudly wearing my punctuality badge.

Being on time is a tricky state to maintain these days. Bob’s sense of time is out of whack and no matter how much I prod, coax, cajole and plan there is always the inevitable last minute: I just need to go to the loo, or brush my teeth, or finish this email…

This used to send me from ready to leave and be on time, to irrationally frustrated and irritable in one nano-second.



Letting go of my Queen of Punctuality status is not easy. I try to plan for the inevitable by starting an additional 15 minutes early. I make sure the car is packed well in advance, but something still crops up and contrives to make us (or me) late.

This stresses me out. I still desperately want to be on time, but I’m slowly (and painfully) learning to let go of this need – simply because it is more important to respect Bob and his needs.

I've been the irritable witch who told Bob there was no time to brush his teeth because we needed to leave now (having asked him 30 minutes ago to ensure he was ready on departure time). And I've felt awful about my actions. This made me realise that some things, like respect and compassion, really are more important than being on time.

I’m not sure I believe it (yet) but the world isn’t going to stop if I’m five minutes late, and the sky isn’t going to fall in either. I still fret over being late, the steam of frustration makes me snap and fume inwardly - but Bob’s dignity is far more important than my time-keeping pride.

So if I’m late for class, or for an appointment, it is not out of a lack of respect for you. It is out of respect for Bob and his needs. And If I am late and stressed about it, then I’m still learning this excruciatingly uncomfortable lesson.


If you'd like to support Bob and Shaz in their rehab journey you can do so below. Thanks for reading.

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