I’m on a train going home from Carnoustie, and today I have felt grief more acutely than for a while. If Janet were with me we would be on the train together, and if she was at home I’d have phoned her about my progress, and also would surely have told her about my near-miss errors, such as buying a ticket for yesterday, and discovering it yesterday evening when I went to the station to pick up the ticket from the machine. I phoned the Cross Country call centre, and I must say the people there are so very helpful. The woman reassured me, and then managed to cancel the ticket and issue a new one, with a full rebate due after I post the unused tickets back to them.
I just miss talking to her, about this and that. Rachel knows this because I have now lumbered her with this role.
Theresa, my next door neighbour in the flats, drove me to the station, and to my horror, carried my bags onto the platform! She my age at least! Oh well, give me grace to acceot help!
I thought I’d put a poem up on this site, but I can’t see it, so here it is, apologies if it appears twice…
When Janet died, I became a widower,
wrote it on many forms, when asked for marital status.
I live alone, spend less on food, employ a cleaner,
and paid a lawyer to update the Land Registry.
Simply telling people has been a strain:
I can’t assume that people know, but how
do I know who doesn’t know? I sent emails,
and have a list of those who sent “condolences”.
I bought a Christmas e-card, not expensive,
which let me write a Christmas wish to many:
the e-card enabled me to send a hundred cards,
and less than twenty by post, to dinosaur friends.
“Condolence”, meaning to be sad alongside,
comes close, except mostly I don’t feel sad.
But this is good, not paralysed by grief,
as surely many others are, my life goes on.
Grief does impose, as when I go to talk,
To share a thought, ask her what she thinks.
Sometimes I weep, when talking about her
and say, “I believe she’s with our God in glory.”
And often then I will recount a reason
why time is different for us and God:
God’s time embraces, surrounds, enfolds
our linear time, as fish bowl contains the fish.
God sees what we think has not happened yet:
Janet has been judged, and welcomed home,
because she trusted Jesus’ sacrifice for her,
and she’s with that “great cloud of witnesses”.
I do miss Janet, miss her caring love,
her friendship, foresight, sheer preparedness.
She was so sensitive to the needs of others,
Oh, how I need to be like that!
Peter Campion, 2019 (written four months after Janet’s death).