Well, it's finally happened and Gladys died yesterday. An event waiting to happen for a long, long time, in my opinion. More shocking to note, possibly, is that all I can feel about it is a mild relief and the thought that I won't have to schedule in my weekly twenty minute silent visit to her any more. Which, I have to say, is more than anything a scathing revelation of my sadly lacking sense of humanity. I've been told already by well-meaning friends what a shame it was for "poor Gladys". Yes, well, it's a pitiful end to a life - I don't think dying in a nursing home in the grip of a terrible depression is anyone's idea of a good ending - but I have to say I'm glad it's over. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't.
What's focusing my mind most of all is (a) the nagging worry that in forty years' time (assuming I get that long), it's going to be me. Well, like Gladys, I'm child-free from choice and with very distant family - though in my case that's emotionally and not necessarily geographically. Frankly, I can't imagine anything worse than dying with my blood relatives around me. God forbid. I haven't been that greatly impressed with the sum of them during life, so what on earth would I want with them in the dying process? Oh, and (b) no matter how much I try to reassure myself from a Christian perspective, I have to admit I'm not at all enamoured of the thought of the afterlife. Really, I just don't want to go there. I don't like change and Heaven, should it exist, seems crowded with people - two of my worse-case scenarios indeed. I'd far rather - if I have to think about death at all - be somewhere nice and quiet with Lord H and not have to worry about anyone else. That would be Heaven indeed. Much like being at home then.
Anyway, things I remember best about Gladys and I think are important to note, both bad and good, are: (a) I have to admit I didn't like her that much, though in some respects I admired her and was also, at times, sorry for her; (b) she could be quite cutting about aspects of my appearance (never great at the best of times) when she wanted to be (hence the (a) note); (c) she and her late husband Charlie stole the frogspawn from their landlord's garden when they left the flat they were in to move to Godalming, and I thought that was hellishly stylish - it always made me smile; (d) she and Charlie used to go on a lot of serious walking holidays all over Europe when they were young and once had a sing-song with Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears on a cruise ship round the ship's piano. Totally magical indeed. Oh, and (e) she generally disliked children - which, naturally, I thought was wonderful.
Great post, Anne.
I don't feel there is anything surreal about the thoughts you have shared on death. For Gladys, it sounds like this was a release for her and wether I am right or wrong to say this, I feel this is a good thing.
I don't believe in heaven or hell, but hope for an afterlife where our consciousness remains intact and very much hope, above all else, that it is an existence where Gina and myself will be together. Of course it could just be oblivion, or something else. Well, we'll all find out one day and I'm not afraid of finding out. If it's not oblivion, it will be another adventure I hope. Hehe.
'Heaven' for me would be to be at home with Gina, and is heaven for me in this life. :)
Sounds like Gladys led an interesting life, or at least had some very fine highlights. That is definitely something to be thankful of.
Thanks for sharing.
Thanks so much for the comments, Ryoma. Gina's a very lucky gal, you know!
I didn't know Gladys, but I share your sentiments on death.
Bugger your 'scathing sense of humanity' Anne, I'm really sorry to hear this.
Hope you're ok.
Thanks, Nik! And I'm fine - just thoughtful. Hope you're having a good weekend
Love & hugs
LOL @ your thoughts on the afterlife. And just think, not only is Heaven crowded, but crowded with people I take care to avoid now.
Too true, Loukie!
I've always thought Hell might be more interesting than Heaven.
Good ways to die? As my father always said he wanted to die in his sleep and avoid all the fuss and in fact he did just that having ensured in the last week of his life he'd managed to see or at least talk to everyone who mattered to him. Afterwards we decided something in him must have known.
At least for Gladys it must have been a relief and it sounds as though she had a good life.
True, Jilly! And how wonderful for your father - if you know what I mean. That's really great ...
Love & hugs
What an honest post. It was good that Gladys passed peacefully and had a good companion in life.
I love your tadpole memory!
Thanks, Glynis! Yes, the tadpoles were great ...
Anne, you are without a doubt one of a kind and I adore you. Thank you for being candid about yourself, others and death and that humour of yours never fails to keep me smiling when I leave this blog. HUGS you crazy Brit. :)
Thanks, Val, and big hugs back!
This is a remarkably refreshing post. And in any case, the frogspawn says it all (that is one gem of an anecdote). If you ever feel like reading something different, Anne, try Jean Echenoz's Piano, in which his narrator finds himself having to chose between heaven and hell. Heaven is like a huge park in which he can have a private log cabin, certainly no crowds or unwelcome relatives. Hell, it turns out, is a return to his life but without the good parts. It's a very intriguing book!
Thanks, LL. And that book sounds grand for sure!
At first I was sad to read about poor old Glads passing, I uzsed to so enjoy reading about your mostly silent visits.
But, hey, she had a good innings, walking holidays, stealing frongsporn, singing round the old joanna with Ben Brit, all great stories and great memories.
No one wants to end up lonely, moody, old sitting waiting to die in an old folks home, but it happens and really it's not all that important, more important is the way we get there, the path we take. You my dear will never be on your own, you'll always have friends around you, even when ur on ya last legs in the old folks home. No matter how mean, moody, rude and smelly you get, you'll still have friends to come so you can be rude too!
Speaking of old folks homes, I'm off to one at the emd of the month for a birthday party - my grandmother is having fizzy pop and cake for her birthday - 100th, no less, hasn't got a clue who I am, bey hey ho. She hates going to the loungs with all the other residents because - she says "They're all too old and boring!"
So great to hear from you, Jason!!!! Have been thinking of you loads so sending big hugs your way
Fabulous news about your Grandma - how amazing. Enjoy that party and make the most of it!!! Though actually, Lord H says I'm mean, moody and smelly right now - so old age will make no difference, ho ho
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