An article in the Sunday Times magazine today suggests reading Philip Larkin's 'The Mower'. I have just read it - it is only short but beautiful, simple and food for thought (as I think all poetry should be). It fits in nicely with what I intended to write about today. Do read it on Google.
Tha article was about the loss of a loved one. Most of us - in fact I could almost say all of us - have had that experience - a parent, a husband/partner/wife/child. We learn to live with the experience, to deal with it, to try and live on - for the sake of our remaining loved ones as much as for ourselves. But the sense of loss doesn't go - it fades, it stays in the background getting fainter and fainter - my first dearly loved husband died thirty two years ago - it seems a lifetime; my farmer died six years ago in a couple of weeks.
It's marsh marigold time = the most poignant reminder for me of my farmer. I shalln't see them this year - I can no longer get to the beck where they grow - but Thelma reminded me of them in a recent post.
My first husband was a painter and some of his paintings hang on my walls, along with other paintings by friends and also a nicely framed print of Vermeer's 'Girl with a Pearl Ear-ring' which he bought me for my twenty-first birthday and which hangs in my hall where I look at it every day. (we always called it 'Girl in a Yellow Turban' and I still think of it as that). But thirty odd yeas seems a lifetime - almost another life.
But six years is no time at all. My memories of my second marriage are much nearer and very different. Getting into bed - laying on our backs and going over the day and its happenings, thn turning on to our left sides for a cuddle, then over on to our right sides to go to sleep. Odd now that - after my new hip - I can't do, as I have to sleep on my back.
My computer table used to be in a cubby hole at the bottom of the stairs, in the front hall. I used to do the farm business (accounts, Cattle Movement Service and such like) on my lap top often while he was showering. When he came downstairs after his shower he would always stop and pop a kiss on the top of my head. I miss that still (don't miss the CMS - fiddly chore as I am sure all farmers would agree.)
But some things are common to both marriages:
Have you seen my glasses?
Could we have a night when we don't watch the News?
Where shall we go on holiday this year?
What's for dinner?
I could go on, but I won't - we all have a list in our heads don't we?
But I know one or two which would crop up now were either of them still with me. Top of the list would be
Please do not speak of Prince Harry again. (he is in our Newspapers again, baring his soul again - does he not realise that 'grown ups' have internalised their childhood traumas (both of my husbands had them but did they talk about them? no -they had largely learned to live with them.
The last 'verse' of Larkin's 'The Mower' says it all.
"We should be careful of each other, we should be kind , while there is still time".
If we can say we have done this then we can live with our memories and enjoy them.
Well all lives are different and all things we say in private are different and relationship experiences are good for some people and not so much always so for others but I agree the last two lines of the poem cannot be argued with.
When my mother died, my father said that he didn't think he would ever get over it. I said he wouldn't, but he might get used to it.
Dear, dear Pat. You somehow always say what I feel but lack the skill to put into words. You are a gift to us all! Thank you for your blog. Jackie in Georgia USA
I wish more people would be kinder to each other.
What a wonderful, thought-provoking post today 🤔 Thank you.
I can't identify with much of that, I clearly have had a different life and outlook on it than you.
Nor can I Derek. That was what I was trying to say in my comment. But the poem had the right last lines.
Lovely post, Pat.
Always remember you and the farmer walking down the field, presumably to the brook, to look at the marsh marigolds Pat. As for memories, I don't know what to say, only that one's thoughts are always tinged with sadness and happiness at the same time.
I loved this post. Thank you.
You are a treasure. Your posts are the highlight of my day. Anne in Wyoming USA
This post shows, you traversed your life of love and loss with dignity and grace. Life is hard and we all experience some form of both. No two people are the same. Everybody experiencing things differently. I agree, for everyone, kindness is key throughout life. When kindness is uppermost, you will have no regrets.
My dad died in his 50s, 30 years ago now and in what seems like another life. I had an unhappy first marriage but had my two lovely children, who themselves are now the parents of my 4 grandchildren so I cannot regret it. My second marriage has been much happier (we met in our 40s when both single). It has not been without struggles as life always has those but the difference is we have pulled together to get through them which has made a tremendous difference. Thank you Pat for reminding me of what is important.
The poem itself reminds me of an incident when my lovely, caring son (now a big bear of a man in his 30s) was a teenager and was strimming the long gras at the bottom of our garden. I was on my knees weeding and he ran to me distraught with a frog in his hand that had a minor injury from the strimmer. Everything was dropped and a trip to the vets followed. All was well thankfully. It was at that point that I knew I'd managed to successfully raise my son to be the kind and gentle man his own father never was.
Grass not gras, whoops. Sorry for the typo!
To this day I am glad that the last time I saw my late husband alive was just a normal morning, me going to work and him putting his decorating tools away in the basement, and I went downstairs for a hug and kiss before I left. Neither of us could know it was the very last time, but we showed each other love and kindness, and there was nothing for me to regret when he died that same day.
I have fond memories of my mother sending me off when I was a child to hunt for the first mayflower blooms or to see if the snowdrops had bloomed under our hedge. I was amazed the time she had me collect Forsythia branches in March. I couldn't believe it when they bloomed, (as she'd promised), in their vase of water one week later. I'm heading out now to snip some forsythia. I can't have my physical mother back but these memories make her feel more present.
"... The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same ..."
I pray that I be as kind a woman as possible to the end of my days.
Thank you so much, Weaver, for bringing this poem to my attention today.
You paint such wonderful pictures/scenes with your words. Wonderfully touching and thought-provoking post. Thank you.
What a wonderful, wise, and sweet post, dear Pat.
'Kindness' is always a free choice!
13 years since I lost my son, and it gets no easier although I am better at putting a good face on for the world. I miss his bear hugs terribly. And his smile. I am thankful for every minute of his 39 years. I am also thankful that my last times with both parents were loving and sweet.
I remember your walks with your farmer. What good memories you must have of them.
I see the daffs all blooming alongside the road and am so sad that Tom will never see a daff again. He has only been gone for a few weeks but Spring is reminding me how much we both loved to see first Spring flowers. Today I am sad.
Lovely post. I lost both my parents in 2017 but I remember them with love and kindness, the nickname my mom had for me, learning carpentry with my dad and all the little things in-between. I always ensure that when going out I leave my husband with a hug, a kiss and a smile.
A beautiful post and most thought provoking.
Briony - it will get easier I promise you. Try to concentrate on the happy times as he would have wished you to.
Granny Sue - thinking of you. x
Librarian - Larkin's poem must have struck a chord with you. I am sure your walks and friendship with O K help in some way to heal the wounds.
VC what a lovely story you tell.
Tom - good way of putting it.
Many thanks everyone
You've ad your share of life's challenges. You describe very well these losses and how you dealt with them.
A lovely and inspiring post.
After this weekend's Harry-fest, I was tempted to write about them again, but I've promised not to until Mrs Harry publishes her book; which will probably be in Coronation week.
Which is why I always end each post with "Take care". The doctors, scientists and men of religion in whom people put so much faith, are not as clever as they would have us believe. We need to take care of ourselves, each other and this battered old planet. Take care.
What a lovely thoughtful post John.
John/Thelma - hear, hear!
Godspeed Auntie Glad. You will be missed.
We should be kind, I love that. You are twice widowed, I admire how you keep on keeping on. My dear hubby died six years ago, yes, we all experience loss and that inclines me to be kind to strangers and to loved ones.
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