Thursday 10 November 2011


What a wonderful thing is the unconscious - or, even, the sub-conscious. There was I, thinking about the ways, the unexpected ways, in which the Departed deposit themselves within us, when I remembered that to-morrow is Remembrance day. This day we remember, at 11am, those lost in war. To-morrow, will be a particularly special one : at 11 o'clock, it will be 1100, on the 11th of 2011. Before I was struck by the serendipity, I had just planned to tell you how we can hold on to those who have 'gone before'. At three score and more than ten you would expect me to have some experience of losing important people in my life. Sometimes, their faces fade.I wonder if I can go on keeping them in mind This made me sad until it came to me that their faces were not, necessarily, the sharpest or the only way to hold on to them. As I explored this further, I saw that the ways in which those who have died have woven themselves in to the fabric of my life are as varied as they were, themselves. Almost daily, a dearly loved cousin and friend lives again as I ponder what to do with left-over food and hear her tell me to "put it in the freezer until you don't feel guilty about throwing it out". (Under another post, I suspect I have told you of that advice before. I hope it bears repeating in this special context).

I never turn a 'hospital corner' on my bed without feeling the presence of my Mother who showed me how. I have reason, too often, to think of the effect, on a plethora of situations, of sibling rivalry: the most powerful formative force in the world, I believe.(I wish I were not too lazy/old to research it properly as I believe is now being undertaken). Each time, I hear another loved, lost voice:" People have been having brothers and sisters for centuries", dismissing in nine words my attempt to excuse my warring children by citing the sibling rivalry thing. My attempt to put a hook in the wall from which to append some picture I should never have bought in the first place will always attract the presence of someone close to me who, once, catching me at it, observed: "Ah, a new coat-hook for the next door neighbour". Taken short when out with a male companion one of my oldest friends comes to haunt me with the punch-line of his favourite joke. I shall need to tell you all of it. A little girl was having a picnic with her little male cousin and their families when both were taken short. Together, they crouched behind a hedge to deal with nature's needs. The little girl encountered nettles and other impediments to comfort. Looking over at her cousin, who suffered none of this, she remarked "that's a handy gadget for a picnic." Thus, when desperate for a solution, I look at the surrounding countryside and my companion, and am immediately in the aura of he-who-has-long-since-left-us, wishing for just such a handy gadget.

Not long ago, a cloud- burst inundated the place I kept my photographs. Many were lost, particularly those of the era of my Grandparents and Parents, by now a record much more than a century old. But I have come to realise I don't need my eyes to remember those whom I once knew. I have just to make a bed, observe a squabble, look at the cold roast chicken, need the loo when I am not at home and I am in touch, again, with those loved and lost. I can feel, again, as I felt near them. If I were a quilt each one would be a square of me, even if I can no longer see their faces. That's what makes Remembrance Day significant. I can 'see' no more than a handful of those we are remembering, but I can identify with the loss and 'wear' their presence for ever in the patchwork of my life. Prynhawn da

1 comment:

lifecaredotbz said...

What an absolutely _beautiful_ observation! Makes the day much more special. Thank you x