Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Joy and Sorrow

We awoke to a pleasantly cool, cloudy day today - a most welcome change after the searing heat and humidity we've endured the past few days.

I'm holding thumbs tightly we get at least a few spots of rain to make it even better, but as we live in a winter rainfall area and this is SUMMER, I'm probably being a bit too optimistic.
Dietes flowering in the wetland garden today.

Another very pleasing thing about today happened when I came to check if any of my favourite bloggers had been busy posting, while I was snug in dreamland last night.  What a delightful surprise greeted me - no fewer than seven (7) had added new posts to their blog!  So I hurriedly nipped off to make a fresh pot of Early Grey tea, promptly poured myself a cup as soon as it was ready and joyfully returned to enjoy some quiet "catching up time" in front of my computer.
Please click the read more button below to continue...
Potted beauties giving colour right beneath the window where I sit at my computer.
I had opened the doors and windows wide to invite the deliciously fragrant, slightly damp, cool morning air into the house.  I could hear Raucous Toad deliriously croaking from the safety of his little pond.  The now, ever-present background hum of the Christmas beetles was carried in to me by the gentle breeze wafting past the open doorway. Visiting birds were voraciously hunting for worms and grubs and twittering delightedly, telling each other the pickings today were especially good.  It felt so good to be alive to enjoy all of this!

My dear, sweet husband popped his smiling face around the corner to tell me  he was on his way out to take the dogs for their daily romp.  I settled, contentedly, to quietly digest each of today's posts...

Overwhelmingly, all of them carried varying nuances of profound sadness, intermingled with a sense of heartfelt joy and gratitude for Life and Living.  And I was reminded of the words spoken by Lord Alfred Tennyson:
"I hold it true, whatever befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'tis better to have loved and lost than
never to have loved at all." 

No more profound reminder to me that Christmas is a time, especially, of family and remembrance of our dear loved ones who are no longer with us.

Some of us have had time to gradually accept the painfulness and heartache that goes hand in hand with losing those who were so much a vital part of our lives.

Others are still battling, on a moment-to-moment and day-to-day basis, trying desperately to make some sense of the losses and tragedies that have befallen them.  No one is immune.  No one is safe.  No one gets to miss out on this side of life. 

To be alive and to love means being aware of and prepared to "let go" when that time comes.  It is never easy.  It is never over.  The longing and missing remain, for as long as we are alive to remember.  This, no more poignantly voiced than on the headstone in an Irish graveyard..."Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal."  

I can't pretend to know what it is like to lose a child or a Mother, Father, Husband or Sister.  I have not had personal experience of any of these losses.

I do know what it is to grieve.  I know the feeling of shock at learning of a sudden, unexpected and tragic death.  I, too, have cried many, many tears.  And, so it is that I genuinely and sincerely feel for each of you experiencing loss and sadness at this time.  Those who are grieving the painful loss of a child and other dearly loved ones.  Those who are worried about a gravely ill parent, I understand what you are going through, too.

I wish to offer my sincerest condolences and best wishes to you all at this time of coming together with your families.  I know that nothing anyone else can say can offer (lasting) comfort.  Only time heals the pain and helps us to move on with our lives.  It's a process that each one of us has to go through at our own pace. 

A very good friend of mine lights a candle in her Father's memory, every single night.  He died over 25 years ago.  An Aunt of mine tragically lost her son in a motor accident days after his 21st Birthday - this now also more than 25 years ago.  She says it never gets easier.  She says you just learn to adjust as there are so many reasons to embrace life, still, through the arrival of a Grandchild, for example and participating in that child's life.  A cousin of mine lost her 18 year old, gifted, good-looking son, just out of school and on the threshold of a promising university career - that was 5 years ago.  Her pain is still very raw - she has two other sons and life had to go on.  She throws herself into a myriad of tasks each day, to distract herself from the pain.  So many people have similar experiences.  We are all in this together.  No life is immune to death.  No one is immune to sadness and suffering.  None of us is able to predict our future, or the end of our own or anyone else's time, on this earthly plane.

All we can do is LOVE, with all our heart, those closest to us.  Appreciate the gift each represents to us each and every day.  Try to remind ourselves to exercise self-restraint when we are angry and short-tempered, so that those who mean the most to us, don't inadvertently get caught in our fire-drill!  We need to be more considerate, more compassionate, more giving, more caring, more sharing.  We need to remind ourselves that life is not forever and we have no idea when things are suddenly going to change.  We need to practise nuturing and appreciating each moment.  Christmas time allows each of us the chance to remember this!




  1. Merry Christmas to you too, Desiree! I like to sit with a cup of coffee every morning and catch up on my favorite bloggers too.

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog and wishing me a Merry Christmas! I'm very glad to have found yours just as we are heading into winter here. Your gorgeous pictures of your lush green garden and your wonderful sentiments will keep me going.

  2. Lovely to have you pop by again, Alison! Your Christmas wishes are much appreciated - thank you :) Stay snug!

  3. You are absolutely right about grief, but life does go on and time really is a great healer. She takes the sharp edge off the pain.

    On a lighter note, I roared with laughter at 'holding thumbs tightly'. I'm guessing it is a wish for good luck. Over here we would say 'keeping my fingers crossed'. I guess that sounds hilarious to you too.

  4. So glad you had a good chuckle, H : Actually, we use both expressions here and yes, they do have the same meaning ;)

  5. Wow..what a beautiful post are a wonderful storyteller with your photos..beautiful posts as always!! have a most wonderful holiday too..and blessings in the new year!

  6. So true, and moving, will hold on to these thoughts this Christmas. Thanks, Desiree, and have a wonderful Christmas, Belinda xx

  7. Lovely flowers, photos and words of wisdom. Merry Christmas.

  8. You also a merry merry christmas Ria....xxxxx...

  9. What a very nice post. As much joy as these holidays bring us, I know for others it's a very sad time of year, reminding them of loved ones.

    I so enjoyed seeing your fresh garden pictures. We've been very lucky lately to have more dry days than wet, the sun is out as I type.

    Merry Christmas to you!

  10. Hi Belinda, Diane, Ria & Catherine!

    So pleased you were able to pop by and visit awhile.

    I feel so privileged to have met you all in the short time I've been blogging (a little over a month, now!) Thank you!


    Des xo

  11. Oh my! This post made me smile. You sound SO much like me. Rushing for my first cup of tea or coffee of the day when I learn there are comments for me to read.

    As I have said...yours was one of my most delightful surprises this evening!

  12. Yep, Mona - and probably driving my long suffering husband up the wall ;) I keep telling him I'm like this... because it's still all so new to me!!! So, now you're telling me, it only gets worse with time??? OH DEAR!
    Better not let him hear that :)


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