Odds & Sods

The Long Day!

Click and listen to a strange voice read it for you!

Every moment since I heard has been a long torturous step towards today.

As I waited with the growing numbers outside the church, trying to put names to faces. I wondered why does it have to hurt so much and for so many?

There was this pain and joy. The pain for a loss so significant because I was seeing a part of my life dying too! Yet a pleasure that I was seeing those I hadn’t seen for so long.

The service went on—the struggle of a long dark process of laying to rest a body and soul. This always seems designed to hurt and tear at every part of your being. Those words used supposedly to console so expertly spoken accentuate grief, pain, and loss even more! Every step seemed to hammer another nail into my own failing mortality; he’s going, it’s getting closer, and this is now nearly the final step… Soon it will be your turn! One thing was for sure, I wasn’t going to put anyone through this when my time came!

After that final moment, when I looked down on that body, my brother had once borrowed to share a life with me. I knew my grief was over! I don’t mean I’ve forgotten him, or the pain is any less. I will still cry and hurt so much to know that I will never see or hear him again! But, the memories, most good, are a part of my life and can never be taken from me. I knew Pat would want us all to live and move forward with life because surely this is what life is all about, moving forward and not looking back.

Then there I was in Kettlebrook Club, and more memories came flooding back. The first thing I saw, Pat in a strange tight-fitting suit, shining, drainpipe trousers and such a short jacket. Elbow on the bar that ran all the way along the back wall. Fag in hand, that charming smile of confidence and looking as sharp as a razor! What a picture! So many memories!

Then as I sat there with my son and we had a drink with Pat, I started to see all those around me. It was as if a light was burning away the darkness allowing me to celebrate.

I suddenly became aware of something I had not known or realised before and will change my view forever. We spend so much time harking back to what we had and what we miss. It seems to me that every passing day and moment is a taste of death. It is something gone, something we can not change, something only to regret or rejoice. It is what we do now, today, at this moment in time, that makes a difference. Then I saw it as a clear day; it’s not the past I have to console, but the future to celebrate, and there they were, all in front of me. My son and daughter ever-present with me, my nieces and nephews, family and friends, all there ready to live my future, our futures together.

I see life etched in my face and in the faces of those I love so much, so close and so dear, but it was the life I saw in those that I would know as a fleeting moment, like now, that made me understand that death isn’t about loss and grief, but about celebrating life. A life shared in our ever-expanding family. Our lives will never end; it’s there right in front of me. I will always be a part of my family, and my family will always take my life with them.

How we live is a personal thing, but live we must. What we do with life and those we decided to make and share memories with will go on and on.

Yesterday, I said my final goodbye to someone so special! Today and every day remaining, I’ll live the best I can to celebrate him and, in doing so, share my life with you, my amazing family!

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