Friday, July 07, 2006



Good night, good night!
Parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be tomorrow.
William Shakespeare 1564-1616

We waited anxiously; Jamie cleared his throat as he always did when he had something important to say.

‘My grandfather is dead.’

Although the family were Scots born and bred - Jamie, his two brothers and his parents lived in London.  Throughout his life the highlight of the year had been their trip to their paternal grandfather’s farm in the Highlands where they would spend the summer.  Not only had Jamie lost a much loved grandfather but the happiest part of his life had come to an end.

Sid and Jane – Alec’s friends – brought us coffee and sat down with us to help us decide what to do.  Clearly Jamie had to get up to Scotland as soon as possible.  His parents and the younger son Duncan were already at the farm but Liam was now at Yale in the States.  It was too late to do anything tonight but he would get the first train in the morning.  The station was some way away so Sid very kindly lent Jamie a bicycle.  Jamie didn’t want to spoil Alec’s reunion with his friends so we put the sadness on hold and sat enthralled by the stories the two mountaineers had to tell us.

All too soon it was time to get back to the hostel.  Ginny and Alec tactfully said they would rush back to the hostel and explain to the warden what had happened to give us a little time alone.  We took our time walking back – so different to a few hours earlier when I had been helpless with laughter.  At the bridge we said good night three times and went to our respective dormitories.

I couldn’t sleep and got up at 4am to wait for Jamie.  Soon he appeared looking sad and tired.  We walked to the bridge and talked of the croft we would have when we were married.  It was romantic nonsense but it seemed real at the time.  We planned the next few days so that we would really be together all the time.  Jamie knew the entire route we were taking, which was a comfort.  Back in the hostel the warden had made Jamie a decent breakfast and some tea for me.  Then I rode the bike down to the bridge and we clung together and said good bye for the last time.  Jamie watched whilst I walked back to the hostel and then I watched as he rode away.

Everybody was busy getting breakfast and packing up so after I had finished packing I sneaked out to the bridge and let out all the emotion I had been hiding for Jamie’s sake and sobbed my heart out – except that my heart wasn’t there anymore.
I knew without a shadow of a doubt that for the first time in my life I was truly, deeply, madly in love.  With Jamie.  For ever and ever.


Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Death seems even more incongruous when it happens amidst sunny days and rosy cheeks. What a shock that must have been. But it also brought your feelings for Jamie into view. Death shakes all sorts of things up to the surface, good and bad.

I took my grandpa's death very hard too.

PI said...

Sam: often a grandparent's death is the first we have to cope with - that's if we are lucky I suppose.

R. Sherman said...

I read this a few days ago but am only posting now. (BTW it's 2:45 AM here in the Hinterland.)

This is really good stuff.

Thanks for sharing it. I don't comment with every post, but they're all great and I find myself disappointed when you have the, gasp, audacity to take a holiday.

It goes without saying, I shall return.


fjl said...

This reminds me very much of my Mum and her experience with someone she once admitted to me. She did love my Dad as much though. But this story is similar.


Thought my Grandad was indistructible. He went down with a cruiser in WWII n bobbed up again. Went down with a nuclear sub in the 60's n bobbed up again. I think all those years of watchin' Oldham Athletic was what finished him off to be honest....

Did Jamie ever know about this bit?

PI said...

Randall: these late nights will have to stop!:)

PI said...

Felicity: as long as she ended up with one of them. The important thing is not to lose both.

PI said...

4d: well I think he lives on in you.

PI said...

4d: sorry I missed the last bit. Interesting question. I'm fairly sure I didn't tell him at this stage. MTL says I didn't. He was gone before I realised I suppose.

fjl said...

But don't you inevitably lose both?

PI said...

fjl: when death takes its toll - yes - but not necessarily in this life - praise be!

Guyana-Gyal said...

For ever and ever? Always?

PI said...

GG: yup!