Monday, 11 June 2012

The cycle of life and death


I have spent the last week dealing with the loss of a much loved uncle, hence I have not had the time or inclination to write much for a while.

His death was most unexpected, as recently as April he was out hiking on his beloved moors, little knowing quite how ill he was. He even managed to enjoy a few weeks of trout fishing, which was another of his passions.

His appearance of ruddy health was in part what killed him, because of it the cancer was diagnosed too late to deal with and within less than four weeks he was gone. Kind perhaps that he did not suffer long but, but cruel to those of us who were not prepared to lose him.

His was the third funeral I have attended in less than three years, some may recall I wrote of another one before.

It is true for most that death tends to come in phases in one’s life.

In your early teens your grandparents generation begin to die, one by one the four of them go, usually the men first and then the women, and others of their age group, people who had been around you all your childhood, and who could be relied on for gifts and treats, are suddenly no longer there.

The pain of those losses although acute are mercifully short lived, the lord’s kindness enables children to move on and to somehow understand that old people die.

However, sometimes people die out of turn, and that is different. My beautiful aunt, the wife of my, once equally handsome, uncle who died last week, died thirty years ago, when I was twelve, in a sailing accident which shocked us all, and makes me nervous even now when my eldest son goes near the sea.

My uncle never remarried, and until his death he still spoke of her, as if she was still there and had only gone for a while.

For most people then two or three decades pass before the next phase of deaths begin. I was unlucky in that my parents both died before their time and I had lost both by the age of thirty two. But now in my forties it is the time when my parents' siblings like my uncle and their friends who came of age after the war or in that most hopeful decades, the 1950’s, to begin to take their leave.

Unlike the fleeting grief of childhood, the pain of that loss, the loss of parents, never really goes, or certainly it has not left me yet.

I guess when they have all gone if I am lucky thirty years will pass before my own generation begin to die, and that third phase of funerals will begin. And, then of course it will be my turn to take the journey my faith still tells me I will take.

Some break the circle and die young, like my aunt, and then my first ever boyfriend who died in his 20’s. We had split up some time before, but had remained friends and I still mourn and miss him.

On the other hand, others like my grandfather’s sister, my great aunt, live on into their 90’s, still walking dogs, and holidaying away from home at least once every year as they robustly approach their century.

The cycle moves on and we can never know when our day will come, or what mark if any we will leave when we go.

I suppose that if those we have left have reason to cry that we have gone, as we all had reason to cry this week, then we will have achieved as much as most in life will ever do and have little else to ask for.

16 comments:

Tia Mysoa said...

Please accept my heartfelt sympathy on the passing of your uncle. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

alanorei said...

Dear Sarah

This is indeed a sad time for you and the offering of condolences can't really change that.

However, it may be that times like this help us to have a clearer vision of how precious to us are those close to us who remain.

Will be thinking of you.

Alan O'R

Anonymous said...

Men die and cattle die ....... but some things are eternal.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7Oj5DqUr-8

Anonymous said...

Fortunately, my family is quite dysfunctional and each member is emotionally distant from everyone else. So when one dies it is a big deal to only a couple of their closest relatives. At least there is a good side to being in a crappy family all your life!

The Dragon said...

Sorry to hear of your loss, Sarah. The cycle you speak of is never ending and is so sad. When I am in a melancholy mood, I perceive life as a sort of reverse jigsaw. When you become old enough to be aware of your surroundings, the jigsaw is complete, as it were, and you have a picture of all your loved ones and contemporaries in your mind. But as life goes on, odd pieces of the jigsaw disappear and so it goes on. As you get older, we see that the jigsaw has many gaps in it. Sad, but that's the way it is, unfortunately. God bless.

Anonymous said...

For what it is worth, I offer my condolences as well. I greatly respect your blogs and articles, which I find among the best online. The loss of anyone to whom you are connected is therefore a loss to anyone involved in the resistance.

Dr.D said...

I am sorry to hear of the death of your uncle, Sarah. These are always difficult times for those of us that remain behind. The Book of Wisdom has some very comfortable words for us at this time:

But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them.


In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure is taken for misery,

And their going from usto be utter destruction: but they are in peace.

For though they be punished in the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality.

And having been a little chastised, they shall be greatly rewarded: for God proved them, and found them worthy for himself.
(Wisdom of Solomon, 3:1-5, KJV)

Take heart, and find your consolation in Jesus Christ, Sarah.

Dr.D said...

I am very sorry to hear of this loss, Sarah, Please read from the Book of Wisdom, 3:1-5 for some words of very great encouragement that are most relevant at this time, and then find your solace in Jesus Christ, Sarah.

Anonymous said...

Something has happened to undermine the cycle, since more of our people are dying than are living.

I think that the spectre of death is, or should be, one of the powerful motivating forces for reproduction. In our society, it is not. We have been conned into a sort of bubble of delusion, whether by the welfare state, or modern PC culture, so that we do not feel the pressing responsibility to replace our own people as they pass on.

Partly, I think we have been brainwashed into undervaluing the achievements of previous Europeans; we are propagandized daily that people are fungible, that anyone can be British and all we need to do is live for the moment.

Anon.

John McNeill said...

This is why children are so important. Deceased family members who have offspring don't truly die, but live on through their descendants.

Anonymous said...

Those who pass on to us beauty and grace give us a glimpse of eternity.
May they rest in peace. Joe

Anonymous said...

Maybe he didn't die


Quote:
'DNA in the Y chromosome is passed from father to son'
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y_chromosome

Keith said...

I think the hardest of deaths to bear is when your child dies.

Sarah, I've been following your blog for a long time now and this is the first comment I've made.

My son died when he was 28. He didn't know that he was ill, we didn't know, until it was too late.

He was in the prime of life. He had so many plans for the future.

This happened 22 years ago and I'm still devasted. Now I'm all alone.

Sarah Maid of Albion said...

Dear Keith

Thanks for your comment, I am glad you enjoy the blog, and I am sorry it has been a bit quiet recently.

I am so sorry to hear about your son and fully understand that you would still be devastated by the loss, as the mother of two sons I know I would be the same.

That is a loss I can hardly start to imagine.

You have my deepest sympathy.

Sarah

Sarah Maid of Albion said...

I would like to thank everyone who has left messages of sympathy regarding this posting.

Also to those who have written to me privately, I will respond as soon as I can.

Thank yo

Sarah

Anonymous said...

A sad day for you is also a sad day for me and I am sure for all of the righteous minded people who support you in your endeavours to remove the evil from this planet. May the God of our Saviour be with you in Spirit and in Truth and give you strength in your hour of need. No one truly knows what or where we go after this life but I am sure that wherever your Uncle is now that he is very, very proud of you indeed. Keep up the good work for this world is in dire need of righteous minded people such as you.