Sunday, 16 August 2015

My Dear Cousin's parents.


                               

I have no picture of my lovely Aunt and Uncle, so the above will have to suffice.

My Aunt was quite straight-laced and sickly sweet walnut cake, my Uncle was garden shed and spotless apple trees. They lived comfortably in a terraced Shropshire town-house with a small back garden.

But they were truly 'blessed'; they had a son (my 1st cousin) of whom they were extremely, and rightly, proud; he was the centre of their universe.

He had always been an exemplary child, everything he did he did well. He sang in the church choir, he rang the church bells, he passed all his exams with ease, he was accepted into his university of choice with open arms, he was good-looking, he even had a pilot's licence; his achievements seemed endless.

My cousin also had that rare characteristic of being liked by everyone he met, and was regarded by women as being 'highly eligible'.

At my Aunt and Uncle's house there were pictures of him everywhere. Receiving his medical degree, dressed in jet fighter pilot's gear, receiving tennis trophies, etc. Every success had its photo, and every photo was displayed with pride.

Then in 1977 it happened; their wonderful son was murdered.

I didn't see my Aunt and Uncle much after that, I was away in France and they were back in the UK. I would have liked to have been there in the months after the tragedy, but it was not to be.  I wrote letters, of course, but they pretty much suffered their loss by themselves. 1977 was pre-Skype, Email, etc; and at that time we didn't even have a phone; no-one here did.

I saw them a few times in the early 1980's, and we were able to talk, but somehow it felt too late.

Years later they both went to live in a home for the elderly, but I don't know if anyone visited them or not; maybe some did. All I know is that I didn't, and it troubles me to this day. I don't even know when they died.

RIP Agnes and Gib; such lovely people. Life treated them very well, then suddenly it gave them an almighty slap in the face, from which they never really recovered.


30 comments:

  1. Sad story. Family ties are complicated and simple at the same time.I think in each family there are some guilty feelings, we can not be close enough to all parts of the family while our feelings remain the same.

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    1. It is very sad, and made sadder because it was me who left to live away from my family (as indeed did their son who had moved to Canada).

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  2. How sad. I guess you have to say they were lucky they had such good times to remember but still so sad when such a promising life is cut short.

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    1. I can't imagine how I would have felt in their shoes.

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  3. Not that it's any comfort, Cro, but I dare say we all live with that vague feeling of guilt that we could have done/could do more for friends and family. One of my beloved uncles died on me - just as I was picking up the phone to talk to him. How dare he. He was only 68.

    As to your story: The loss of a child I consider life's worst possible tragedy. Tears lives apart. I have seen this again and again and again in close proximity. The eldest son who, at age 21, fled the Russian POW camp and was shot in the back (this was after the end of war), the nineteen year old whose motorbike got the better of him, the five year old Benjamin who drowned in a few centimeters of water, you name it ... so far no one's child has been nailed to the cross. Yes, the death of your child. Every parent's nightmare. Having said that, and on a private and very personal note: I wish I could be at my son's deathbed to see him out as I saw him into this life. Alas, all being well, by the time he snuffs it (no doubt at an old age) I'll be long gone. Makes me sad. Just hope that whoever is with him when the time comes loves him/is loved by him. I could cry. I am crying.

    U

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    1. The prospect of what life (or death) holds in store for our own children, is indeed worrying. I try not to think about it too much.

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  4. It's so sad, and many of us have the same guilty thoughts about neglected relatives. Either through force of circumstances, or because of family feuds.

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  5. Such a sad story Cro and not unique I would guess.
    As for the guilt you feel - I think it is impossible to go through life without gathering a box of guilty feelings which tend to come out when you are feeling a bit low.

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    1. I carry my guilty feelings around with me, but they only surface occasionally.

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  6. How can that happen to someone like him? Car accident,sporting accident, cancer but murder seems to make it more shocking somehow. We never know what fate holds for us or our families...a good reason to appreciate each day and all our blessings.
    I think one should only feel guilt if you have been remiss...it seems to me a starving artist with 3 kids and a wife in another country would need to concentrate all his energy and zeal in keeping his own ship afloat. Priorities mon ami !

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    1. I suppose it was a case of priorities, but I feel they should have been elsewhere.

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  7. I cannot imagine getting over something like that.

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  8. A bittersweet and beautiful post

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    1. They were lovely people, and I loved them dearly; at least they did know that.

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  9. Oh Cro, that's so sad. Why do bad things happen to the people who least deserve it, the ageless unanswerable question.

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    1. He was an exceptional young man, and they were exceptionable parents. A tragedy all round.

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  10. That is so sad. I hope your aunt and uncle were a comfort to each other at the end.

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  11. I am sure this post is making many of us think of the times we could not be there for ones we loved.

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    1. It was meant to make ME think that, more than others.

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  12. It should make us all think about the importance of those around us and to not put off seeing them at any time.

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  13. No one has asked why or how he was murdered! Or is that too personal.b your aunt and uncle sound like wonderful people that certainly didn't deserve their son to go like that.

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    1. My cousin was a prominent doctor in Canada, and his 16 year old neighbour (the son of a high court judge) just happened to be a junkie. The boy came looking for drugs one night, and the rest is an all too common story. My cousin was stabbed 15 times in front of one of his young daughters.

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  14. Oh Cro, I am sure your letters were treasured and perhaps eased more pain than you were aware of. I cannot imagine the loss of a child even though it happens to many but it does sound like your aunt and uncle at least had each other which is more than most.

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  15. I'm revisiting this post. I was feeling a bit sorry for myself today but having read this again it puts things into perspective. Those poor people. They would never have recovered from that. Cheer up Cro...You are still having a dream run on the rails..It's a hot day I'm eating a piece of cold turkish delight with some honeycomb and butterscotch ice cream...delicieux !I know..I know...I'm never going to be beautifully thin:)

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    1. Late comments are always welcome. Your meal is my nightmare; I don't eat sugar!

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