Amongst Us.

By Alison October 20, 2007 29 Comments 2 Min Read


Tell me now, tell me this on a day that tastes too bittersweet to endure, does the universe contrive to make space for our little ones? Last night my friend gave birth to a gorgeous dark haired little boy and this morning my Mum’s brother, my Uncle, my childhood, sleeps through his last few days, the steady drip of morphine whispering it’s goodbyes into his veins. 

And so today we will come together. All of us. For a weekend of waiting, remembering, (Did he really eat dog biscuits when he was a lad Barbie??) and laughing at little boys oblivious to the dread written large on our faces, his girls. One of us  always there to  to stem the relentless twist of my Mum’s wedding ring around her finger. Dread written large on the walls.

Yesterday was hollow. A vigil of domesticity observed to find my way through the inevitable. Recipes written with a fine slither of lead into a Cath Kidston notebook. Baroque flowers doodled around menus of potato soup, rosemary lamb and almond torte. An hour sat in front of a council official yet again trying to convince them that but for my son, I live alone: that regardless of whether or not he is willing to confirm it, Mark left eighteen months ago and please may I have the reduction in tax I am entitled to?  White food consumed mindlessly: plastic bread drenched in salty butter. Colcannon streaked with bacon. Too many digestive biscuits with my tea. Then porch windows washed in vinegar, a yard brushed into oblivion and a Simone De Beauvoir novella dropped into a bowl full of sudsy water…

And so it goes on. Life. Until of course it doesn’t. Until the day that something we are unwilling to name walks amongst us and the only thing that matters in a day full of wet books, bland food and pointless biscuits is the bitter lingering certainty that the world won’t be the same when he’s gone. That somehow this little man exists at the very heart of our family and that forever after the shape of our lives will altered by his abscence.


  1. Melanie says:

    I am thinking of you Alison, hang in there, be strong, I know this is a tough time for you, I can relate to what you are going through, and I feel for you, I feel your pain.
    Stick to your rituals that you have taught all us woman, they will sustain you and help you through your days.
    Know that all the women who you have gave comfort to through your words are thinking of you right now.
    You are strong, I know you are, I know this is a terrible time for you, but you will get through this.
    God Bless you Alison.
    Take Care
    Your friend Melanie.

  2. Buffy says:

    Beautifully written.

  3. Wendy says:

    From one who knows, it does really only hurt for a while. Then we are able to live with all the dear memories that made up the bulk of our dear ones life and not the small part that hurts. Love you Alison and all you have done through your blog to help and cheer so many. Here is some cheer for you.
    May the Lord bless you and keep you during this time, and my He comfort you and yours.
    blog reader named Wendy

  4. kali says:

    Dear Ali ~ I am sorry for the pain you all are feeling.
    Life certainly is bittersweet.
    The past and all the memories will live on in the hearts and minds of all his loved ones.

  5. Rebecca says:

    May peace and comfort find you in the midst of your sadness. Hugs to you and yours…

  6. Gena says:

    Oh I am so sorry! I just dont have the words Alison,I can only hold out a virtual hand to you and hope that you Know we are all thinking of you. xxx

  7. Junie Moon says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your beloved uncle and shall keep him, you, and your family in my thoughts and prayers as you all move through this hard time.

  8. Melissa says:

    I feel your pain. My mother died very suddenly two weeks ago today. It has been awful. Today is her birthday and I feel so sad. I will pray for you.

  9. From a family that doesn't always experience that kind of closeness, I admire your heart towards him.

  10. Lesley says:

    (((((Alison))))). My thoughts are with you.

  11. Oh, doll, empty words on an empty page doing nothing to fill your empty heart… All our words are truly meant to soothe that raw ache somehow even though they probably don't. I'm sorry that you and your family have this now. But you DO have them, your family. Be close to them and be sure to laugh about all those silly things your uncle used to do. Cry and Laugh. Then pray, because His words aren't empty. I'll pray with you. Blessings… Polly

  12. Polly says:

    If it cheers you at all… did you notice that Magnolia Pearl's book is ready for pre-order on Amazon? -Polly

  13. Jennifer says:

    Your love shows through your words. I didn't expect to re-live something through them this morning, but it was a good thing.
    My family waited while our beloved mother left this world and it was surreal. I knew who truly loved her (and me) during those days. Their presence was a testament to her life and those she touched. People who had not seen her for years came to show their love and I am forever grateful they were there. It's during these times that people really let you love them.

  14. Grace says:

    Praying for your family during this time.

  15. Linda P says:

    I am so very sorry. I do understand your pain: my former father in law, a wonderful man whom I have known since I was 16 will have his machines turned off Monday. If all goes "well," he will go into hospice care. I will say a prayer for your family.

  16. Rhonda says:

    Alison, I am so sorry to hear that you are loosing someone so dear to you. My family and I experienced the same sort of heart wrenching pain as my Grandfather passed away. He was the center of our family…the very core. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you face this difficult time.

  17. Grace says:

    Dear Alison,
    I do hope that you can find some small measure of comfort through the comments left here. My thoughts and prayers go out to you at this difficult time.

  18. Anita says:

    Hauntingly written… Your words are lovely, and your pain is felt amongst us…

  19. Anna Marie says:

    Alison, I am very sorry to hear of your loss. Life takes a funny ole' turn sometimes, doesn't it? I hope that you find some comfort in the wonderful family that you do have, and my prayers and thoughts are with you.
    Anna Marie
    PS: When are you going to write that book?

  20. Gayla says:

    I, too, understand… So sad for you all right now. Every one of you has a special, very unique and special bond with your uncle… and losing him feels as if a part of you is being ripped from your body and soul. I am there, right now as well… Life is beautiful, though… even though it hurts. God is good… Love you.

  21. Pam says:

    I read your post and wanted to write something of comfort…but I've read these above posts and nothing I could say could add any further comfort….just breathe and tomorrow is another day.

  22. Kelly says:

    Many blessings to you Dear One. Remember to breathe.
    Know that you are thought of and your Uncle's presence in this life is celebrated.

  23. Heather T. says:

    The unending circle. So sorry.

  24. Sasha says:

    My best wishes go to you and your family at this very sad time Alison. Your family may be a different shape soon, but rest assured a loved one remains forever an integral part of that shape, albeit in the form of happy memories, anecdotes, photo's etc. By sharing these often, you will all keep him a still important part of his family. I smile at my beloved Poppa's (grandad) photo every day, and my daughter and I speak about him often and always feel he is with us still – when she was younger and it snowed, she thought he had sent it for her from heaven because she wished for it! I love that he is still part of our every day life in some way or other, and I am sure your family will find the same comfort in time.
    LOL xx

  25. Jenny says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family!

  26. Meredith says:

    Prayers and hugs to you Alison…

  27. Angela says:

    What a bittersweet time in your life. Many prayers your way.

  28. Cheryl Dack says:

    What a lovely post…so true. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us…always such a lovely treat.

  29. Barbara says:

    I send my love and comfort to you.

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