Monday, 11 November 2019

Remembrance Day … Making Peace with Death …


On this day of Remembrance we will all be viewing departures from this life in different ways depending on our life experiences and those of our family members gone before us …

 
A British charity providing financial, social and
emotional support to members and veterans of the
of the British Armed Forces, their families and
dependants; their motto "Service not Self"

… I mentioned in my last post that I went to see an exhibition in 2012/3 about the value of art in communicating ideas about death - back then I wasn’t quite as ready to see it – yet felt compelled that I should …

... but decided to wait until next year to post about it … there’s quite a lot to show and mention …


The Cenotaph in
Whitehall (2014)
So today – I’ll be remembering everyone I've known who has left this world … including the lady I befriended over the years my mother was in the Nursing Centre - she died eleven days ago, two days after her 80th … 



Eirene - Goddess of Peace

... she had not had an easy life - eighteen years of it had been spent in the Nursing Centre … but with the encouragement and care particularly of the staff, and us, she had a lovely happy birthday, perked up considerably, dying in peace … all we can do for others helps …




Cardinal Newman (1801 – 1890), who has recently been made a Saint (our first since 1615 and more about him anon), stood for the life of the spirit against the forces that would debase human dignity and human destiny …


His Eminence Saint
John Henry Newman in 1881
before his canonization


This today is the simple message I hope we can remember … we need to be compassionate to all and to understand each other …




I watched the Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph, … which always brings tears to my eyes reminding us of who and how many have helped through all the War years … 

We Will Not Forget …

Royal British Legion

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

44 comments:

Geo. said...

Thank you!

Chatty Crone said...

Thank you also to remind us. Also I am so sorry about your friend. I bet you are a wonderful compassionate friend to many.

Jo said...

Sorry to hear about your friend. These days being in one's 80s is not all that remarkable so It's a pity she died "so young".

I wonder how many people will really honour Remembrance Day.

Hels said...

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month! The Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph also brings me to tears every year. Ditto at the shrine in Melbourne.

Powdered Toast Man said...

What if I forget to remember?

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
I am a big advocate of such remembrance - thank you for this post today, Hilary. YAM xx

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Geo - many thanks ... they deserve our Remembrance ...

@ Sandie - Remembrance for us here in the UK is the 'accepted' time World War One ended. I was pleased I was able to spend time with her.

@ Jo - she'd been ill for many years, of which those 18 I mentioned I had been in one room in the Nursing Centre ... so hers was a very difficult life - sad too.

Certainly looking at the people joining in the Cenotaph Service in London, and each and every town and village having their own Memorial ... quite a few - it spreads through the generations ...

@ Hels - yes the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month - the Service is always one I remember. I know Commonwealth cities and towns also remember.

@ PTM - I'm sure you wouldn't forget ... those men and women did so much to give us this life today ...

@ Yam - I know it's wonderful that we do remember all those who fell, were injured and who helped us keep our freedom ...

Remembrance Day - today is so important for us all in the free world - thank you for remembering and being here ... Hilary

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

What a lovely post. Thanks for the reminder to take time to be grateful and remember.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I do not wish to be a contrarian, Hilary, but I am not a huge fan of Remembrance Day. I wish we could realistically look forward to a time without war, yet we keep adding new conflicts to the memorials and cenotaphs. We never lack for conflicts to take the lives of our young people; conflicts entered into by aging politicians and fought by young conscripts. When I was young I had an uncle by marriage, who I did not know well, but he had survived the Battle of the Somme. It had made him a pacifist for the rest of his life. He did not feel brave he told me, he did not merit the accolades of others. He was there because he had no choice, was scared out of his wits the whole time, and would have done anything not to be there. He was a member of a veterans group, perhaps the Legion, I am not sure, but he left within a year. He felt that the conflict was glorified and romanticized and more so with each passing year. He knew that had he died suddenly he would have been vaunted and celebrated as a hero, with appropriate ceremony, but he knew he was no such thing. He claimed he would have deserted if given a chance, and he felt that therein would have lain the heroism.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Sorry to hear about your friend, Hilary, but nice that she had such a happy birthday and peaceful ending.

We have a memorial at the Shrine of Remembrance here in Melbourne. It was set up so that the sun would shine through a certain spot precisely on the eleventh hour of the eleventh month, etc. Problem is, we now have daylight saving at that time of year, so the timing is off. They had to install an artificial light.

Joanne said...

glad your friend did get to celebrate a birthday with friends. She went out loved.
Today's Veteran's Day here - we celebrate those who served and lived to tell the tale. It's going to be a very cold Arctic blast day - brrr for those attending parades and such.
Compassion and peace for all. That's a good way to start the week.
Take care

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Elizabeth - thank you ... simple, but a necessary reminder on this day ...

@ David - it's not a problem, it's always interesting to read others' viewpoints, particularly yours. I do understand ... but feel I need to acknowledge those who joined up to keep the world free from the Nazis.

My mother had a brother and her first husband who both died in WW2, my father had the Military Cross ... for helping another to safety and thus being able to live.

Certainly the War impacted on my father's mental health as he was in action, and affected my mother through the loss of her husband, and her brother. Sadly I never discussed these sort of subjects with them - but both my parents respected the culture they were born into.

I do understand though ...

@ Sue - it was probably a blessing for her ... especially as she went with joy in her heart and it was peaceful.

I know that cities, towns and countries who were involved in both Wars remember at various Armistice Services. I see Australia has differing daylight saving times set up - pity about having to install an artificial light ... but interesting to read about.

@ Joanne - exactly ... she went peacefully and felt loved.

I'm glad you commemorate Veteran's Day in the States - and definitely compassion and peace for all - it is a good way to start every day isn't it - but particularly this week ...

Thanks to you all for remembering and visiting - Hilary

Deborah Weber said...

A lovely and gentle reminder Hilary. I'm sorry about the loss of your friend, although it sounds like her crossing was eased with comfort and love. I hope we always have room in our hearts to remember.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

My condolences on your friend. Eighteen years in a care center. That depresses me. My dad said OVER and OVER that he never wanted to live out his days in a nursing home. At 82 my robust dad was suddenly diagnosed with severe COPD and stage 4 lung cancer, the first of February and died the middle of March in hospice at a nursing home. He was there I think four days. By the time he got there he didn't really know where he was or care. The staff was so good to him.

Remembering the military on this day and our loved ones not here, also.

Teresa

Teresa

Keith's Ramblings said...

At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them. We can only hope future generations will remember them too.

The Poppy Seller

Jacqui Murray said...

What a wonderful post, Hilary, every memory of such wonderful people. Thank you for sharing these.

retirementreflections said...

Hi, Hilary - Thank you for this very meaningful post. This is a great reminder for each of us to be compassionate to all and to understand each other. Our Remembrance Day service takes place in 3.5 hours. I will definitely be there.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I am so sorry about the loss of your friend.

On Veterans Day, I always think of my father who served in the Navy in WWII and passed when I was 11.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Deborah - thank you ... I was pleased she went when and how she did ... the best way to go. I too hope we always have room in our hearts ...

@ Teresa - yes she had had a terrible life, let alone her illness ... she had MS and its contributing factors as the disease took hold necessitated full time care. I too would prefer to die at home ... but sadly life takes a hold and it's the way it is. I'm glad your father only spent the last few days, when he was on his way beyond this life. Thank goodness the staff were kind to him. Our staff here - many have been there for over 12 years, since before my Ma became a patient, were so helpful ... like family.

@ Keith - I too hope we can remember freedom and what it's like to be able to be free in thought, word and deed - within society's reasonableness.

@ Jacqui - just to tie in with our incredible national Remembrance Sunday service we now hold. Today - too ... I remembered.

@ Donna - yes I remember the services from my year in Canada ... while in this day and age - it's so important to remember compassion and understanding - thank you ...

@ Diane - thank you ... she was a deserving lady, who really had had a difficult life - which a few of us were able to help her through ...

I feel for you losing your father at 11, I remember my life at 11 we had things going on, which made family life slightly difficult - but we didn't lose one of our parents. My thoughts ...

Thank you for joining me - remembering with compassion and understanding ... so important.

Debbie D. said...

Thank you for this moving post, Hilary. 💖 I, too, am always emotional on this day. My father was a Korean War vet. It's important to honour everyone who fought for our rights and freedoms. There are few vets left alive, and we can't let history die with them.

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

What a lovely and touching post

Liz A. said...

Today is such a solemn occasion. It's good you saw the exhibit even if you weren't quite ready for it. Sometimes we need those things in our life for later.

D.G. Kaye said...

A most beautiful tribute Hilary to those who are gone but have left their mark. <3

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Debbie - yes there are so many wars where members of our families have been involved - and we need to remember all those who allow us to have our freedoms.

There are so many records and books available now along with monuments to remind us all - I'm sure we will all be curious and want to learn about all aspects of the varying wars. There is so much more we can learn from history ...

@ Jo-Anne - thank you: we always need to remember ...

@ Liz - I always revere those amazing men and women who allowed us our freedoms of today. The exhibit was interesting ... particularly looking at it now, as my outlook is more mature and I've appreciated other disciplines - eg art from war ...

@ Debby - thank you - a simple but very relevant message for Remembrance time ...

Thank you for coming by - I'll be round to comment on everyone's posts ... we do need to remember - all the best Hilary

Dan said...

Thanks for remembering and reminding us of the importance of compassion.

Anabel Marsh said...

So sorry to hear of the loss of your friend, Hilary.

Denise Covey said...

Hi Hilary! It was special to experience Remembrance Day in France and come across a procession in a small village we were visiting. Even saw an old guy marching in his Foreign Legion uniform. All very emotional. Thanks for your post.

Empty Nest Insider said...

Hilary, I'm sorry about the loss of your friend from the Nursing Centre, as well as your other losses. You certainly practice what you preach, as you're extremely caring and compassionate. I'll never forget how you continued to visit the Nursing Centre long after you lost your mum, which must've been very difficult for you.

Julie

Mark Koopmans said...

This was my first real Rememberance/Veterans Day for me in Spain and it was sad to see there wasn't a local equivalent here. I'll have to go looking next year as I love celebrating the Greatest Generation -- while they are still with us.

Thanks, Hilary, for never forgetting.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Dan - thanks I'm sure we all remembered and are compassionate ...

@ Anabel - yes I was sad, yet she was really ill ... so a relief I feel.

@ Denise - I bet it was a special time in France for Remembrance Day ... their Resistance fighters (and others) were seminal to the outcome. Your Foreign Legion military man is special - seeing him march ... there are still a few here who are able to march, but many are in wheelchairs now ... as you say - certainly very emotional.

@ Julie - thank you ... I couldn't leave the lady up there without any cheery visits - which she desperately needed. She was always grateful ... and I managed to get another elderly to visit, after his wife had died in the Home - it helped him too - as we were there for him too ... at the beginning it was challenging - but with the staff always welcoming ... it helped hugely. Thanks so much for your thoughts ... really appreciate them.

@ Mark - I wonder if they were neutral ... which they were ... check out Wiki: Spain during WWII .... I think you may have to go across the border to France ...

Thanks so much for all your thoughts here ... and to Mark for making me look up Spain in WW2 ... we do need to never forget, and to be compassionate in our day to day lives ... all the best - Hilary

bazza said...

A lovely post Hilary - full of love and compassion!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Bazza - a necessary post today ... and we need to remember all those who died, were injured, Service members, families left behind - who gave us our freedoms ... thank you - Hilary

troutbirder said...

Spending much of the last year spending time supporting my wife in memory care I learned a lot from her, other residents, their families staff etc. There was a family atmosphere between us all and I learned a lot. Mostly good.....

A Cuban In London said...

Beautiful story about that 80-year-old woman. Good for you! :-)

Greetings from London.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Ray - having spent a long time with my mother in a Nursing Centre, at which dementia patients were resident ... my mother was interested in their care ... she was an amazing woman.

I'm glad you found the last few years with your wife as mainly being good and positive - I certainly learnt a great deal from my experience ... and still do - though it's now 7 years later.

@ ACIL - thank you ... she deserved some love in her life ... and now we'll round it off with a gentle loving final ceremony and get together. It is heart-warming ...

Many thanks to the two of you ... we learn so much at all times in our lives - all the best - Hilary

Sandra said...

A lovely post and so very important. We should always remember our loved ones and our heroes.

Lenny Lee said...

Wonderful post. Not forgetting is so important.
Very nice of you to visit your friend over the years. I'm glad she had a happy 80th birthday before slipping away peacefully.

Sandra Cox said...

'Service not Self'. What a wonderful motto.
Hope you're having a wondrous weekend.

Pradeep Nair said...

Sorry to hear about your friend, Hilary. Old age is a challenge.
One should remember the sacrifice countless people made to make this world a wonderful place for us all.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sandra - thanks for your two 'look ins' ... we should always remember shouldn't we - and, I so agree with "Service not Self" ...

@ Lenny - lovely to see you, and not forgetting is so important as the years go on. Yes - it's been a good time with my friend up at the Nursing Centre before she slipped away ... and I was glad I was there.

@ Pradeep - I was pleased to be able to visit her and cheer her up ... giving her something to look forward to and interesting items to talk to her about ...

We, who are alive today, are so lucky that we can live in freedom and relative peace ...

Thanks so much to you three - good to see you here and I do so appreciate your comments - all the best Hilary

DMS said...

Sorry to hear about your friend. I am glad she had you in her life. :)

What a lovely post. A great time to remember all who have passed before us.

Have a wonderful day!
~Jess

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jess - thank you ... we said goodbye today - and I'm glad she had a happy last few years of her life ... and had us - her family in it.

We do need to remember - and be aware how much others have done for us to keep our freedom. Lovely to see you ... thanks for the visit - cheers Hilary

mail4rosey said...

I always think of my grandma when I think of someone who passed that I love. Any time would have been too soon, but I think she made peace with her passing. She had time to, since it was Ovarian Cancer that took her. I agree with your sentiment, we need to be nice and make a positive difference for others.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rosey - I always think of my mother as I was with her so much for her end years - and I know she accepted where she'd got to - she was happy to go when the time was right. I'm glad you had some time with your grandmother albeit she suffered from the dreaded cancer - such a difficult disease.

Thank you - now particularly in the cold and with all that's going on ... we need more than ever to be nice and to make a positive difference for others.

All the best and cheers Hilary