The winds of change blow indiscriminately, sending you hither and thither without conscious volition. It might be a good thing for those like me who find it difficult to move into one direction or another deliberately. Times change and we change with them.
Or, as Dr Samuel Johnson had it (in his Drury-lane Prologue Spoken by Mr. Garrick at the Opening of the Theatre in Drury-Lane, 1747)
When Learning’s triumph o’er her barb’rous foes
First rear’d the stage, immortal Shakespear rose;
Each change of many-colour’d life he drew,
Exhausted worlds, and then imagin’d new:
I love the phrase “each change of many-coloured life he drew”. I should hold on to that thought, accept that change is inevitable and maybe even welcome it. Taking baby-steps. Life is for living and 'for the living’ and living it means being part of it in all its many-coloured facets. Death and grief are part of life.
The Syrian satirist and philosopher Lucian, whose works (written in ancient Greek) were wildly popular in antiquity has several very suitable quotations:
The world is fleeting; all things pass away;
Or is it we that pass and they that stay?
Realise that true happiness lies within you.
Not every story has a happy ending,
but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth telling.
Beloved’s son and daughter in law came for a flying visit all the way from the US; as you know I live way off the beaten track, far from motorways and airports, and I would have understood if they had chosen to save themselves the extra two days’ travel to spend time with a relative-by-marriage only. But they came and I am both grateful and very appreciative; I had a great time with them, we talked about everything under the sun: politics, literature, music, travel, family news and, of course, Beloved. I handed over old photographs, family documents, music Beloved had written during the course of his life, even his school reports and records of prizes he’d won during his studies. I still have a large box of poems and diaries and other writings; in due course, after reading everything myself first, I will pass them over too. Beloved’s son is very like his father, in looks, bearing and intelligence; having him was almost like having Beloved again. It was a good visit.
My step-daughter-in-law was most encouraging, she told me that I must get a decent hair cut, find a colouring product that doesn’t provoke an allergic reaction, look after myself and get out from under the cloud of sadness. She also told me the story of an old aunt of her’s, who lost her husband in her early seventies and lived for another 20 years, apparently enjoying every minute of it, going travelling, making new friends and indulging her every whim.
Very well, I will try.