Monday, May 8, 2017


Sixty-four.  Had she lived that’s how old Magucha would have been today - May 9.

I am not sure how others do it, but I find that coping with what Life (with a capital L) throws at me to be a continual rather ad hoc arrangement. Everyday, every moment, is different.

What I am doing is coping in my way with my grief. I know that I could wallow in a “poor me” trough – but I realize that such an attitude would not do me any good. But grief is not just “grief” – some amorphous “thing” out there somewhere. It is personal.

My way of coping is to try and “meet” my grief head on and attempt to understand the how and why. I mean the woman I loved, my wife, my best friend Magucha, is dead – has “passed away”. I can’t change that fact. I can’t deny it. To try to ignore it; to try and hide it; to try and divert my attention from this fact just doesn’t work. Not for me anyway.

But it is very hard. I look at some of the many reminders of her that are in the house we shared and I can remember the time and place, when and where the photos were taken, or the items purchased, or when the gifts were received or given; I sit down at a café and I immediately recall the table we sat at and what we ate when we were last there together.

It is of course a fact that we all suffer grief at some time in our lives. People have died of old age, illness, in battle, on expeditions and in various other tragic or violent means since humans first walked the earth – grief is always with us.

Being the person I am and as a human being, as a husband and father, I have a strong desire to know, to try and understand.  I am deeply curious but it is all made harder because I suspect that I will never understand what happens at the end. I am not alone in this and why I think that from the earliest times humans have had a belief (hope?) that there is a hereafter of some sort. But are we ever supposed to know?  

In my case my grief is compounded by the mystery of it all. I just have to accept it! But what has happened to the “person” – not the body - but the essence that was Magucha? I find it incomprehensible that her love, her intelligence, her vitality, her emotional strength and empathy have just disappeared into nothing. After all it has yet to be determined what Life actually is (that “something” that makes any living thing, “alive”) – it may be beyond our knowing.

But why is there something rather than nothing? And why us?

As always in moments of high emotion I find solace in poetry.

Shakespeare expressed this mystery in his timeless verse:
“The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn
            No traveller returns, puzzles the will.”

Rabindranath Tagore, in a more accepting mood, also wrote:
Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.”

And Shelley, long before Tagore, obviously had similar views when he wrote:
“Peace! Peace! He is not dead, he doth not sleep, -
He hath awakened from the dream of life;”

    Even though only 62 when she died, she lived her life to the full and Magucha, to quote Kipling:
   “Filled the unforgiving minute 
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run.”

She did this every day and was glad.

It comforts me to believe that Magucha no longer suffers, that she has gone before me, gone on ahead, and that some time in the future we will meet again. That love will always win in the end.

I hope. Maybe - but who knows? I still have my memories.

1 comment:

Caroline Campbell-watt said...

Beautiful. Very true ad very well written. xxx