Monday, 5 November 2012

Guest Post By My Mum: A Sad Memory

Many are familiar with the lines "Remember, remember the fifth of November"; my family and I will always remember this date for a different reason: it was on Nov. 5th, 2009, that I returned from work and found my husband dead on the floor in our living room.

Several times I have written about this - for me -  most life-changing event; for instance here and here.

Today, it is my Mum's guest post that commemorates Steve's death on my blog:


A Sad Memory of a Lovely Evening

Once a week I go to a kindergarten, to read and show picture-books to the little girls and boys. There are about 45 kids between 2 1/2 and 6 years old. It is always very cute and pleasant for me, and, so I hope, for the children as well.
I am quite integrated in every event the kindergarten starts, such as Christmas, Santa Claus (here called Nikolaus), Easter, not to forget the summer fest and the good-bye-party for those children who leave the kindergarten in autumn to start school. 

And one of those nice events is every year at the end of October: The kids have built lanterns of paper and light them with a candle inside (mostly with a battery-light nowadays...) and then all meet in front of a small palace at our home town. A lake belongs to it, it is called Monrepos, that means "my rest". We meet there at dawn, and all the parents, grandparents, siblings, aunties and uncles are supposed to come and celebrate the lantern-procession together. 
The kids baked apple-bread in the kindergarten, the parents bring children's "punch" (of course without alcohol, a mixture of hot tea and juice, honey and spices), and we ate and drank after walking around the lake with the lanterns lit.

Three years ago, the same event was going on, and I enjoyed it so very much, to be among them all. We walked around the pond in the dark, our way lit only by the lanterns, singing songs, one dad played the guitar, one granddad played the accordeon, it was really something for the heart! And I was so happy there. 

One of the teachers drove me home, I hurried up to our flat to tell my husband about my evening- and then: He was waiting for me, saying: "Don't take your coat off, we have to go to Meike's, her husband died a few hours ago." I was so shocked, I couldn't even believe, but I had to. I wonder, how could I be in such a good mood, while my son-in-law died nearby without feeling anything about it?

At once, the world stood still, nothing was as it was before, especially for Meike, of course, but also for me.
Since this time, they always invite me to join them again for the walk with the lanterns, but I refused, I could not do it, the memory is too bad. Maybe I can manage it this year, when the day repeats for the third time.

28 comments:

  1. Hello Meike and Meike's Mother:
    We can only imagine what a very sad time of year this is for you and are, of course, so very, very sorry. Time does, as you will know, heal but memories live on for ever. And in some respects that is no bad thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Jane and Lance,
      oddly enough, today felt not much different from any other working day. Of course Steve is always on my mind, and some days more than others, but I can certainly tell the difference from how it felt after the first few weeks and months and how it feels now.

      Delete
  2. This is such a sad and touching post. I can understand why your mother has avoided the festivities, there is something very horrible in thinking you were happy when a bad thing was going on. I am sorry this is such a sad time of year for you and your family, Meike. I don't think I had read the posts you linked to so I will go and read them now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jenny. I have encouraged my Mum to go to the lantern procession, because I think although it would possibly make her sad at first, and maybe bring her close to tears at the beginning, it would altogether be a confirmation of how life goes on and create new, happier memories.

      Delete
  3. Thinking of you - Somehow, I had not realised you were widowed so recently Meike. I have been looking back a little - and was struck by your first post on Sleep, and another on Sadness. Although it must have been a terrible, sudden shock, and I have no idea what sort of relationship you had together, it has also opened up a new way of life for you and you are discovering new areas and interests. I hope the sleep remains better and the periods of sadness are passing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fi, you are very kind!
      It did indeed change my life and opened many doors for me. Most of the time, I sleep well now, and although there will always be moments when sadness overcomes me and I have a good cry, I accept these bouts of sadness as part of my life and deal with them as they come.

      Delete
  4. Meike, I shall be thinking of you today. When my own husband died, I think the best description I was given (of grief) was that, over time, it turns from a wound into a scar. It never disappears, but it becomes less raw. I hope this is the case for you, and that this anniversary passes without too much pain. So good that you have your mum for support. She wrote a very moving post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Frances, that description really fits very well. Incidentally, I used the same comparison when RJ and I were talking about Steve's death yesterday. I know you can relate to all this so well because of your own sad experience.

      Delete
  5. Meike, I am thinking of you very much. In September it was the fifth anniversary of my husband's death. I knew that his illness would end in death, but when it came it was because of a terrible accident in the nursing home. One is never prepared. You are so much in my heart. You are so full of life! I know that must help with healing, but also, I know that our families are the greatest help for healing from such a blow, and you have a wonderful family, I think.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kristi, I have often thought about how knowing someone has a terminal illness would make their death affect us in a different manner than something as unexpected as Steve's death, and I agree with you that nothing really prepares us for it in the end. Families and friends are what helped me enormously, and keeps making me grateful in so many ways.

      Delete
  6. Not having discovered your blog until rather recently, Meike, I did not know about the circumstances (or time) of your husband's death. Now I went back and read the posts from the past that you referred to, and so I learned a bit more. There's a lot to deal with when someone close to you dies; however it happens, it involves major change. I also recognize the sense of shock described so well in your Mum's post. With my parents dying in 2009 and 2011, I've been through "similar" even if not the same. And certain times of year will always bring up those memories more than others. I think Frances makes a good point about wounds and scars though. I wish you a good year ahead with new good memories to add to those from the past.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Monica, and you are so right about all that you say! Those new good memories have been continuously coming my way for the past three years, and I intend it to stay like that for a long time to come.

      Delete
  7. Your family is in my prayers today, that you may feel peace even as you continue to grieve.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is very kind of you, thank you!

      Delete
  8. So sorry, Meike. My husband has some health issues and what happened to you and to Steve is a recurring nightmare for me. Take care and God bless, xoxo Carol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Carol, you are very kind and I hope you won't have to see such a nightmare come true.

      Delete
  9. Tears welled up in my eyes when I read your mum's line about your dear one's sudden death. No matter how one's mate dies, it's hard. I wish you comfort and hugs from those you love throughout this day.
    My youngest granddaughter said to me one day after my husband died, "I don't know how you are so strong, Grams." I responded that she and the others kept me going. Bless you, Meike's momma for being there for your daughter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Norma, your kindness and ability to relate to what happened is touching, thank you. I am indeed grateful for having my family and friends close by.

      Delete
    2. Hello you all,
      thank you so much for your kind and encouraging comments. Your understanding is really great, since 3 years are no time at all.
      Fortunately Meike is strong and of cheerful temper, always moving forward.

      Delete
  10. This is a beautiful post and I say thanks to both of you for sharing this on Meike's blog.
    I find it very moving to read of the children with their lighted procession, perhaps this was lighting his soul on its way? This is just a thought, and Meike, do you remember me telling you that we were instructed to keep singing when a man collapsed in church recently? I suppose that is what made me think of this in this way. I am sorry for your loss, such a shock for you all. Take care.
    Love,
    KAY

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Kay, yes, I remember you telling me about that incident at your church. You are always so sweet and kind, thank you!

      Delete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I always find it hard to know what to say in circumstances like this. In many ways death of a spouse or a child is very hard to come to terms with. We expect our parents to die before we do and we expect our children to outlive us. We do not expect our partners to die when our relationship has been so short. So when the unexpected happens we are not so well equipped to deal with it. I think, Meike's Mum, that your post is a moving tribute to a situation your family and Meike have endured with dignity, fortitude and an acceptance especially on Meike's part (hers was the most immediate loss) of the reality of the situation, which I have admired since I have been a follower of this blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Graham, thank you - I know that your own bitter experience is not free from tragic loss. To me, it is not important what people say or write in a situation like this; what counts is the fact that they do keep in touch and don't shut one off out of fear of saying or writing "the wrong thing". There simply IS no right or wrong in that case.

      Delete
  13. I was watching a program on people who had near death experiences. Many of the folks that passed on didn't want to come back, they were free of pain free of worry, feeling love. I do find that comforting. After all they are not suffering, what happened to them is over. I think it is good to celebrate life on earth as we know it. Join the lantern walk and let your balloon go so to speak.
    x Lorraine x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lorraine; my Mum has not joined the lantern walk this year, maybe she will do so next year.
      My husband was neither in pain nor any more worried than everybody is about normal stuff in life, so he did not need to die in order to get out of an unbearable situation. But I am glad he died so quickly without having to suffer any long-term illness.

      Delete
  14. Oh I didn't mean to suggest your husband was pain or worried in life!! I meant that the moment of his passing is now over. He is not in pain, or worried.

    Basically your mother should not suffer for something in the past.
    Course you can't force her not to feel pain.

    All in good time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lorraine, you are so kind! Yes, I think the same and hope my Mum will eventually be able to enjoy that particular outing with the kindergarten again.

      Delete