Monday, 16 April 2018

Well That's A First !

Last night I was moved by an episode of Antiques Roadshow
It's not a phrase I think anyone hears often.
What moved me was the story behind a box of children's treasures, a box from the 1940s when a poorly/ housebound little girl called Catherine amused herself by hiding clues around her home which would lead the future homeowner to a hiding place which contained her box of goodies. The goodies as it transpired were simple things, an ink pen, a spoon, a purse containing pennies - a favourite book but to the present house owner ( who found the clues some seventy years later) the treasure was a delight snap shot into the past
It moved me greatly.

When I was out with Mary on our power walk this morning, I tried to recall situations that had really moved me. Times which stung at the soul and will remain with me always .
Even though this list will ebb and flow depending on memory and insight  this is what I came up with

  • Walking silently around a near deserted Theresienstadt concentration camp on a bright sunny day and shadowing a distraught former inmate and his family on their first pilgrimage to the Czech Republic from Israel .
  • Watching Five middle aged sisters hold hands and sing their dying father's favourite hymn as I reduced the support of his ventilator settings.
  • The " ghost hens " ( six fat broiler hens I rescued from a factory farm) emerging fearfully into sunlight for the first time where they sunbathed with a breeze in their faces and grass under their feet.
  • Dancing on the roof of a Sheffield hospital with friends in the dark and feeling more alive than I thought possible
  • Visiting my first dog Finlay at the animal hospital he was admitted to for the first time ( and thinking he would survive a condition that eventually killed him soon after ) 
  • Seeing The Prof uncharacteristically smiling too much on the day of our wedding.
Yours? I be interested to know
The ghost hens 

113 comments:

  1. my friend dying of cancer in july 2002

    my cancer diagnosis in june 1989

    when I knew my first marriage was over september 1990

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  2. OMG John ..... wasn’t that brilliant on The Antiques Roadshow ...... I would have loved to have found that. I hope they find out more about Catherine from viewers. It seemed like she had a tragic end which was the sad part.
    Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam was very moving for me. XXXX

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    1. http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=791816.27

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  3. Holding my children's hands as we walked back up the hill from the paper shop on a Sunday morning. Seeing our combined shadows and realising that the loveliness of that time would not last forever and that I should sear that memory in my mind forever. And there it has remained as a monument to the joy of parenthood.

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    1. There seems to be something in my eye

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  4. That moment just before I walked my daughter down the aisle....

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  5. Each time a grandchild was born and each time I was able to rescue an animal. Bless the beasts and the children.

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    1. Grandchildren and children. Alas something I will never experience

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    2. Probably not but the good you put in to the world and your relationships with the children in your life benefit all children.

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  6. Each time I see a dog trotting happily alongside its owner, tail proudly up, perhaps wagging, and jaws hanging open in 'smiley' fashion (in both cases I mean the dog not the owner) it gives me a noticeable 'lift'.
    But you're asking about our rarer moments so I'll have to think about that. Maybe making my First Communion, when I was totally innocent and 100% gullible (at the age of 10, I think).

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    1. Raymondo....dogs do exactly the same to me

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    2. Conversely, when I see a dog cowering, tail between legs, while slouching along reluctantly beside its owner it depresses me for ages afterwards. I feel a desperate urge to rescue it and bring it back home with me.

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  7. John, I love The Antiques Roadshow, mostly for the paintings, sculptures, jewels, vases, and other treasures. I've not seen that episode with Catherine the little girl who hid treasure, but I am curious now.

    Your list of moving moments is haunting and beautiful and evocative.

    Off the top of my head, the short list of the most significant events that happened to me and changed my life forever:

    1. The death of my father. I was eight. It was the first time I had ever seen my Mother breakdown from sorrow and cry so hard with grief. I was terrified. I didn't even recognize that the still, lifeless stranger on the bed was my father. His rigid, dusky corpse was so unlike the vibrant, loving, strong, lively, larger than life, kind, and wonderful man that I loved and knew.

    2. The first Christmas after Dad died. The present that changed my life, and the passing of my mother. It is a strange feeling to realize that you're an orphan now, even when you're an adult when it happens.

    3. Last year of high school, realizing that I was leaving home to see the big outside world. Suddenly aware that the small farm and remote coast I had always considered ordinary and boring was something special, that I was leaving a place that nurtured me, a family that loved me, and overwhelmed that I was very possibly never going to see my home nor my family for a long time (or possibly ever again) once I embarked on this journey, to follow this undeniable wanderlust, to find my place in the big outside world.

    4. Being reminded of what is truly the spirit of The Holidays. My heartbreak at realizing the sacrifices my friend was making to make a better life for his family. The impact of hardship on small children.

    5. Suddenly finding first real love--unexpected, adventurous, life changing. Experiencing unbelievable, ecstatic, wonderful happiness in being in love with someone who changed my life for the better. The joy and bliss of just being together--laughing; dancing; singing; walking; watching gorgeous sunsets, the resplendent moon and stars, and stunning sunrises; just being content and happy in each other's company, saying everything and nothing at all just by being next to each other.

    And having it all ripped away suddenly, unexpectedly. It killed me. Life was over. It was one of the most painful experiences of my life. I've never recovered from the loss. So I died. And it took a lot of effort, and time, and love from family and friends to help me move on, to live with my shattered soul and broken heart.

    But life is for the living, so every day that I wake up, I remind myself that I have an opportunity to go after my dreams, to do the things that make me happy, to be with the people that I love, and to find joy and beauty in the world around me, and do what I can to make the world a better and more wonderful place to live.

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  8. A story my 75yo dad told me a few years ago. When he was about 5 he picked a bunch of rhubarb and filled a wagon with it. He pulled it through town trying to sell it. He thought he would sell all of it but didn't sell anything. The way he told it I could see the little boy and his disappointment.

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  9. Too many to remember. I wrote a really nice tribute to my stepmother a few weeks ago on Eff Book when she turned 80. I cried a bit at my memories. I feel sad for my future, when my mother dies, or my partner....less so for me when I die.

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  10. Waking on on May 14, 2015 and being able to move my legs and wiggle my toes.

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  11. Too many to tell but the latest one was yesterday when all of a sudden I was just overcome with the knowledge that one day either I or my husband will be alone without the other and I had to go and hold him.

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  12. Iv'e a few but one of my most special - we, me - husband and three kids had been for a horse ride of some distance in really rough terrain (our property backed onto state forest). The evening was fast approaching and we were cantering home up a steep mountain and we got to the top.. the sun was starting to set and the sky was gold pink and bronze. We sat mesmerised by the stunning beauty hearing the kookaburras call their last goodnights and the horses blowing beneath us and I looked behind at our shadows of five horses and riders with one loyal little dog and I will never forget that moment.. my family and their trusty horses and little Nicky the whippet who just adored those rides!

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    1. You can just imagine the scene by your words

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  13. In the birthing room, April 23, 2009, holding my grown daughter's hand and telling her that her newborn baby girl was perfect and everything would be all right even though baby was dark blue and not breathing after 7 minutes. I can close my eyes and hear NICU's Dr Gray working hard and saying over and over "Come on baby, come on baby..." and refusing to give up. And then a teeny tiny little cry. God was there that day. Everyone else prepared my daughter for severe complications, but in the NICU Dr Gray told me she felt there would be none. Dr Gray was right, Lily turns 9 on the 23rd and is perfect in every way.

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    1. Oh my ......I feel emotional reading this

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  14. So many times in this life of mine. All of them had to do with love, the main ingredient of joy/contentment/peace AND happiness.

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  15. Too many to pick from but I wanted to say how much I enjoyed this post John.

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    1. Thank you but as usual it's the comments that make the better reading

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  16. Giving my sweet Doug, my heart dog the last gift....freedom from pain and old age. Having to walk away and leave his lifeless body. My heart broke and will never heal.

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  17. Walking in the opposite direction to my son this morning as he walked to the train station back to University. I will never get used to our goodbyes.

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  18. Val, North London3:31 pm

    I used to play in an adult education orchestra, sitting at the back desk of the 2nd violins next to P. who had Alzheimer's, a lovely player but incredibly hard work for her family because she never kept still, apart from when she was playing the violin. I was a bit miffed at first because I'd joined the class as a break from looking after my 3 kids and there I was looking after her, but we made a good team - I'd keep her on track during rehearsals and she'd play everything perfectly and make it seem effortless, so I copied her bowing style and fingerings and learnt a lot (I wasn't a beginner but a very rusty adult returner and I couldn't play at speed). She only came for a couple of terms but I vowed I'd play as well as her one day.
    It's now more than a decade since that class and last December I got to play the piece P. and I had worked on all those years ago - except this time I played everything, not quite effortlessly but almost as well as P. taught me.

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  19. * My dad walking me through his gardens and yard and telling me the names of all his plantings. He was most happy to talk about his beautiful bitter sweet vine and red twig Dogwood. Both of which I have in my gardens. I think of this often . . . he died soon after.

    * In a taxi, rounding the corner, my first catch of Sistine Chapel . . . I was in tears of awe, not of the place as much of the feeling of joy and gratitude to travel, be there.

    * Tower of London . . . I cried . . . sure I had been there in another life.

    *. Watching the pure happy spirit of my great granddaughter. Joy beyond words . . . She carries a little pad of paper and pen to draw, 3 almost four . . .

    *. Wish I had seen the Antigues Roadshow . . . I was moved to read you . . . your dog Finley . . . oh my . . especially with our little “love” not feeling well . . . I have never known such love as her . . .

    Thank you John, I love this post . . .

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    1. I remember looking up between the twin towers on a misty Sunday ,,,,a year later..

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  20. My friend's crippled, 90 year old mother being helped out of her wheelchair so that she could throw her handful of dirt into her son's grave.

    An elderly neighbour, on being told by the doc that he didn't have to take on the task of nursing his ailing wife said, 'I believe I promised to do just that in my wedding vows'.

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  21. When nothing more could be done to save my beloved 4 dogs & to be with them whilst their heart stopped beating & they then passed on & their peaceful body lay still x

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    1. I've worn that t shirt five times now

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  22. I've just this minute been rather moved by Bok stopping on our walk, and holding up his front right paw. In it was a big thorn, which I removed. He then began to lick my hands as if saying a huge 'thank you'. It almost made me cry!

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    1. It would have done. The same to me

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  23. Visiting northern New Mexico up in the mountains and mesas in my late teens and seeing a night sky filled with stars, more stars than I'd ever seen. The Milky Way was brilliant and dazzling. I immediately started to cry from the sheer beauty of it and I have tears in my eyes right now remembering. I live in the country now and our sky is full of stars but I'll never forget that first night in NM.

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  24. Poor ghost hens!

    I tear up at anything these days. Even commercials. I'm such a sap.

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  25. When I married my husband I knew he was HIV positive, and that he loved to fish and walk in the woods.Believing we could improve his health and extend his life by living where he could do those things I looked for a home where it would be easy to do it all.

    As we were moving furniture into the lakeside house we'd just bought he sang a lyric-"two cats in the yard, life used to be so hard, now everything is easy" ...

    He lived another 17 years, recently I was straightening paperwork and found a Valentine he'd given me. I smiled for a week remembering our years of happiness together.

    Thank you another wonderful post, fondly, Mary

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  26. Walking my 5 year old son to his first day of kindergarten. His Dad and I holding his hands as we walked down the street.

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  27. I will always remember the moment a little boy with Autism touched my shoulder and said... 'dragon'. He never spoke to anyone and I had simply sat for a few minutes with him while I showed him how to make simple paper beads. He wanted me to make a dragon (I went home and made one for him) After that he always sat next to me and in complete silence showed me each thing he had made. He had never taken part in any activity at the club before. I will remember that moment forever

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    1. That sounds like a movie moment x

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  28. sometimes music really makes me go. In Vienna at christmas one year I was really emotional at Vienna Philharmonic. It was bad my face was blotchy and stained.

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    1. Hearing " au fond du temple saint" from The Pearl Fishes for the first time here

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  29. I still remember our whole family watching the news when they announced that Bobby Kennedy had been shot. We went to see the train carrying his body home and it was one of the few moments I saw my grandfather cry.
    Seeing my grandkids and my daughter the first time.
    I went to the graduation of a young man who was a student placement in our office and realized I was the only one there for him. We quickly organized a grad party at our office for him. I always think what if I hadn't gone. He loved the party and has gone on to have a remarkable career.

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    1. A powerful shock for old and young

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  30. Life is such a moving experience, for good or ill, we are molded by it all.

    My dad died October 1997, my mom 1998. Expected for both, but still life changing.

    I was married in 2002 and we had a son in 2011. Our child was an unexpected gift because we believed we could not have children. We are thankful for our little person everyday and the joy he brings.

    Recently we buried a friend's darling aunt. Her memorial service was a typical Catholic Church experience, until our friend's partner got up to sing. He did Ave Maria beautifully, but it was his rendition of "Over the Rainbow" to end the service that had quite a few of us sobbing.

    I have also been in mindfulness therapy so healing myself has been emotional. I recently "forgave" myself for the first time and the tears flowed freely.

    Thanks to you and everyone else for sharing their stories.

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    1. Eva cassidys over the rainbow gets me every time

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  31. oh also, the night in the desert in Egypt when I saw Saturn through a telescope and you could see the rings. OMG even now I have tears in my eyes. An amazing night

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    1. The depth and breadth of these comments ..., ! I am loving them

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  32. Watching my mom slowly fade away from cancer and my dad trying to deny the truth for as long as he could.

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  33. Anonymous6:22 pm

    I was 14 taking my 5 year old brother for his first day at school, Mum had died the previous year. Hadn't a clue where to go so joined a queue of women and children snaking up some stairs. I was in my school uniform and had permission to be late. A dragon lady came out of the office and was most unpleasant and loud wanting to know what I was doing there and asking 'where is his mother?" I just said 'she's dead' . the whole staircase was silent and staring. The cow just said well you should have come to the office took his hand and sent me on his way. I kept my tears to myself till I was out the door. I can still see that little boy standing at the top of the stairs amongst all those strangers *sobs!*. And I can still look at him and fill up and he is now pushing 60 and fat and beardy! Love him to bits even if he does like crap music!
    Elaine

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  34. Oh gosh this is a wonderful post and selection of comments. I have a lump in my throat and strangely watery eyes.

    Situations that really moved me, the deaths of all the animals I have had the pleasure and delight to call my own ... including cats, dogs, chickens and a couple of tortoises.

    But the one thing that stays with me always and moves me totally is knowing that as my beloved Dad lay dying in the hospice that had cared for him so well, with his hand cradled in my Mums and her voice in his ears, somehow the phone in my Mums bag connected itself to his sisters home phone, and from her home miles away from the hospice she could hear the final few moments of her brothers life as it faded away.

    No one had dialled the number and the phone had not been used that day. We don't understand the whys or wherefores but it happened with lots of witnesses and brought the three of them together in that most moving of final moments.

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    1. Oh sue that's quite a beautiful story

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  35. Back in the 80s I was a nurse and a male patient was very close to dying, he was in his early 30s, his wife brought their 2 small daughters to say a final goodbye - the two girls were in school uniforms as the mother had known the immediacy. I still gulp at that memory. A happy moment was one of those early mornings: summertime, blue sky, very quiet and sitting outside with a cup of coffee, 2 green woodpeckers sat on the fence and just looked around minding their own business before they flew off.

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    1. Yes I would like to add a memory of watching the Ukrainian village at full capacity .
      A dusk!
      The ducks ( Indian runners) some 6o hens, the geese and the turkeys and guinea fowl all slowly heading for the sleeping quarters ....

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  36. Well, I've had many happy moments that have whelmed my heart with emotion, also my share of devastating moments as we all do, but just reading these stories now has made me tear up repeatedly and I must now go distract myself before I become a maudlin puddle....

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  37. I was fortunate to be present for the birth of my grandson. In the first seconds after his birth he had a wide eyed expression of a knowing of so much as if he had been here before. It was magical. A minute later he had the typical scrunched up face of a newborn. I have never forgotten that first look on his face. It made me wonder about the possibility of reincarnation.

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    1. I am so lucky to have seen several births but never had an emotional connection

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  38. Anonymous7:33 pm

    When I realised the sister who I loved so very much is no longer part of my life or family, she is still there but only like a distant friend. My whole life up to 3 years ago I knew we could rely on each and grow old together, all our family's celebrating life, I saw a photo of her recently on Facebook and realised I just don't know her, my heart aches.

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    1. This is such a sad comment and makes me want to know more about the situation

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    2. Anonymous8:49 pm

      From one Anonymous to another: It happens. About nine years ago my sister, the person I was so close to, the person who ranked in terms of devotion and affection second only, albeit by a long mile, after my son, took it upon her to try and tear up my life. She succeeded. In as much as there loads of people not talking to each other any more. Succeeded, in as much as she put me, her sister, through that most enviable position of mourning the dead when they are still alive. It took me three years to stop crying day in, night out, at having lost her - remember, she is alive. Her children, my nieces and nephews, only recently I had to tell, whilst stemming tears, that any train (of reconciliation) has left the station. For that she left it too long. I dare say we won't even meet at either of my parents' funeral.

      As far as a family's bankruptcy goes we did grand.

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    3. How sad.....I have two sisters... I couldn't bare loosing either of them x

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  39. Anonymous7:47 pm

    I was sitting in the park on my lunch break when a young man parked in the handicapped parking spot. He reached around and took out a wheelchair, locked it in place, and easily moved into the chair. I lost it when I saw that both his legs were gone, and then, he wheeled around the car, opened the door, and out came his three-legged dog. I don't think I will ever forget that moment.

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    1. I experienced so many of these moments ....it's a privilege

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  40. My eyes have sweated up a storm reading this post.

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    1. I think we all have had that problem

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  41. Thank goodness I have a box of Kleenex tissues right next to my computer. All of these stories are so beautiful.
    My most moving memory is being alone with my newborn daughter holding her as we watched her very first sunrise through a murky hospital window. It was my favorite sunrise.
    Others are watching the hearse carrying my Grandmother in her casket back to her home and being so angry that she came home in a box instead of being allowed to die at home.
    Nearly drowning at the age of 16. I learned how to swim after that.
    Driving as fast as I could to get to my father as he nearly died (saved by paramedics and still with us, but it was the most terrifying feeling)
    Welling up when my son made a speech at his wedding thanking me and his father for being there for him.

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  42. he was 43 the picture of health until he got cancer.
    i was 33. old enough to know what it all entailed... from losing my mother to it. but young enough to want to fight it. fight it with everything in me. and that's what i did. right up until he died. i never gave up.
    my tears at first were for him. the suffering and all it involved.
    what makes me have that silent sob now is that i didn't allow him to share his dying with me. he must have felt so alone in it... with his wife... his little best friend still fighting the stupid enemy. I've learned now. and i'm old. a chance he never got. if i had it to do over i would have BEEN THERE for him.
    this is a powerful post john. i'm like you and steve reed. the older i get the less it takes for me to tear up.

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    1. Perhaps Tammy we all see things a little clearer........that's why we weep ....

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  43. My mum left us when I was 11 years old, my dad and I muddled along trying to make life normal for my brother 12 and younger brother 6 and sister 5 years old..two memories, me buying my little sisters first school outfit for September, unfortunately I bought summer clothes in a sale I think and the second was on Christmas Day that year and me running down the street with the turkey pan asking the neighbours how do I make gravy.
    My last memory was when my dad died a few years ago and realising that grief can physically hurt.

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    1. Debbie, thank you for sharing that, what an awful responsibility for a young girl to assume xx

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    2. John I think it’s what any older sibling does, assume responsibility for the younger ones and try and make life easier...My older brother who I adored died at the age of 46 which was devastating and I didn’t think anything could hurt as much p, but It’s the physical pain that I felt when my dad died that I can’t explain..

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  44. I’m now going to have the largest G&T and find a new box of tissues...

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  45. This has been a most moving entry and replies.
    Madly rushing a friend to the airport so he could fly to NY and get famous. Climbing pine trees as a child and living in an imaginative world. Discovering what history really was when I lived in Yorktown VA, USA. Walking on winter beaches...singing, alone to the wind. Being very blessed by wonderful friends who are no longer with me. And being very blessed by having a second husband who is a delight in every way...still. LOL

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  46. Horrible post natal depression made me terrified to be with my son so my mother brought him up and I got used to watching him go to her until the night he was terribly ill and all I could hear was him saying he wanted his mummy, he wanted me and that big hole in my heart finally healed.

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  47. Finding my loved nana on the floor dying when I was 10 years old.

    Holding my mums hand as she died at age 61 from emphysema.

    Cradling my sweet cat Puss as she died from renal failure.

    Holding my dad's hand as he died two years ago from and cancer. Thanking him for loving us and letting him know it was ok to go - his job here was done.

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  48. My daughter's first day at play School, her first day at school. The nativity plays in the infants. Her last day primary school. Seeing her in so much pain and not able to get comfortable for weeks after having major spinal surgery. Now, reading your post and all the comments and many more.

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  49. Triggers John triggers.. Gabs

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  50. Visiting Ground zero with my daughter and feeling the water gently on our faces, so moving. Sadly the rest of our group were unmoved which upset us. We will return one day x

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    1. We went on our last trip, it remains a somber place

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  51. Anonymous12:48 pm

    Several years ago, a good friend brought his granddaughter to a Justin Bieber concert for her thirteenth birthday. She was thrilled once she realized their destination and soon were anxiously waiting in their seats for the show to start. They were approached by workers and told that these were the wrong seats, but how could that be? They had tickets, very expensive tickets, etc. They were led to the first row, seats reserved for a select few. Apparently, the sight of Katy, a child with Downs Syndrome, and the fact that she proudly told everyone it was her birthday caused a lot of good people to pull strings.

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  52. The moment I heard that my younger brother had taken his life was the turning point that changed my life forever. He was 19 and I 23. I realized how fragile life can be and the importance to be true to yourself. One year later or so I met my husband, Ron. I knew from the second I met him that this was another turning point. The moment I saw my mother lying in her bed after she had died a few hours earlier. The stillness and peace I felt was very overwhelming at first. She lived an extremely unsettled life for 87 years due to mental illness.

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    1. Jimbo , I have been moved by this a few times as I remember asking questions about your brother when you blogged ... so sad x

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  53. This was a wonderful post John . . .
    Personally . . .
    And to be a part of all the others . . .
    Flowing many a tear . . .
    Thank you once more . . .

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  54. My grand daughter, just under one, I had become her babysitter, and she visited our house one day with my son and daughter in law, she took a few tottery steps and when she reached me buried her face in my lap, a gesture of love which still brings me to tears. Phoning my father in hospital in England, the nurse gave him the phone and he said to me "I shouldn't worry about all this" and I knew he was telling me he was going to die and it had cost him a lot to say those words without breaking down. It was the last time I spoke to him he died shortly after. Finding in my mother's bedside cabinet after her death a note on a scrap of newspaper to me " Never forget we loved you, you were our world". Thank you for asking the question.

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  55. I feel so blessed again in my marriage after Doctor ODUMODU brought back my husband that separated with me for one good year. Am ALENNA by name from ROMANIA. Even though i have mouths all over my body, it won't be enough to thank Doctor ODUMODU for his help upon my life. My husband separated with me for one year and have been in pains and agony without him. So, i searched for help everywhere but nothing worked out not until i meant Doctor ODUMODU. I explained my situation to him and he promised that my husband will get back to me within 48 hours as far that my heart still beats for him. I believed in him and he prepared a spell for me and my husband called me exactly when Doctor ODUMODU said. He pleaded and said he needs me back and now we are living happily again for the past 9 months. Everyone out there reading my article that needs help should contact him...Emil:drodumodusolutions@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

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