When Hywel Jones, my partner of 54 years, was dying of a brain tumour and came home for the last two weeks of his life, I would silently say Hail Mary’s for him, knowing that the eternal Mother was holding him, as well as his own angel. There was pain in realising that I would no longer be able to kiss those lips or embrace him, but I would sit in deep silence alongside him, knowing that all was well.
Where did this acceptance come from? I recall a friend writing to me about the death of her husband: ‘Oh, how I wish I had your faith. When you lose the one you love, the rest of your life is like a journey on a long road where you might be ambushed at any time, around any corner, as in the old days of highwaymen. Now it is tears that come from nowhere and you have to pick yourself up again and smile, and drive on to the end.’
We each have to learn how to navigate our way through waters so deep and difficult that many drown or merely skim across the surface. For every individual the journey through bereavement will vary.