Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Is that the time?

Is that the time?

Everyone from the funeral director to the minister was befuddled by the kitchen clock – indeed all the clocks in the house, and there are many.  A little foible of MTL was to have all the clocks ten minutes fast.  When the clocks needed to be changed he would sweetly offer to do my watch and now, for the first time in 30 odd years my watch tells me the correct time – thanks to one of the boys.  It does save a lot of calculations.

When he first became ill, with atrial fibrillation and then later cancer, I determined I wasn’t going to spoil what was left of our time together by living in fear.  It worked and we both remained positive.  However during the last month or so I awoke feeling dreadfully sad.  I thought maybe I was getting depressed and thought about getting some happy pills from the doctor.

I think we both knew our time together was coming to an end and we seemed to be enveloped in a loving tenderness stronger than ever.  I miss his sweet smile, holding his hand whenever we were close and his warm embrace when we passed going about our daily chores.  And the loving teasing.

I thought at first - that’s it now!  The worst has happened – but I daren’t tempt fate –there are still precious souls here on earth.  Most of the time I’m coping and concentrating on keeping life as normal as possible.  I was told about a bereavement group today but I’m not sure it would be right for me.  Joy – who lost her husband almost a year ago understands how it is and we give each other a boost when necessary, which is a great comfort.

I wanted the service to be a celebration of his life.  He used to say ’Why does no-one ever mention Jesus these days?’  So one of the hymns was Jesus bids us shine with a pure clear light which I used to sing at Sunday School, and the minister made a point of using readings that mentioned Jesus.

I asked the five children – all grown up with families of their own if they would like to say something about their father/step- father.  Two knew they wouldn’t be able to and three said they wanted to but may not be able to.  The minister advised them to write it out and if they couldn’t cope he would read it for them.

I suggested that they practised by reading it out loud to me till they got bored with it - but they didn’t want to do that.

 Finally I said: ‘Imagine Dad is on trial and if you blub he’ll be shot!’

 ‘No pressure then!’ said our French son.

In the end the three of them spoke with such love - bringing out his humour, his goodness, his tiger hunts with the grandchildren in the woody part of the garden – armed with his antique pistols, showing them the badger trails with the claw marks - proof positive there were tigers there - and they didn’t falter.

I was so proud of them and also the way they all mingled with the guests at the reception, so that everybody knew who was who.

My eyes misted when his elder son said the last 33 years of his father’s life had been the happiest.

 Nancy, the kid sister of two of his Scottish pals who used to play with MTL and his big brother when they were children wrote ‘A was the quiet, helpful one.  D and L led the band but it was A who stayed behind to help me jump the stream or jump from the high barn door.’

His daughter said he was an early version of Google.

My granddaughter Alice in Florida at Uni wrote:

You and I were both so lucky to have such a kind, loving man in our family, and I have only the fondest memories of him.  I’m sure I seem very far away, but we can be close in our thoughts of Grandpa, who I know adores you, and I’m so grateful that he is part of our family.

Our youngest son said:

He left us suddenly, but not unexpectedly.  He would be pleased to go out like that- in a flash-without protracted suffering.  But he would deeply regret leaving behind his beloved Pat, and all his extended family.

Sheila, my help, sat with Karen the gardener, Mick the handyman and Jan his wife and she said when ‘Loch Lomond’ was played they all fell apart.  Another misty moment for me.

The organist said afterwards he had never heard such tributes.

Years ago – when Dad died, I found looking after Mum at the funeral helped me to hold it together.  Similarly this time the five children and grandchildren were my priority.

I wanted MTL to be proud of me.

Sometimes one goes down and down.  Then very slowly a gentle breeze composed of family, friends, loving thoughts and memories raise you up again.

You know who you are.

P.S. For cancer sufferers please note that we beat the cancer.  His surgeon told me all the tests after his treatment were negative.


Chef Files said...

Pat, so much feeling in your words here, I will carry them with me as I go about my own business this day.

Perhaps, a few words here to lighten your own day.

Let me go.

We've known lots of pleasure,
At times endured pain,
We've lived in the sunshine
And walked in the rain.

But now we're separated
And for a time apart,
But I am not alone
You're forever in my heart.

Death always seems so sudden,
And it is always sure,
But what is oft' forgotten
It is not without a cure.

There may be times you miss me,
I sort of hope you do,
But smile when you think of me,
For I'll be waiting for you.

Now there's many things for you to,
And lots of ways to grow,
So get busy, be happy, and live your life,
Miss me, but let me go.

Unknown author.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

What a post! Beautiful. One of your best ever. I wish you and I could sit and chat so you could tell me more about him. I've been walking around dreary for the past several days and this is uplifting. Thank you for it.

Kim Ayres said...

How wonderful to have such lovely tributes


Pat said...

Chef: 'Let me go.'
That is the hardest thing to do.

The Cloudcutter said...

Thank you for sharing these beautiful memories and bits of info. Sending lots of warm and toasty hugs your way :)

Take care dear Pat. You are a treasure and your wonderful life with MTL (and even without him physically present) will always be an inspiration.

debra said...

There is a lovely sweet sadness in your words, dear Pat. I suspect there is one in your heart, too.

Scarlet Blue said...

Well, you made me blub.
And like UB says, a beautiful post.

John Greenwood said...

Beautiful, Pat! Brought a tear to my hardened eyes. xx

Chef Files said...

Pat, aye it is. Even harder when you bury your own child though hen, the world ended and I thought I would see my own end before the first night had fallen.

We all have different ways to let go dear lady, it doesn't mean we love them any less, it's merely the only way in which we learn to cope.

Even those of us without religion keep the faith.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Such a beautiful post, dear Pat...It brought tears, it is filled with such loving feeling and the underlying loss....I wish i could have met your dear MTL....I felt like I knew him through you and your always loving tender words---I loved the picture of him and the grandchildren and Tigers in the Garden...Reaching out to you, my dear dear Pat, from my heart to yours....(((((((hug)))))))

mapstew said...




kenju said...

Beautifully said and undeniably deeply felt. You made me cry; for you and with imagining how I might fare in a similar situation. I doubt I'll do as well, given the opportunity (which I hope I am not.)

I am glad that you and Joy can help each other. Perhaps a group situation would be better in months to come, after the initial shock is over. I know you could be helpful to many women in the same situation.

About Last Weekend said...

Your posts are always poetry, Pat.
"Sometimes one goes down and down. Then very slowly a gentle breeze composed of family, friends, loving thoughts and memories raise you up again.

You know who you are."
What a lucky man he was to be with someone who loved him so much.

Pat said...

Ub: that would be nice. Tea or coffee? Probably better tea.

Kiom: yes it made me very proud.

CC: that is kind of you.xxx

Debra : I think there always will be. But happiness too.

Scarlet; I'm giving you grief what with the scrunch and all:)

Chef: I cannot imagine what it must be like to lose a child.
I know you are right.
I'll stop being a wimp and get on with it.
Forget religion. Faith is what it is all about.

Naomi: he knew all about you and loved to hear of you and my many blogging pals.

Map: xox

Chef Files said...

No hen, you are what it is all about.

Mage said...

Misty eyed here too. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

angryparsnip said...

Such a beautiful post and I am so happy to see you writing what ever you are thinking about.
Like Chef I have lost a child and I did think the world ended but I had had a child still to raise at home and I lived. This is different that your pain but still the same. A death of someone you love. But I wrote in books all the pain and anger and I wrote, no blogs back then. I wrote.... So if you keep writing I will keep reading.
I think about you every day, I always have but now I keep you and your family in my heart.

xo gayle

Z said...

That is a beautiful tribute, darling Pat. A step-parent relationship can be a wonderful one, where the children can see how happy it is. My daughter named her son (as a middle name) after my stepfather, which was a lovely tribute to her granddad.

When my mother's terminal cancer was diagnosed, we were very frightened for the first few weeks every time she felt under the weather, but after that we learned not to let that get in the way, just as you describe. When you know, or have the instinct, that time is short, you appreciate it all the more. Although afterwards you miss what you had so much. You're not a wimp and you've had an awful loss which you're dealing with courageously, head-on.

Marjolein said...

It's wonderful to read about all the love that surrounds you both.

Guyana-Gyal said...

He was a good man...but I feel I should say 'is', because he lives on in so many ways, in what others have said about him and these beautiful words you've written here. He's a treasure, rare and true.

Anonymous said...

You are indeed a great and strong lady. What a beautiful tribute. I had to have three tries at reading the full post. Each time my eyes misted over.

I always thought that after losing both my partner and son to cancer I was immune from grief and nothing would ever upset me again.

Pat said...

Chef: :)

Mage: the sharing helps. Don't be too sad.

Parsnip: like Chef you have great courage.

Z: so many of my friends - over the years have become widows and set great examples for me to follow.

Marjolein: the love is the bonus.

GG: thank you. He was all of that - and fun and quite naughty too.

Keith: oh Keith - after all you have been through I am so sorry to upset you. Please forgive me.

Pat said...

ALW: what a lovely thing to say. Thank you.

Pat said...

John: your eyes are very far from hardened.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Beautifully put, Patricia. As a stammerer I'm hopeless reading so always have to ad-lib on such occasions, but that didn't stop me blubbing after I'd said my bit at my father's funeral. I once had a girlfriend who lived in a house with her elderly mother where all the clocks were set 25 minutes fast - I never dared to ask why 25 was the magic number.

Pat said...

Gadjo: it was very brave of you to speak your father's funeral.
I'm not sure I could have done.
My watch now tells the correct time but The clocks remain skewift for the moment.

lom said...

I sit here crying, that was just beautiful, sending you love and hugs

Granny Annie said...

These posts...I feel deeply for you and fear deeply for me.

Pat said...

Lom: thank you:)

Granny Annie: please don't be fearful. Don't waste what you have now.
My dark is slowly lifting.

SDC said...

Pat, I feel so privileged to be getting a clearer picture of the man you loved so much. Your blog touches me so deeply and I'm so glad you have friends, family and readers that love you so much. Wow, sorry for all the emotion.

Pat said...

SDC: I'm just so thankful that he died in his own home with the minimal of suffering and being his lovely self to the end.

JudyBelg said...

Pat, I wish I could find the right words. You are in my thoughts.xJudy

Pat said...

JudyB: don't worry. It's enough you dropped by:)

Philip Dodd said...

Yes, he'd be proud.

Pat said...

Philip: thank you Philip.