Death

For as long as I can remember, whenever I’ve had worries or thoughts that I needed to deal with, I have always woken up just before 4 am. So it has been this morning with the result that I’ve decided to get up and write this blog. Along, of course, with the ritual of making a cup of tea; always a source of succour for the aunts who brought me up.

Now anyone who knows me knows the circumstances of my childhood; the death of my mum when I was five and my father returning to his unit in Germany to get remarried some months later and absenting himself from my life. Yet, for most of that life I genuinely believed that none of that had had any effect. So, my mum died; well death happens to us all. I even told people that I’d had a very happy childhood, because I thought that I had. Well, I’m now at the end of a long journey that has helped me to understand the reality of what happened all those years ago and, in doing so, come to terms with it; although that expression doesn’t anywhere near do justice to the process and the result.

For many years, a particular image has come into my head and this which would frighten me, deep down. This happened again this week when I had a bad dream which featured a similar image but a much scarier one, being, I think, a predecessor of the previous one. Without going into details, I was at a funeral service in a church as a child and saw a coffin being brought in. Now, I have no way of knowing whether or not I was actually at my mum’s funeral, although this seemed real enough to be a memory. What is important is how I feel and the fact that that image now seems much less scary than it was previously.

Two weeks ago, Ellie, my youngest daughter told me that a school friend had just died at the age of twenty. That hit home and the word “death” resonated with, in this case, the implications for her parents and family. I understood what it meant for the first time; the total absence from their lives, from that moment on, of their most cherished.  Along with the lives that they might have had together.  I also feel a sadness that I haven’t had before and, in doing so, am coming to terms with the loss of that person who meant so much to that little boy all those years ago. Yes, it is sad, it is also, for me, very, very healing.

The birds in the garden are now awake and singing and it’s the dawn of a new day.

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