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" When a loved one departs this world because of illness and  age , you know it is going to happen that the end is near, but it still comes as a shock , has he or she has really  gone , at the time you don't really realize that it means forever, never to see them again, that part of your life is over. I was married for over 65 years.

The final details take up  your time and  mind , the gathering to celebrate the life of your loved one, family,   friends and neighbours comforting you.  

After a few months reality sets in, who do you chat with over your early  morning cup of tea or coffee , you have the dog , the cat is always there .   They are full of understanding,  they miss the departed one too . The company and the pleasure of talking about the planned day's activities  are only in your mind not being shared with someone you love.   Meals prepared for one  ,   where is the question of what do you feel like for lunch today.  

You are told by friends  the loss takes about 2 years to  accept and recover from,  but that is not true, it gets worse if anything.   You miss even more the company , the  discussions,  the different ideas and opinions that give spice to life .   You miss the  partnership of doing household chores, planning something new in the garden , watching together  your  favourite TV shows.    Putting up with him or her watching their favourite show , but not yours.

It is something that comes to all of us at some stage in our lives,  perhaps some can handle it  more successfully  , but I think until it happens to you  it is hard to imagine the  impact and change it does have on your everyday life.   There is one good side to all of this  and that is , what would life have been like if you had not had the good fortune to meet and   love someone  who meant so much to you. "  ... Redhead

I thought about this and wondered to myself how does one cope? How does life go on after death? 

It brought to mind the difference between divorce and death. Part of me thinks that divorce is worse because the person who left you left because of betrayal and lack of loyalty … you can't mourn or grieve. You just get angry. 

You go to bed at night thinking that the person is still alive and laughing and having fun and destroyed everything you hold dear.... family get togethers gone. Family unit destroyed. Bitterness and resentment. At least with death, the person did not choose to leave you. The person did not set out to abandon you. Did not want to leave you alone and bereft. In fact, the person fought to stay with you and struggled to stay with you..... it was not something done out of selfishness and hatred; it was a departure that was unwelcome for them as it is to you.

Maybe there is no point in trying to do anything to " ease the pain ". Like a quote I once read said,  " you don't get over it, you just get used to it.
Maybe this is where therapists and do gooders who try and come up with " coping mechanisms " are missing the point. They will only ever be coping mechanisms. There is no solution. It is just coping. Distraction, filling in time,  getting used to it.

I am reminded of a dedication I read in a book some years ago. The author was dedicating the book to his newly born daughter and said " I did not realise how empty my life had been until I met you. " 


Years ago, I was swimming off the coast of Queensland at a surf beach. I got caught in a rip. Panic set in and my mind hit the filter button and I lost all reason and logic.

Fortunately, two young boys on their surfboards paddled over. They were about 10 years old. One of them approached me on his board and held out his hand. He said " I got you.It's OK. I got you. " 

Calm set in. He told me to look up at the sky, ignore the water, just look at the sky and hold his hand and then grab the board. I did as he instructed and he took me back to shore. 

And that is what is missing when a loved one dies. There is no one there to say " I got you " and to hold out their hand and calm you down, guide you back to shore whilst focussing on the sky, rather than the rip and the turbulent water.

Betty Boop misses that guiding hand, that calming voice, that friend who was always there when the seas got rough. there is that sure knowledge that the hand extended was held out with love. That the hand has been taken way, the kid on the surfboard is no longer there, is frightening. 

But. And there is always a but. 

If the boy on the first surfboard had magically disappeared, I would have had the backup of the other kid.

Maybe, just maybe, the other kid was not as calm, not as supportive, but he was there nonetheless. If you are drowning, grab hold of any hand you can - because, chances are, the hand was sent to you by someone who loves you.

It may not be the hand you crave, but it could be the hand you need.

As Redhead said " There is one good side to all of this  and that is , what would life have been like if you had not had the good fortune to meet and   love someone  who meant so much to you. "

In conclusion, imagine going through life and never having felt the warmth of that hand, that calming voice and that supportive friend. Imagine 65 years without that love.Redhead, you were the recipient of a gift that many of us would envy, few experience and fewer still value when they have it. 

There is a kid on a surfboard. Hold his hand if he offers it to you. And don't stop swimming. 





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