24 November

Elizabeth Onsman24 November is always a sombre day for me, being the birthday of my mother, who died in August 1981 at 61 years old, when I was 20.

Probably more than my own birthday or Christmas or New Year’s Day, it’s on this day I think about where my life has gone and is going, always tempered by “What would Mamme think?”

I suppose my recent musings have added another level to this.

This day is also the birthday of my second oldest brother Harry, who died in February this year at 70. So now there’s an extra level of sadness, for a very different relationship. Most especially, my heart goes out today to his partner Maree and his other family, which I hardly even knew existed.

Just to add to the emotional overload, I’m reading Heather Rose‘s memoir Nothing Bad Ever Happens Here, a beautiful book by a wonderful writer about an extraordinary life. I’m nearing the end of the book and have encountered the book title as she returns to Saltwater River on the Tasman Peninsula, the site of the drowning death of her grandfather and brother when she was 12.  Her words seem very suited to 24 November.

Then it occurs to me that nothing bad ever happens here. Every human life is perfect in its own way. We cannot understand that, because it seems like there is so much suffering. But every life is perfect for what we need to know and learn and see and understand. Even when we don’t understand, even when the suffering seems unfathomable, does some part of us understand? Could that really be true?

Sorry if this is a bit maudlin for a Facebook post, it helps me deal with this day to put it into words. And it might help some others reflect on people loved and lost.

Andrys Onsman, Ynys Onsman and 42 others: 21 comments

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