Tag Archives: Death

Dearest Dianne


When I started this blog I didn’t quite know what to expect. I guess that’s the same for everyone.

I guess, at first, I hoped that my family and perhaps a few friends would read it and like it. In the back of my mind, if I’m honest, I hoped that maybe a stranger or two might just read my posts and enjoy them. For me that felt like the ultimate success. I still remember the first ‘stranger’ commenting. I ran around the house shrieking, I was that excited.

Now I have over 1000 followers and I hardly know any of them personally. It’s a massive compliment.

But the hugest surprise of all is the new friendships that I’ve made. I can’t even begin to tell you how important you fellow bloggers have become to me. I think about you and your problems. You make me laugh out loud with your comments and your own posts. I learn from you. I rejoice at your achievements and feel sad when things go wrong in your lives.

Some of you have become Facebook buddies. Others like to email. A few of you have even sent me thoughtful gifts which have meant the world to me.

The blogosphere is a truly incredible world to be a part of. And I thank you all for every contribution.

One blogger who truly stood out for me was Dianne of Schmidleysscribblins.  She regularly commented on my blog and I loved to read hers. She was smart and funny. Passionate about plants, politics and her family.

Sadly on the 24th of March, 2017 Dianne passed away.

I am filled with great sadness. She was a truly awesome, inspirational lady. And I for one, will miss her greatly.

Today would have been her 75th birthday. Her daughter has written a beautiful eulogy for her and posted it on Dianne’s blog here.

Dianne inspired me with her love of her garden. Finally, I managed to grow some kind of lily. It only bloomed for a couple of days, but it did bloom!!

This is for you Dianne, with love.

“It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.” – John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

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Do you agree with the death penalty?


WordPress asked:

Do you agree with the death penalty? Is it ever right to kill? And under what circumstances? Is it worth the risks of being wrong?

Yes, actually, I do.

And my circumstances are extremely specific. I agree with the death penalty for someone who has murdered more than one person.

You may now wonder, but why not for someone who has been proven to have committed murder once? A fair question. I think that there can be a lot of reasons for a one-off killing. A constantly abused wife. Self-preservation. Jealousy. Financial hardship (a gun going off in a robbery, for example). Snapping over because of psychological problems.

I believe these people should be punished if deemed necessary but also be helped so they have the possibility to one day be a valuable member of the community again.

But a person who repeatedly takes the life of another, in my mind does not deserve to have life themselves. They have forfeited that right by their own actions.

To allow them to live puts the public and also other prisoners and prison workers at risk.

Keeping them in prison, at the tax-payers expense, for the rest of their lives, for me, is not the correct answer.

I also think that the families of the murder victims deserve closure.

They deserve to know that what they have to live with, no one else will go through at that perpetrators hands.

A friend of mine was murdered. He went to a concert, happy, free. He left his friends to nip to the loo. He did not return.

He was stabbed by a ‘high’ teenager in an unprovoked attack.

The perpetrator got life imprisonment, which in Scotland means that he could already be out on parole.

I hope that he’s had therapy and has turned his life around. That he’s suffered the consequences of his actions and now wants to make a go of his life.

But were he to kill again, I would want him quite simply, deleted.

*Wherever you are Colin, I hope you have found peace. You may be gone, but you are not forgotten.*

The first person who broke my heart


The WordPress prompter asked:

Describe the first person who broke your heart. And if you could take revenge on them now, would you? Did you ever think about it? What would you say to them now if you met them on the street?

Now my heart has been broken several times over the years, by friends, family and of course, the inevitable boyfriend or two.

I think the question probably refers to ‘partners’.

So I’ll go with that.

Sitting in a history classroom (aged a mere 17) I chatted and giggled with my best friend Faye, who had some extra special news for me that day. She’d met a guy that according to her, was perfect for me. She wanted to set me up with him on a blind date.

Shocked and indignant, I retorted that I did not want to be ‘set up’ with anyone. Despite her protestations, her descriptions of how he was the yin to my yang and all that jazz, I stuck to my guns and refused to meet him.

I can’t really remember how much time passed. Maybe a few weeks, maybe a few months. But one day I bumped into Faye as she left and I entered our local shopping centre. We chatted briefly and then right after I left her, I spotted a boy.

Tall. So skinny, his clothes almost fell off him. With long, wild, curly, black hair and eyes that looked right into my soul…

And I was dumbstruck.

I excitedly told my friend Faye, in our next history class (as you do when you’re 17), all about my amazing encounter. I detailed how my heart had fluttered and my mouth had gone dry.

She asked me to describe the boy and then grinning (smug as you like) all over her face she told me:

It was him.

Euan.

The yin to my yang.

I did, of course, suitably chastise her for not having introduced us. As is correct for a 17-year-old girl who’s wishing to embark on the fullness of life.

And at some point after that we met again. Properly this time. At a rock disco. And somewhat spurred on by a few drinks, I threw myself at him caught the attention of my man.

He was funny. Kind. Passionate. Always philosophising. Clever. Artistic. Loved his ‘sounds’. Chatty. Argumentative. Liked his pint. He lived in a second-hand army jacket. And fan t-shirts. And jeans. He liked to provoke. He was romantic. Sweet. Troubled. Caring. Good.

We spent the first months of our relationship pretty much in each others pockets. But then things got in the way. Family. He went through the awful loss of losing both his father and his grandfather to cancer. Understandably, he spent a lot of time at home but then he had an opportunity to go away for three weeks. He asked me to go with him. We’d hardly seen each other in the previous weeks, but I had to decline. I had exams to sit. And so he left. Alone.

Meanwhile, my relationship with my parents went from bad to worse and at some point I walked out. Aged 17.

I had my issues and he had his, and when he didn’t turn up to my 18th birthday celebration, I went to look for him and we had an almighty row.

And we split.

There and then in the middle of the street. In front of friends and passers-by.

I could not accept the split. For me it was unnatural. Neither of us had met someone else, or even stopped liking the other one. We just had so much heartache in our own lives that it had spilled over and we were too young and too inexperienced to pull together and deal with it side by side.

For the next year and a half I catapulted around from pillar to post to wall to doorway.

And then, we were both in the same place, at the same time and our eyes met and suddenly, we were together again. I felt so happy.

But we had changed.

He had changed. He was sad. Torn. Battered and bruised. He warned me that he was not the same person that I had once known.

I had changed. I lived my life on the edge and I ached with loss and rage. I assured him that we could go back.

One evening he declined to come out. Said he didn’t feel so well and wanted a night in. I went out with friends, but while I was dancing I had an image enter my head of him kissing another girl that we both knew. It was the strangest thing and it really shook me up. I told myself I was being ridiculous. He’d never shown any interest in that girl and besides, he was at home, feeling sick.

At the end of the night my friends and I headed off to the taxi rank and there he was. And there she was. They denied any wrongdoing, and I had only an image in my head to go by. But soon after, one of his friends confirmed my suspicions and I flipped…

Years later, I bumped into him again. I was married at that point, to my first husband. It was good to see him, we talked and hugged and cleared the air. He apologised, I apologised and he was more like his old self. And me, I guess, like mine. He told me where to head with my life and I listened. The same old passionate philosopher…

I will be honest with you and tell you that in all those years not a single day had gone by, that I hadn’t thought about him.

In June 2002, a mutual friend called me and told me that Euan had died in his tenement after falling down the stairs. Aged just 30 years old.

To this day, despite attending his huge funeral, I still find it difficult to believe that there will be no little Euan’s in the world, no wife for him to be sweet and kind and romantic with and no world to hear his philosophising.

x

Tweeting for God


It strikes me that watching the images of the earthquake in Japan and the following tsunami affecting people all over the pacific region, that I feel helpless.

Twitter is full of well-wishing tweets and prayers. And I would truly and genuinely add my prayers if I believed they would in any way help. But in all honesty, I don’t.

If I actually believed in a God that could intervene in the control of these natural disasters, then at this moment in time, I would be facing the question, why did he/she let it happen at all?

Now I’ve heard many an argument from religious people saying that disasters and catastrophes are brought on by us humans. That God has no control. Or will not intervene. So then, what’s the point in praying to him/her?

I am baffled by religion. Very little makes sense to me. But at the same time I would love to have belief. A belief in a safe passage for my children, my husband, myself and of course, all of the other people that I love.

And I would love to beg or pray for help for the Japanese. For those in New Zealand. For the people of Libya (I know the situation there is not a natural disaster, but I would pray for interference anyway).

And for that help to actually arrive.

Sitting here on the safety of my sofa, I feel useless. I feel sad. It seems to me that we are empowered with endless streams of information. But all we can actually do is read it. Listen to it. And feel it.

To the rest of the world,

Please know that when we watch your plights unfold on television or read your troubles in the news, we feel concern. When we look through our twitter feed we are pleased to learn that someone someone else knows, is safe.

I know it’s not just me. Or there would not be such generosity for comic relief,  and Sir Bob would have remained just ‘Bob’. And the hash tag of today would not have read #prayforjapan.

Many of us look on in our own private horror and disbelief and wish you well.

And it seems for the moment, that is all we can do. Sorry.

That and throw a few coins in a collection tin when it arrives.

Thinking of you,

Sarah

Feel free to sign, if you want to, in the comments below.

Update you can donate here:

http://www.shelterbox.org/

The Ultimate Question


Lori asked a question last night, at the dinner table, of all places. It is for me the ultimate question. Although I can answer it quite easily.

Lori asked:

“What would you do if you found out you only had a few days left to live?”

Her own answer, “I’d do something for the environment, leave something good behind.”

Lori you make me proud. And I know that you will go on to make me even more proud. I trust you. I believe in you and I always will.

Here is my answer, an emotional one for me, which is why I didn’t say anything last night.

Dearest Lori,

If I discovered I only had days left to live I would cherish and organise the last days of my life.

I would spend every waking moment with those I love. My children and my husband. I would give you time individually and together. I would hug you all, stroke you and hold you close. I would breathe in your smell. Imprint your smile and your laughter. I would wipe away your tears.

I would tell you how much I love you at least a thousand times.

I would give you little tips of advice. I would brush your hair. I would ask you to sing for me, again and again, ‘Just one last time’.

I would make an all important phone call, Lori. To your dad in Scotland. I would beg him to accept my wish. That you all stay together here in Germany with Papa. Where you’ve all made your lives. And are happy and safe.

I wouldn’t let Papa go to work. I’d keep him by my side. And I’d show him how much I love him. And wish he’d have a happy rest of a life.

I’d spend times with my most loved friends. And ask them to watch over you all in my absence. And between them, do the job I should have done.

And I’d write. For you and for me.

And that’s it. There’s no where I’d want to visit. Nothing new I’d like to try to eat. No record I’d like to beat.

But your question made me think even more.

Death is a huge problem I just can’t get around. It’s something I can’t beat. No matter what I do, it looms.

Most people, Lori do not have those last days to say, “Goodbye.” Most people do not know they are about to die.

My daddy died when I was seven. It left me with a wounded heart. No one ever really talked to me about it. Someone told me not to cry in front of my mother, because I’d only upset her. So I cried alone, lest I upset anybody. My mum never really mentioned him again. It was like one day he was there and the next he was gone.

He died on March 13th 1980. So almost 31 whole years ago. But I still miss him and wonder what would have been.

As a child I often ‘imagined’ his presence. Strange things happened and I attributed those events to him. I thought he was playing with me. Perhaps I created those happenings myself, perhaps he was there. I don’t know – but it doesn’t matter because it pulled me through that awful time.

The first Christmas after he passed, I tried to send him a Christmas card. On the envelope I wrote, “To Daddy, C/o God, In Heaven”. My mother caught me trying to post it (without a stamp) and took it away and wept.

My hope and wish is that I live to see all of my children grow up. To see them enter their adult lives and be there when they have their own children. Offer support and take part in my babysitting duties. I plan to live for a long time and to enjoy my life. But sometimes plans do not go accordingly.

And your question made me think of all the ‘what ifs’ that haunt me and I thought that it is now time to put those ‘what ifs’ to rest. To let go of the panic of leaving my children behind without a goodbye. By writing my goodbye now. So it’s there. And always will be.

Dear Joni, Lori, Aden and Akasha,

It is my time
I’ve had to go
I will no longer say ‘Hello’.

In the meantime
There are a few things
You four should know

I’ve tried to teach you as well as I can
The lessons in life important for man

The first is love
Is true and real
Never be afraid
To show how you feel

The second is laughter
Heals the pain
Lightens your heart
And keeps you sane

The third is learning
Listen and read
Then apply what you’ve learned
Through all your deeds

Next comes instinct
Hone this skill
Do not just listen
To your own will

Five is adventure
Take a chance!
Life is short and will impose its stress
Take a deep breath
And enter…
The wilderness

Discover your passions
Assess your goals
Question your intentions

Run through the snow!

Naked, if it rocks your boat 😉

Take a moment
Before you decide
From your decisions
You cannot hide

Failure is a test
You will not always know
What’s best –
So
Pick yourself up
Dust yourself down
Try once again
With some experience now.

Take care on your journey
Watch out for each other
Accept the sadness caused
By the death of your mother

Let the tears flow freely
Release the sadness
Inside
Until a calmness comes
Then look back on my life

All the happy moments
That we have shared
The fun
The laughter
The tips
The advice

Remember back
But look forward
To the challenges of your lives
Although I may not be with you in person
I still survive

You have my hair
And you all have my nose
Which of you has my extra long toe?
You have my humour
You my passion for food
You own my voice
You, my sense of rejoice.

I am in your heart
You carry me around
When you cut yourself
It’s my blood that runs out

And watch out:
Every once in a while
Perhaps in your children
You’ll catch a glimpse of my smile!

All of my love,
Mama

Uncle John


To My Dearest Uncle John
I’m sad to hear
that you’ve left us
that you’ve gone.

I’m sad
that I won’t
see your face
once again
that I won’t
hear your laugh,
I won’t see your smile
I can’t tell you
I love you
with the love
of a child.
One who adores
those stories of old
to be told and told.

A warm-hearted soul
A cheeky glint in the eye
laughter flows
from someone who knows
how to enjoy life,
a kind, kind man
oozing honesty and goodness
who showed me simply:
What Is Right.

Belief


I’m up and about this morning and have just returned from delivering my beautiful three-year old to Kindergarten. On the way she called me “cute” which, of course, made me smile. We’ve had a lovely relaxed morning. Lots of time for cuddles, singing and just enjoying each others company.

Now I’m sitting here and I have tears at the back of my eyes.

You may think it’s because I miss her. But you’d be wrong. I’m quite aware that we’ll be together again in a couple of hours and I’m happy, to have a bit of time to myself. Time for me, is definitely one of my needs.

The issue for me is, actually, a recurring theme that haunts me, and I’m not exaggerating, when I tell you, it affects almost every day of my life.

Death.

My death, the death of one of my children. The death of my husband. Those are the ones that trouble me most.

But I also concern myself with the death of my friends. All of those I care about, in fact.

There are, many details that frighten me. For example:

  • The fact I have no real control over my death or that of my loved ones. I do drive carefully and avoid dangerous situations, I eat fruit and veg, I don’t smoke and use sun block etc. But I know that if a mad gunman entered the school, or a drunk drove into me, or one of us became seriously ill, we have no real ability to choose our fate.
  • It’s definite. It will happen. To me. To you. To all of us. Nothing is more sure. There is no avoidance.
  • I dread the pain. The hurt of losing someone I love and knowing for the rest of my days, they will not be there. That they are gone. Only a memory. Never again to witness the beauties life reveals to us. Never again to support. Never again to feel. Never again to be seen or held.
  • I fear living. Living without a person who meant so much to me.

It is at this point that I come to belief. I think the luckiest people in the world are those who have true belief. Those who believe in some kind of heaven, where they’ll, at some point, meet their loved ones once again.

If I had belief, I think I would still feel sad about leaving this life or something happening to one of us, but underneath, I’d have a feeling of, ‘I’ll see you later’, and my life would just be a much simpler existence.

As you’ve no doubt gathered, I don’t have any particular belief. I have friends from different faiths and backgrounds, and it has to be said, I am really happy for them, that their mind is clear. Because mine is, to be frank, a mess.

I lost my father, aged seven. A very traumatic experience. I cried the day he died and a stranger came to me and said; “Don’t cry in front of your mother, you don’t want to make her sad do you?” So I stopped crying. I didn’t cry again in front of my mum, or anyone else for that matter, because I didn’t want to make people sad. My mum never mentioned my dad again.

One day he was there and the next he was gone.

Since then, I have had many experiences of death, so of course losing people is a very real experience for me.

My parents were never church going people but, actually, as a young child I attended Sunday School with friends regularly. I loved it! First we’d go into church and listen to the minister and sing. Then into the hall and play games, draw pictures and listen to stories. I found it a very happy place to be. People always seemed to be smiling and helping each other. Our young minster, truly a man of the seventies, had longish hair and a big beard and he played the guitar.

I prayed a lot as a youngster and I think, truthfully that is where I lost my faith. Not because I asked for a dog and didn’t receive one. No. But because heading toward puberty, I realised, that my true faith in God stemmed from fear. I wanted to see my father again. I wanted to be protected from nuclear war. On death I wanted to be safe and enter heaven. That was what my God was for. And I grasped that I used God to fulfil my needs in life. I felt, in my young, inexperienced way, like a bad person. So I let go of God. And tried to be by myself.

Over the many years that have since followed, I have often come back to this obstacle. That believing in God, is just something that makes me feel safe. And is therefore not a true belief.

As a mature student, I at some point studied some philosophy. One of the themes taught advertised itself as ‘The existence of God’. Truthfully, I hoped for either a proof of his existence or at least a doubt of his non-existence. But neither transpired. The only slight indication of possibility described the philosophers God. That is, the ‘force’ that caused the very initial reaction to bring about the universe. On being informed of this I felt a warmth inside, however soon to be dashed by our lecturers comment, that that ‘force’ would most likely be destroyed by now. Throughout the course, the lecturer revealed himself to be a dedicated atheist. Which would, of course, further explain his teachings.

I am not an atheist. Rather an agnostic. I don’t know if there is a God and I have not been able to figure out how to find out. But I would really like there to be a God and a heaven too. I could go to a minister and try to have him or her convince me of their faith. To help me sleep at night. And just enjoy my life. But that would truthfully be their belief and not mine.

I have some foundations though. I think true faith can only be found deep inside oneself. And inside myself I am convinced that if there is a God, he is good. My children have never been baptised and I’m absolutely sure that if there is a God and a heaven they would be accepted there with open arms. As would I and my husband. And every person from every belief. From every race. In my mind it’s absolutely clear that God would be good and therefore unable to discriminate.

That deficiency is only present in us humans.

Are you religious? If not, or if you’re an unsure like me, how do you reconcile your fate?