2007 — 13 November: Equally mournful (and cold, wet!) Tuesday

Time now (08:48) and I can tell from my present sluggish state that I stayed up too late last night / this morning. But I already knew that: when Big Bro phoned me after midnight (having just had an email from me, and correctly deducing1 I was therefore still awake, if not quite firing on all cylinders) I'm afraid he promptly bore the brunt of some unpretty language as I vented at him for a couple of minutes. Sorry, Bro. It's not your fault my wife has just died... this must be that "anger" thing that well-meaning but essentially mild chaps2 like me have written about in all those theoretical Coping with loss booklets I guess.

Meanwhile breakfast beckons yet again. Maybe that pack of bacon3 is still edible? Makes a change from all this ghastly healthy cardboard cereal...

What an odd planet... department

I've remarked before on the oddness of this planet (or, to be more precise, the oddness of some of the predelictions of the primitive, ape-descended life-forms that run riot over most of its nicer areas). Today's Guardian tells me of the Warhol portrait of Liz Taylor that is likely to make £17,000,000 for its current owner, actor Hugh Grant. If I thought $9,000,000 was a lot for the same "artist's" portrait of Mao...

When junk mail gets it wrong... department

I'd like to thank Steve Arnold, promotions manager of Club La Costa. He's just invited "you and your partner" to enjoy a romantic three or four night break at Trenython Manor Hotel and Spa, though he does insist that "all couples must attend together and have been married or co-habiting for a minimum of 12 months". Furthermore, he adds that at some point we will be required to attend an informal (90 minute) presentation on his products and services. Steve, your flyer made me roar with laughter. Thank you.

When sympathy mail gets it right... department

Thank you, Richard and Christina. Although it hadn't (yet) occurred to me, Christa does indeed now have a day set aside to Her memory. "Christa Sunday" might well be called "Remembrance Sunday" by other people, of course, but it's a perfect day to remember from now on. And thank you, Jane M, for reminding me of the poem "Remember me" by David Harkins, too. This was more about unrequited love, but you can see how fitting the words are...

Lis hits the bullseye

Lis has also sent me her favourite text. I deduce Lis and Iris would get on well together. This text is (also) very much to my taste and on target:

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

Mary Frye?

Although I freely admit that (until the last six months or so) I was rarely in the habit of contemplating mortality, it seems many wiser more literate souls than I have been doing so, and expressing themselves more beautifully than I think I ever could on the subject. Mary Frye's poem accords very well with my personal conviction that the cold body now lying six miles away in the mortuary waiting for its bureaucratic flight clearance is not my Christa — though it did once house Her for Her fleetingly brief time on this planet with me, and indeed with us all. (I must never forget that many other people are also mourning the loss of my Dear Girl.)

My dear friend Carol in New York wrote to me just after I'd warned her that Christa herself sensed how close She was to death. Here, in part, is what Carol said: I am so sorry. Not that the ordeal is ending but that the world — and most particularly you, and Peter — should lose such a gentle, kind, magical person. Not all the world knows what it is losing, but I count myself blessed to be among those who do... I can't put it any better, can I?



1  No flies on Big Bro, you know. None at all.
2  I don't remember having tantrums as a child. But I did discover I have (to my horror) within me the potential for a murderous rage. I made this unpleasant discovery back in 1983. I was visiting Christa in hospital while She was just recovering after Her first cancer surgery (yes, my poor Girl has really been through some grim times medically speaking during our time together). I had my (then) 3-year-old son in tow. A very large chap was "minding" a film crew while they were making some form of programme in and around the (private) hospital entrance. He tried to stop me going in. I icily pointed out my situation and wish to get in. I did not even raise my voice (I repeat, my little lad was in tow). I mildly pointed out that no power on the planet (least of all, him) would stop me getting past him and through his crew. He (Jeeves-like) shimmered slightly, and suddenly there he was with a large SUV between us, silently gesturing me through. I only discovered I was literally shaking with rage about ten seconds later. I assume he saw something very nasty in or behind my eyes.
3  It was a tradition for Christa to make me a "cookie" before we set off on any longer trips, such as up to the Midlands to visit dear Mama. Now it can be told: She always burned the fried egg. I never mentioned it, although I believe on one occasion I did mutter something about nailing it to the wall (which cracked Her up). I always figured if She cooked then the least I could do was jolly well eat the result!