Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Season of Remembering and Forgetting

Arguably we start dying from the moment we are born, but we choose not to think about that. You could say we forget about it, or as long as there is life there is hope. Age, accident, or illness can remind us of those daily little deaths. It is never a welcome reminder.

I got two last week. The first was the logical, expected outcome of a long illness that has been dubbed the long goodbye. My brother's Alzheimer's can no longer be held at bay in his home by hardworking, devoted family and friends and carers. It is time. It is right. It is a good decision, and my brother has a very nice place to go where he will be well cared for and his family will remain active in his care. I said--I hope-- the right things to my family and offered what help and support that I could and then I cried for two days.

The photo below is from my wedding. He walked me down the aisle and he, my sister and I were all genuinely happy and together then. It is good to remember that. When I stopped crying, I looked at these and other photos and tried to keep those good times foremost.

The same day I received news about my brother, I learned of a neighbour--former neighbour, since we have moved away, whose past two years had been spent in that mysterious world of dementia, who had passed away. Although my head accepted that it was not a sad death because he had been so ill for so long, nonetheless my heart failed to oblige me. The thought that I would never see him again out in his garden leaning over his hoe kept jangling my heart strings.

He was one of the first people I met in my new life over here. Lean, quick-witted, slow talking, a hard-working, gentle, kindly man.
He has passed these things on to his family, so it is a relief to see that legacy live on, but even with my brief acquaintance, it hurt to say goodbye.

It is the lambing season here now. Driving around the county the fields are dotted with the first sets of lambs with their mothers. It is certainly a hopeful, Easter-season sight, but hoodie crows, aggressive gulls, foxes and cold cruel winds also are part of this season. Out of the corner of my eye last week, I noticed a hoodie crow flying around a pair of tiny twins nestled up against a stone dyke; their mother perhaps just a bit too far away. I stopped, reversed the car, and waited until the crow moved on. Grief is like that. We can banish it for a moment, but, like the crows, it is all a part of the season and will be back in its own time.


At 5:29 PM, Blogger Amy said...

One of your best posts. I liked seeing the photo. In pictures Molly resembles you.

At 5:01 PM, Blogger Hayden said...

I'm so sorry. There is no way to make these moments easy. Sending you hugs.

At 5:04 PM, Blogger The Curmudgeon said...

I'm very sorry. I have one aunt left and she's in this situation. In one sense she's already gone and I'm in mourning for who she was. And yet she's not gone -- and I'll have to mourn for her all over again at some point. I sympathize.


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