Tuesday, 11 August 2015

The passage of time

Today is the 6th anniversary of John's death.  This time day and date coincide.

After my morning with the 'SPACE' drop-in I attended the lunchtime Eucharist and headed down to the market square to buy flowers for John.

Of course I know he will not see them but it is the one day I can still physically buy something for him.

Sentimental tosh some people would say, but as I cleaned up his headstone so the blue granite sparkled and filled up the water container for the flowers, I had a few 'words'.

I sometimes glance at his photo in the sitting room and make some comment in response to a particular piece of TV, knowing that he would have said much the same, but my visit to the cemetery is different.  It  is a chance to have a different kind of communion.

No-one would have been more amazed than John by my decision to be baptised and confirmed.  He used to call me his old Welsh heathen.  (that was when he was feeling affectionate).  The rest of the time he just accepted my lack of religious belief as a part and parcel of my upbringing.

The past 6 years have passed in a flash and I sometimes feel that the present 'me' is so far removed from the old one that I must have gone to sleep as one person and woken as another.

It is for this reason that I am amazed when other people remember the day's significance .

This morning my friend the parish administrator handed me a small bouquet of blue freesias (my favourite flower and John's favourite colour).

This afternoon, dead-heading my front garden flowers one of my dear friends in the close cane up and gave me a hug and said "I know this is a difficult time for you".

Small gestures of love, but huge on my radar and very welcome.

My church life gives me a lot of things I would never have experienced in the old life and sometimes it feels as though I have never lived any other way.

The much quoted "Time is a great healer" has some truth, but  I think what the passage of time really does is to distance you from the deluge of feeling which accompanies bereavement  and allows other influences to reach you so that you do not forget, but the sadness runs parallel with your new life until eventually it recedes.

Much of the time these days I don't think about John at all and when I do it is affectionately, much as one does of happy incidents in the past.  Just now and then there is a sharp piercing reminder and the sense of loss is keen for a while.

Today was such a day.


  1. Thanks Heather, much appreciated.

  2. Sending you hugs and blessings Ray....I can still shed tears for my first husband who died in 1997...It's good you have so many caring friends.

    1. Thanks Jean, and now I can add a small but precious group of cyber friends too.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Jane, and please have some yourself :-)

  4. Thinking of you in your loss at this moment. I am glad you have people around who remember and also your happy memories.

  5. Thanks Sue. I am grateful every minute of every day for the caring people in my world. I wish everyone could be so lucky.

  6. What a lovely post, Ray, and I wish I'd seen it on the day you put it up. As someone who works a lot with folks experiencing grief, you put it so well. Time distances you from the deluge of feeling, which can be so overwhelming. I am glad we are all friends of yours here and that you have your lovely church community. Perhaps your experience of such deep feelings allowed space to open for God-love to grow within it. Peace and blessings to you. XO

  7. Thank you for your comments and sentiments Penny. The date of a comment makes no difference to me, just the fact that people take the time to do so,
    After all the main reason I blog is to get some sort of dialogue going.

  8. As Penny has just said, this is a beautiful post, Ray, and so very true to my own experience of bereavement. Time doesn't heal completely, and the pangs do still come, but less often and less piercingly and the good memories come to the fore. Sending you hugs. xxx

  9. Thanks Perpetua. I know everyone's experience is different, but there are elements we share and perhaps voicing the reactions we all feel is a way of, at least, touching others' lives.
    The intensity of my personal loneliness was eased byu contact both real and cyber and helped me reach a bit of level ground.