A Memory of Mr Adie

I think it was in the last year of his life here, when he noticed – before I did – that I had a sleep problem. He did not know what it was, but he said to me that I did not have as much stamina as I imagined I did, and that when I got tired, it was as if I was drunk. I told myself that it was just my “sense of humour,” but I never forgot his words. About ten years after he died, I think, a doctor discovered that I had a moderately severe case of obstructive sleep apnoea.

From that point, whenever I attended weekend work, he would insist that I go to his late mother’s room each afternoon and nap. Now, in those days, I could force my way through without a nap, even if it was hard. But Mr Adie had realised that it was better for me not to; that my essence need was to rest. When he gave the direction, I felt somewhat abashed. At that time I am not sure what I found harder to bear: his kindness or having to face up to my physical weakness. I tend to think it was the latter, because now that I ponder it, I am struck – he made me sleep in his mother’s old room. And now, I am profoundly touched by his paternal tenderness.

I am not the person I was then, but I really do doubt that I was then as sensible of his goodness to me, or as grateful, as I am now.

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