In the shoes (literally) of Anne Cooper’s mother-in-law…

Thank you Anne Cooper (yes, our own @anniecoops!) for sharing
this lovely little blog.
I hope readers love it as much as I do 🙂

Different types of loss

My mother-in-law is now 82.  When I first met her I was 22 and she was not much older than I am now.  She was glamorous and liked her clothes and shoes and she helped me to develop my own taste in clothes and a sense of who I was.  This was partly through shopping, which became a shared activity.  We had our favourite places and we spent many hours together.

Sometimes small things throw a spotlight on life; they suddenly illuminate the passage of time, or change.

Annie Cooper Shoes 2 IMG_0991One day, years ago, we were walking through a shoe department in a big department store.  The racks were full of splendid heeled shoes, spiked stilettos, colours to shock, and shoes laden with sparkle.  My mother-in-law paused for a moment, gazed at the shoes and said to me ‘I love shoes and it makes me sad that my feet will no longer allow me to wear shoes like these’.  She then wandered off to look at scarves or sparkle… after all they don’t need good feet.

It made me reflect that there are small losses in our lives that affect who we are and how we live our lives.  Gill now has really difficult feet, which adversely affect her mobility.  Shoe shopping is no longer a pleasure, we have to go to ‘safe’ shops and try on the shoes recommended for her by the podiatrist – Reiker are her favourite but she still hates them.  She is still choosy, she likes a bit of detail, or a nice colour; but every single time we go I know that inside she really wants to buy some inappropriate sexy heels.

This experience also reminded me of a story by Joanne Harris called ‘Faith and Hope go shopping.’ I highly recommend it and you can find it here.

What have I learnt?  Enjoy my shoes and feet while I can and never regret the heels I totter around on! Enjoy life today as you don’t know the small losses that will overtake your life later. And finally when you are caring for someone who is older, ask them to tell you about themselves in their younger days and reflect on their lives with them – it will help you to see them in new ways.


Thank you Anne. Simple and profound lessons for life here! Your Mum-in-law sounds to be a wonderful lady, making the most of what she has and adding a bit of sparkle here and there … as indeed you do yourself! 🙂

Anne’s earlier blog (in her own shoes) is equally moving and thought provoking. You can be read here.

About Gill Phillips - Whose Shoes?

Passionate about personalisation in health & social care. Creator of Whose Shoes? - an imaginative approach to helping people work together to improve lives.
This entry was posted in Guest blog, personalisation, well-being and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to In the shoes (literally) of Anne Cooper’s mother-in-law…

  1. Tess says:

    I really agree in principle: enjoy the moment, have no regrets. I’ve always tried to live like that. But I must say that my bunion-ridden, often painful, 60-year-old feet are like this as a direct result of those sexy high heels of yesterday. I never believed all that info from medical specialists about heels being really bad for the back and feet. Turns out they were right!! So those shoes are my only regret.


  2. Anonymous says:

    The advantage of being an adult learner is it allows you to acknowledge the pleasure you had,
    and then move on to enjoy new opportunites, now a world of handbags or scarves !


  3. Pingback: ‘You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’ | anniecoops

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