GUEST BLOG: Ruby Joy – The remnants of a life less lived



Recently I helped a friend go through his elderly mothers house after she had moved to assisted living.

Cleaning, discarding, donating, remembering, crying, laughing, smiling and trying to avoid the obvious thought that this life obviously once so full had dwindled down to a shower and three meals a day.

A pascal pick and mix of emotions was the only way to describe the turbulence in both of us as we explored the sacred, cherished the curls of lovingly handwritten letters from a younger hand and stopped silent over piles of scrawled to do lists that never got done.

The kitchen was a testimony to the vulnerability of older people with a fresh credit card as we opened the cupboards to a jungle of wires and useless electrical appliances brought and delivered by company’s that don’t spare a thought for the people they force goods upon.

Perhaps the hardest thing to see was the Calender on the wall in the bathroom from November 2009 the year that her husband died as if somehow keeping the date the same could stop time right before she had to face life alone.

So we sorted, silent, sacred, sifting through a full life a family home a young women with dreams a mother that raised 5 children childhood sweet hearts that carved out a life in a time we can’t retrieve.

I felt honoured to be a part of this process equally about remembering and releasing a houseful and a life time of living so that we can cherish a woman for what she was but also for what she is now.

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We are going to visit her today living with her daughter the role reversal has rattled her feisty spirit and toned down her cuss word littered sentences as she struggles to remember the second half of a sentence as she gets the first part out. But I take with me a new respect for this wrinkly bad ass that’s tucked away in this sweet old lady.


Ruby is 24 years old, sex worker and social activist. Lives in Auckland



  1. evocative writing, leave ’em wanting more I say, though actually not another word was needed

    Caution: old rocker references follow…
    “no matter what you do or dream or say–it all ends in dust and disarray”
    -Bob Seger

    “its a roll of the dice that’ll put you on ice…”
    -Keith Richards

  2. Thanks Ruby: we have a similar scenario going on, an old lady of 89 struggling with the adjustment of moving from her own house , and two more (81 and 89) who struggle to remain independent. In them we see us.

  3. Daily Blog, thanks for publishing this little gem of a piece and for recognising a talent. Ruby, your words took my hand and lead me through a perfectly formed vignette of a life lived. Look forward to seeing more of your work published in the future 🙂

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