Goodbye in any language is a big ask

This morning I got the very sad news that a beloved aunt of my husband had died. Quite suddenly, or so it seems. Having come through an emergency operation quite well, we were hoping for a recovery to carry her that bit further. A recovery that would see her march on a little longer through life. Fearless, feisty as hell and brim-full of the old energy she exuded until roughly one year ago, when even a trip to her favourite market (something she’d enjoyed for years, together with my mom-in-law) was no longer on the cards.

Our hopes were not realised. It came as quite a shock.

I’ve had many shocks like this, in recent years. It never gets easier, because I feel things very deeply. Always have, probably always will. I can’t even say I’ve developed a ‘formula’ of sorts to deal with loss because every time is different from the time before. And hoping I’ll manage it better now is just a waste of energy, which ups the ante even more. Inside my head and heart.

Because heartache wants its moment, wants its ‘pound of flesh’ and if you turn your back on it, it merely doubles in strength, and bites twice as viciously.

When I first lived abroad, I realised there would be moments like this, in relation to my parents, my more elderly loved ones, at home. I dreaded them, but accepted their inevitability. They came, they went, we coped, together. My sister always with me, in spirit if not physical presence. The family I built here waiting in the wings – loving, holding, shushing, calming me. The friends I’ve made never far away.

More recently, it’s been members of my husband’s family we’ve had to lose. A cherished mother-in-law who took gentle care of me and loved, laughed with and at me, for many years. Aunts and uncles, whose sense of fun and mischief appealed to me, whose curiosity for my Irish mannerisms and heritage transcended boundaries and bonded us like childhood friends giggling over past memories.

I’ve been lucky to have found a place in the heart of such a family. Lucky to have enjoyed a home-from-home, as the years went by. But it makes it that bit harder to let go of someone we all love – again – and I’ve been dragging my heels about it, because I know the hurt it brings.

But the heartache wants its moment, so I’ll play by the rules and let myself be sad today for a special woman whose memory I’ll always hold dear.

Thank you and R.I.P., dear ‘Tante Leentje’.

market shopping
Now THAT’s what I call a real bargain!

16 thoughts on “Goodbye in any language is a big ask

  1. I’m not going to do the like button because I can’t like your pain. However, we’re both going through the loss of a loved one so I will say my thoughts are with you. I will say I think I can understand your pain and sorrow but I have to agree with you, those special memories will live in our hearts… as long as our flames burn! 😐

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. I also wish you strength to deal with your loss and sadness. I have been down this road a few times, by now. I know it takes time and a full year to work through each season. But kindness and support, as you have shown, really helps. So hang in. And remember.


  2. Ohhh sweetie I am so, so sorry that you lost your Tante Leentje! But I’m so happy that she made a “snow angel” space in your heart and that you got to enjoy and love her feistiness, her energy and her fearlessness! She sounds like she was a wonderful, marvelous woman…just like you are!
    Please let me know if there is anything at all that I can do for you and it will be done. Please take good good care and know that I will be sending billions of nice and happy thoughts to you across the pond okay?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi again, sorry for delay responding, I’ve had a setback with recovery this past couple of weeks so not online as much as usual. Today a bit better again so, crossing fingers! Thanks so much for your very kind words here, I really needed to just ‘let it out’, you know? I’ve been very lucky to have a lot of care and love around me in NL, and this lovely woman was one of three special ladies (sisters) who took me to their hearts from day one. Now only one remains, so… it’s a big loss. Thx again for the happy thoughts from yonder – they reached me!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m so glad you’re doing better, that is very good news! And I understand completely about the need to let it out, trust me, I do understand. I lost my mother last November but she lived to be 90 and Tara and I gave her a big birthday bash for her April 2014 and we all love one picture from her celebration where she is just beaming from ear to ear! I know you will cherish your remaining special “snow angel” even more now. Please check out my “Snow Angel” poem because I think that that will beautifully describe your special three ladies and your relationships with them. I will always send you many, many happy thoughts too! Take good good care of yourself and always remember I will help you out in any way I ever can 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, and sorry for your loss too. It is such a harsh thing, I really thought I maybe had it ‘sussed’ by now, but no… You have to go thru the pain to come out the other side. But this has helped! 🙂 thanks again and welcome aboard!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course. It’s a sad club to join, but it’s nice to know you are not alone and others have experienced that type of grief too. Glad to hear it helped and glad to be onboard.! Thanks 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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