Remembering Time

After the author Derek Tangye lost his wife, he wrote that the bereaved person had two lives, a forgetting life and a remembering one. My two lives seem to follow a seasonal pattern, and my remembering time starts at the end of March, each year, when blood lilies make their appearance in gardens around the place.

Blood Lily or Ox Tongue Lily (Haemanthus coccineus

Blood Lily or Ox Tongue Lily                    (Haemanthus coccineus)

It was a dear friend Quentin who showed me blood lilies at his place, when I’d gone there for counsel in March 2009.  Both my daughters’ birthdays were approaching but my husband was also in hospital dying, and I was pretty stressed out. His birthday was the day before my girls’ birthdays, and his death day as it later transpired, was the same day as my husband’s, but a year later. Anyway I simply had to have a blood lily for my garden after that, and each year when it appears I think of Quentin.

Remembering time lasts from late March to early September, and during these months there are a number of anniversaries and family birthdays, and all of them challenging. Each year the emotional mud I wade through gets lighter, and I would have thought this year I’d be okay, given that we have been given a new trauma to adjust to since last December.  But the new trauma seems to have added to the general mud, as well as extending the whole yearly anniversary season. It makes you wonder if by the end of your life that you will have accumulated painful memories for all year round! Surely some must ease with time.

But I also kind of like remembering time, it makes me feel closer to my late husband again, because for the rest of the year I am busy with the concerns of the present. And if I have a tough day I can always do what Kate Llewellyn likes to do, and that is plant things. And fortunately remembering time coincides with planting season here!


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