Ticking of time

The mind roams often with inconsequential thoughts that never pause long enough to allow a pen to scribe or pencil to scribble.

Yet, on the other hand, the inability to forget cradles memories that linger, lifetime-lasting, not dissimilar to chiselled stone. Does the dim mental studio of the mind really know how much we don’t know? Life is a journey with death an indefinite departure. That much is a certainty.

The 30th of this very month marks the sixth anniversary of a sunless noonday when my Little Lady passed beyond the dark curtain of death, where human affection in no way could follow. The canyons of my mind echo each helpless moment as clearly as though it was taking place immediately prior to yesterday.

The young appointed coronary doctor, whom we had known for years, was summoned to pronounce the recorded official death. As he followed the simple procedure, he looked as though his mind was stricken with thoughts too big for him to handle.

But words lacked necessity; a hand placed firmly on my shoulder silently told it all. Life’s pendulum had made its final swing. Fifty-three years we had shared in marriage. She was 42 days short of her 75th birthday, having lived seven years longer than her mother and only three weeks short of her sister.

The geometry of dreams and fond memories leave recollections of our first years together with a rifle rack on the wall above our rural route aging farmhouse kitchen door. The blood that runs through my veins is definitely not urban. Nor was that of my Little Lady’s; she was content and happiest on roads that wander beyond the pavements. Mid-Depression born, as I, she grew up country, enjoying the nestled frugalities ever prudent in farming life, and passed, as she had lived, happy with the simplest of many pleasures that the cycle of living naturally presents.

The jumbled alphabets of life don’t always spell success. No one knows that more clearly than she and I. The high tides of life included the births of our four healthy children – the oldest, a girl, followed by three boys.

We watched them grow to maturity while building our dream home with a cathedral ceiling and open fireplace that could be viewed from both upper and lower floors. This nestled on a select acre of fertile black loam, mid-centre of the home farm where I grew up, followed by a double carport, greenhouse and 20-by-40 swimming pool.

This, too, included the driving home of a brand-new LTD Ford station wagon, which conceived the hidden talent of taking off in triple directions, including music lessons, band practices, concerts and what have you, in which kids, drums, accordion, banjo, guitars and yes, too, a pocket-size mouth organ, while forgetting not a finger size tuning harp, all of which managed to somehow be regurgitated from within.

The heart-shattering tsunamis crumbling completely our life came later; enduring hand clasped tightly in hand at the gravesides of two fatal accidents that took the lives of two grown sons, our oldest (25 years, seven months, and 0 days) and youngest (17 years, seven months and one day). The shuddering heart-wracking reality of “ashes to ashes and dust to dust” spaced so shortly by two and one-half  years, completely turmoiled the mind, tumbling forever the unanswered questions: Why? Why? and Why?

It was my Little Lady who shouldered the brunt of shunting needed necessities. There were many times that she single-handedly faced the challenges while I failed to fight back the flow of tears. I, personally, was a basket case. If there is anything more disheartening than losing two of your four children, then she and I were blessed in not having to experience it.

The ups and downs of our life were many, with highs and lows jumbled, not evenly mixed. There were many challenges entirely not of our own making, yet confronted each time by my Little Lady. Her smiling, pleasant, upbeat attitude was second to no other. She was not one to turn her back on anything or anybody; head on, with a smile, was her determined unique nature.

Though time forever tolls, a longing love still lingers, with many unforgotten memories clinging contented within my heart, aborting complete uncertainty, that if it was possible to live my life once again over, it would be with none other than my one and my only, “My Little Lady,” forever, and indeed beyond ever, at my side.

Take care, ‘cause we care.




Barrie Hopkins