Helen’s Insights: Death puts Life into Perspective

“Death puts Life into perspective”

said Ralph Waldo Emerson back in the mid-19th century.  And he was right.  Is a blog the place for these thoughts?  I’m not sure, but social media is omnipresent in our lives, and as Shakespeare said,

“Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak

Whispers the o’erfraught heart, and bids it break”.

A dear friend of mine echoed this when she told me of her work as a volunteer Samaritan, and the problems faced by those who grieve, particularly in this British ‘stiff upper lip’ culture of ours.  We simply don’t talk about emotions – we have icons for them 🙁

Yesterday, I received the tragic news that one of my oldest friends had died.  Just even writing that seems beyond belief. As a fallout of my divorce, our long relationship had become a casualty.  Nobody’s ‘fault’ – just ‘life’.  But just last week, she’d reached out to me again.  We spoke a couple of times and I’d promised to call her again when I returned from the States on Saturday.  But that turned out to be too late.  My memory file has flipped into overdrive and I’m overwhelmed by the constant stream of recollections.
I reached for words to help and as soon as I read this, by Thomas Hardy, I was visualising Del’s vivacious smile and hearing her constant, raucous laughter.  For anybody else grieving for loved ones, I hope these words help you too.

“Regret Not Me”
Regret not me;
Beneath the sunny tree
I lie uncaring, slumbering peacefully.
Swift as the light
I flew my faery flight:
Ecstatically I moved, and feared no night.
I did not know
That heydays fade and go.
But deemed that what was would be always so.
I skipped at morn
Between the yellowing corn,
Thinking it good and glorious to be born.
I ran at eves
Among the piled-up sheaves,
Dreaming, ‘I grieve not, therefore nothing grieves.’
Now soon will come
The apple, pear and plum,
And hinds will sing, and autumn insects hum.
Again you will fare
To cider-makings rare,
And junketings; but I shall not be there.
Yet gaily sing
Until the pewter ring
Those songs we sang when we went gipsying.
And lightly dance
Some triple-timed romance
In coupled figures, and forget mischance;
And mourn not me
Beneath the yellowing tree;
For I shall mind not, slumbering peacefully.

Dedicated to my dear, dear friend Del. Sleep peacefully x

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