Friday 27 November 2009

A life well lived

My friend Susi died in her 80's after a long and well lived life. I went to her funeral this morning with my Mum. I count myself lucky to have known her smile for the short ten or so years that I did. I didn't see much of her this grieving year of mine and that I regret. I will miss her.

You might know that I have no religious beliefs, but my friend Susi did. So I went along with her many friends and large family to say goodbye at her church. I found myself shedding a tear for Susi's granddaughters who wrote a poem to their Oma* and cried through it's reading and the shy one who sang a song, and after, hugging her twin sister Hanna. But not for that long life filled with love and well lived. This is how it should be; the correct order of things: the old die and the young grieve. At the end the vicar said something that struck a chord in my battered heart.

She said that you should never try to fill the hole left by someone who has died. You should leave that space inside you just for them. Trying to fill that void will make grieving harder.

And don't we know it; grieving is hard enough as it is.

I have always maintained that I won't follow any grieving schedule. Those who think I should be "over it by now" are simply wrong. My journey is mine. If in a month or five, ten, fifteen years time I find myself stepping into that gloomy place again I know there is light on the other side and avoiding it will only make it loom larger and darker another day. I have to feel what needs to be felt.

There is a George shaped hole. The edges aren't so sharp after a year but the hole is still there and always will be.

It is how it is.

I miss my boy.

And I'm stepping back into the light.


PS. Sling some baby making vibes our way wilya please?

*Grandmother in German. Susi and Hanna escaped from East Germany after ww2 and eventually found themselves in England, Susi married a Polish man and had three sons and many grandchildren. Susi was variously a bookkeeper, a masseuse and beauty therapist, an administrator, stay at home mother and a home wine-maker. She took to computers in her 70's and often called on me to help solve a pc problem or go swimming with her. She always had a smile and a giggle.


  1. Sorry to hear of Susi's death Barb, she sounds like a remarkable woman. Hugs

  2. I am so sorry Susi's passing :( You are so right, that space will always be there for those we miss. Light is good, but it's unrecognizable without some dark as well. Better days are ahead!

    Sending T-O-N-S of baby vibes your way!!!

  3. Thinking of you, Barb. And sending those vibes to you as fast as I can.

  4. Susi did live a full life. That is definitely how it should be. Parents should not have to bury or cremate their babies or even children. There is something very very wrong with that picture. Good luck with baby making :-)

  5. Slinging all kinds of thoughts your way, my friend.

    The vicar sounds very wise. I like it.


  6. Barb, this is my third attempt at leaving a comment. The words are not coming out right today. So instead I just send you my love and hugs.

    I am so sorry t hear about your friend.


  7. Susi sounds like an amazing woman.

    These are such beautiful words and so true. You are right, it is how it is. There is a hole in our lives that we can't fill, that we can't mend. We'll always miss them them but that isn't incompatible with stepping into the light.

    Slinging with all the strength in my body.

  8. Thanks for sharing Susi's remarkable life with us Barb. Its true that the hole will always be there.

  9. Beautiful post, just lovely.

  10. What a beautiful sentiment about each person having a special place. And you are right- grieving happens on our own schedules- not someone elses. Take the time you need, as you need it.

    Welcome back into the sunshine, my friend. And, of course, many vibes your way...

  11. She sounds like somebody who had an amazing zest for life....she will be missed.

    And I am singing beautifully (alright alright just imagine it like that)...December is the month for love and making babies....Good Luck!

  12. It definitely sounds as if she had a life well-lived. Sending sympathies in the loss of your friend. Couldn't help but agree when you said it was the correct order of things. The elderly pass on after they've lived a full life. Lives shouldn't be cut off so short.

  13. Welcome back into the light. :-) Yes, the hole left by someone passing might change in shape and...what...edge texture?...but never goes away. Thanks for putting into words what I've felt every day.

  14. Susi sounds amazing. A life well-lived, indeed. Sending some baby vibes--tout de suite. xo

  15. Thank you for sharing Susi's wonderful life with us. What a beautiful post and what beautiful memories.

    Vibes winging their way to you right now.

  16. Sorry for the loss of your dear friend Susi, Barb. What a wonderful message from the vicar - thank you for sharing that. Thinking baby thoughts for you. xo



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