Sunday, 6 November 2011

Passing away.

In the last week three 'almost friends' have died. I can't say they were really friends but yet they were more than acquaintances. All three were over 70 and none of the deaths were unexpected, but still they leave gaps in our lives.

I know from my own experience that when you lose a loved one the world seems to go on as it always did - the radio still carries the news, the birds still sing, everyone is going about their usual business oblivious to the fact that your life will never be the same again. But that is how it has always been.

Remembrance Day is coming up. We have a small War Memorial in our little town and the British Legion will be there on Friday morning at 11am to pay their respects to the fallen. Poppies are on sale everywhere and I see that everyone who appears on the BBC is wearing one - as indeed they should be. I stood with a friend chatting outside our local newsagent on Friday morning. She was selling poppies and an old man came up. She stopped him and chatted to him but he was very confused and we are not sure that he recognised her. After he had gone she told me that he was one of the few remaining veterans of Dunkirk. Of course there will be few left now. My brother was at Dunkirk and had he lived until now he would have been 90 this year. My previous husband was the youngest serving soldier to be on the so-called 'Death Railway' as a prisoner of the Japanese, and he has now been dead for over twenty years.

But sadly of course, soldiers are still dying in the line of duty. Iraq, Afghanistan - will it never stop? And think of all the hundreds if not thousands that are dying in the cause of the so-called 'Arab Spring'.

While we are on the subject of dying - I have not had an up to date figure on the number of deaths in Friday's appalling car pile up on the Motorway - it was seven and rising last I heard but I have no doubt it is more now. Is it just me that feels the speed limit should not be raised to 80mph. Alright, I know that if you are on the motorway some idiot will pass you doing over a hundred mph - but at least he or she is breaking the law. Raising the speed limit to 80mph is just giving everyone carte blanche to go quicker and speed costs lives.

On a more cheerful note - it is a lovely day today. There is a sharp North East breeze but the sun is shining from a cloudless sky and there is a robin singing every few yards along the lane. I know the theory is that they are singing to tell the bird-world that this is their patch, but I like to tell myself that they are singing from the sheer joy of still being alive.

16 comments:

Roxie said...

I lost a friend of fourty years last week. I was with him when he passed. And yes, life goes on and several billion people don't even know that the world is a little darker for the loss of his light. It's the price we pay for surviving. His friendship was more than worth the pain I feel now. And I will continue to make friends and love them, though I know that loss will come, because the joy is worth it.

My condolences to you in this sad time. Dwell on the good and let the bad fade. Time is like water. It wears away the rough edges.

angryparsnip said...

When I lived in Laguna Beach I would see the vets selling Poppies very year but since moving to Arizona and living so far out of the city I never see any Veterans anymore. I miss buying a Poppy every year.
My condolences on your friend. Especially when they died so close together, even if expected it is still a shock.
When my Baby Nicole died, who but family and friends knew. The same with my Mother, she was so important to me and yet the sun came up and shopping needed to be done, life goes on.

Yes I believe the birds sing because they are so very happy !

cheers, parsnip

Elizabeth said...

Bought a poppy at the English shop here the other day and was so sad to see the soldier on the poster was a young chap in his twenties with a metal leg.
Heartbreaking.
Robert's ma would have been 90 on Friday......
and so we go on ...in the bright sunshine here.

John Gray said...

a thoughtful post
and a timely one
nicely done

Penny said...

Was appalled at the scenes on our tv of the motorway pile up. Horrifying.
I am afraid life always goes on after death, but we who knew them well always remember them.

Dominic Rivron said...

The 80mph limit idea is appalling. Not only will more people die on the road but also it makes a nonsense of environmental policy. I'm guessing emissions will rise significantly. We should be reducing it to 50 instead.

rkbsnana said...

Is your Remembrance Day the same as our Veteran's Day? I struggle with loss of loved ones frequently but can only imagine how hard it must be to lose a spouse or close companion.

Pondside said...

The pile up was on our news last night - terrible.
Losing friends and acquaintances is hard, no matter what the age. I'm sorry that your circle has grown smaller.

mrsnesbitt said...

Aye a cold day Pat! might be a freeze tonight I think! brrrrrrrrrr!

ChrisJ said...

A very cogent commentary on a subject too often avoided. I never see poppies being sold around here. Love your blog. You always have something worthwhile to say, not to mention wonderful photos.

Cloudia said...

always a worthy meaningful visit-



Aloha from Honolulu

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Hildred and Charles said...

Nick, our minister, talked about death this morning and he brought to mind Rossiter W. Raymond's poem which ends Life is eternal and love is immortal/and death is only a horizon, and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.,,
Charles and I have lost so many friends, but somehow these words are a comfort as I think about the energy of the loved ones being somewhere, outside of time and sight, and so I scribbled the words on the church bulletin and gave them to Nick.

Rachel said...

Listen to BBC Radio 2 today at 1.30 pm, Songs my Son Loved, Jeremy Vine talks to mums who have lost their sons in Afghanistan. I think it will be sad but uplifting at the same time. I think it is on everyday this week if you miss today's.

Thank you for the post Weaver, that is all I can think to say.

H said...

Death is always hard to bear and I know exactly what you mean by the world going on oblivious. It seems so incongruous to those of us whose worlds have just fallen apart. (How can they be discussing the price of cheese when I am feeling like this?!!!)

As far as the motorway speed limit is concerned, I am afraid that I must disagree with you dearest Weaver. In spite of the occasional horrific crash (about which we all hear) our motorways are the safest roads in the country by a very long margin because everyone is travelling in the same direction and there are very few hazards (junctions, pedestrians, traffic lights, parked vehicles...).

Frances said...

Here in New York, it is rare to see any poppy remembrance as we draw near to 11/11/11.

I have an aging collection of poppies bought years ago on my then regular visits to London.

I see these paper flowers every day of the year and do a bit of remembering right then, no matter what the season.

And also consider that we still continue to send young folks off to war.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for the thoughtful comments.