Category Archives: Death

RIP Charles Aznavour

Aznavour
Charles Aznavour1924-2018

It was with deep regret that today I learned of the death of Charles Aznavour. This is a singer who has travelled with me through life, always just singing the right song at the right time.

I remember the first time I actually saw him on stage. It was at The Royal Albert Hall in London in 1967. This was a special treat for me for my birthday. And then later in 1970, we saw him again at L’Olympia in Paris.

In 1970 he topped the singles chart in the UK for several weeks with his rendition of She, but I prefer the Frech version – click here to see and hear him sing in French.

But my favourite Aznavour song has always been and will remain Yesterday When I Was Young. I used his song as the basis for a post in March 2011 at the beginning of my blogging adventure. If you are interested, here’s the link.

What is not so well known is that Aznavour took an active part in his family’s efforts to hide Jews in Paris, risking their lives under the German occupation. In fact, he received a humanitarian award with his sister from Israel’s President Rivlin.  At the award ceremony, he reportedly said,  ‘We have so many things in common, the Jews and the Armenians, in misfortune, in happiness, in work, in music, in the arts and in the ease of learning different languages and becoming important people in the countries where they have been received.’

From its inception, Aznavour lent his name and his energy to the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.  This organisation was launched on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviours.In his memory, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative will launch a new annual scholarship as part of the Gratitude Scholarship Program.

So Rest In Peace Maestro. You will be greatly missed by many.

 

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Spring Bulbs

If you have read any of my posts recently you will know that we are having a particularly wet and windy Spring here in New Zealand.  We have one beautiful Spring day followed by three of the other kind.

spring-ads-beauty

But the Spring bulbs are in bloom and in my garden, there are a couple that are really special.

Last year, in the week before my accident, I went to the funeral of a  close friend.  If a funeral can be described as happy this one was.

People recounted memories and tales of fun shared with the deceased.  Then, just before the coffin was taken out of the chapel to the sound of “Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye” we were told to take a couple of bulbs from the box at the rear so that next year when the Spring came, we would all remember Jilly.   And that is what has happened this year.

 

Isn’t that a lovely thought.  I have suggested to my daughter that they do something like that so that my friends may remember me.  Oh no, I don’t plan to die for many years yet, but just saying…

“Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye 
Cheerio, here I go, on my way
Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye
Not a tear, but a cheer, make it gay
Give me a smile I can keep all the while
In my heart, while I’m away
‘Till we meet once again, you and I
Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye”.

And of course, having thought back to that time I am again thinking of the two men in my life, both of whom are now gone but both of whom are remembered always.

 

What Has Gone So Wrong?

There’ll be love and laughter
And peace ever after.
Tomorrow, when the world is free

So sang Vera Lynn and many  others during the Second World War. So what has gone so very wrong in the intervening years?  Love and laughter has been taken over by hate and tears and the world is not free.

From this quiet and peaceful little corner of the world we have looked on at the hate and disruptions caused by the hate, taking over our world.  We even have one of the Presidential candidates in the USA seemingly encouraging spread of hate at least to the other candidate, and of course to Mexican, Muslims etc etc.  How can this be we ask ourselves.

Have we forgotten all that was learned at such great cost?  Children are still living in areas surrounded by bombs as did we in the early 1940s.  They are still being injured both physically and emotionally and the bombing now is so much worse than during the Second War.  Bigger and more directed bombs and these children are right in the middle of the war.

When will we learn that we can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.   When will the powers that be, those in position to make a  stop to these non achieving wars, accept that something has to change.

Daily on TV we see the result of the bombs on the lives of families who have done nothing more than to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And apart from the damage to the humans what about the destruction of buildings steeped  in history and meaning for the population and of course, the damage to the earth.  All of these things will take centuries to repair, if in fact they can be repaired and renewed.

Now is the time for us to stand up and be counted.  A petition has been taken to our politicians objecting to more money being spent on sending troops to the wars.  What else can we do other than sign the petitions?  I don’t know but what I’m doing is spreading love and kindness wherever and whenever I can.  If we all do a little, maybe something big will come out of it.

End of today’s rant.

“I believe in kindness. Also in mischief, Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.”

Mary Oliver

The Streets of London

“So how can you tell me you’re lonely,
And say for you that the sun don’t shine?
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I’ll show you something to make you change your mind “

This is the chorus from Ralph McTell’s song The Streets of London”.  Do you know it.  Click here to hear him sing this song.

This is one of those songs that remind us just how lucky we are.  Oh we all have something about which to complain but unless one is battling a life threatening or terminating illness, put alongside those who are homeless and without any hope that things will improve, they really are minor.

If you follow my blog you will know that, until I came to live with my partner (the Architect), Thursday was always Mary Potter Hospice day.  Once a week I volunteered and helped serve lunch to the patients or should we now call them clients?

All these patients were battling terminal illness but in the years that I volunteered there,  I only met one person who was rude and ungrateful for the care he was receiving from the dedicated staff.  Of course, it was understood by everyone why he was like this at the time.  And his charming wife told us that he was never rude before coming into the Hospice.  Apparently he was a gregarious, lovely fellow who was finding it difficult to come to terms with what was happening to him.

And then recently, I experienced the other side of the service the hospice offers.  My partner, dying from a brain tumour, was transferred to Te Omanga Hospice close to where we live.  And what an amazing place that it.  The love, care and attention showered upon us both was absolutely unbelievable.  Nothing was too much trouble for any of the staff.  Cups of tea in the early hours of the morning, a friendly ear to listen when it all became to much for me, food brought to me even though I didn’t want to eat and in all an outpouring of love to help me when the inevitable time came for the Architect to leave this world.

And when that day came, the love was showered on our families.

So if today in your travels, you come across an abrupt, grumpy person, give them a smile.  We don’t know what demons they are battling in their lives and maybe a smile will help them.

“If you’re reading this…
Congratulations, you’re alive.
If that’s not something to smile about,
then I don’t know what is.”
Chad Sugg, –  Monsters Under Your Head

Missing You

A sunny Saturday afternoon here in Wellington, New Zealand, but the sun isn’t shining here in our house.  A black cloud hangs over everything at present and  I cant see through the tears to  tell you all how I feel.  But I found this quote in a book the other day and it say what I can’t.

“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world,
which I find myself constantly walking around
in the daytime and falling in at night.
I miss you like hell.”
Edna St Vincent Millay
American lyrical poet and playwright.
1892-1950

The book is entitled “Goodbye for Times of Sadness & Loss” by Melanie G Mason.

And now I should like to thank you all for the outpouring of love, kindness and support at the recent tragic event in my life.  But my darling Architect would not have wanted me to fall into that slough of despair where I have been once before.  So I am working on picking myself up, dusting myself off and starting all over again as Jerome Kern exhorted us.

So watch this space.  Who knows what will happen next.  But do all take care and cherish each and every day because tomorrow may never come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

“Lazy Sunday afternoon,
I’ve got no mind to worry,
Close my eyes and drift away,”

Are you old enough to remember the Small Faces singing this song in 1968?  The group was formed in the mid 60s by four boys from the East End of London and this song reached No 2 on the UK Singles Hit List in 1968.  How innocent we all were then.

But this post is not about the band, or even about that song.  It just came to mind as we were sitting devouring the weekend papers in the sunshine in our garden on a Lazy Sunday Afternoon.  We had a busy morning and now we’re relaxing.

How different is our Sunday in this peaceful corner of the world, from the mayhem that is happening in most other places.  Do these terrorists think so little of the gift of life that they can rampage through peaceful communities bent on destruction?

Yesterday we heard of the latest in the string of atrocities perpetrated by Boko Haram  – At least 10 people were killed when a young girl, thought to be aged 10, blew herself up at a crowded market in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri.  Apparently she had bombs strapped to her body.  Was she given a choice?  I suspect not.

So friends, take care as we never know when something awful might happen

And from my little book of dog wisdom* :-

“Life is a precious gift.
Treat it delicately and be grateful for it,
but most importantly celebrate and enjoy it”

 

Lotte on desk

Another helping hand

Writing 101: Personality on the Page

Today’s Challenge and I still haven’t caught up but decided I should like to do this one now.

The Challenge is :

“We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears.

Today’s twist: Write this post in a style distinct from your own.

This looked like a real challenge.  Where to start?

I have breezed through life with very few fears but

  • I have always been afraid that something bad could happen to one of my loved ones
  • I have been anxious about my aged parents on the other side of the world; both now dead
  • I was afraid of cats until I took a course of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or Tapping as it is sometimes known.  Now I am no longer afraid of cats and have even been known to stroke one but
  • My worst fear was realised at 2.28am on April 22 1998.  My Dashing (not so) Young Scotsman died.

I wondered/ feared :

  • How would I live without him
  • How could I live without him
  • Where would I live without him
  • How could I go through each day knowing he wasn’t waiting for me at home
  • How could I smile and pretend that life was “normal”
  • What was normal anymore
  • When would the “time heals” kick in
  • When would I stop counting the hours, days since he died and move onto the months and years

And I found that while my worst fear had been realised on that ghastly day, I could:

  • Live my life without him though I missed him madly
  • Move house and so find where I could live without him
  • Go through each day with his memories to help me
  • What became normal was different to anything I had expected or experienced
  • Time didn’t heal although the hurt was lessened as time passed
  • Now I say he died 16 years ago.

And now after so long, my whole life has changed as I have a new partner and we are making a new life together.

Note: I don’t know if I have met the challenge in the way in which it was designed.  I hope so.

 

Writing 101: Serially Lost

Day 4 and the challenge is

Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more. and
Today’s twist: Make today’s post the first in a three-post series.

I have tried writing a serial before.  It was about two women and their hats and their adventures.  I really enjoyed that.  But now we are asked to write about a loss and then to make this the first in a three post series,

So what to write about?  Apart from the great loss in my life, the next loss was that of my darling companion Miss Lotte. It was a beautiful summer day; I had just had lunch and was sitting down to a cup of tea and a new magazine when I heard this horrendous sound of someone in great pain.  I looked around and found my darling little Tibetan spaniel writhing on the ground.  She had been lying in the sun and once before she had been affected by the heat.  At that time the vet told me to pick her up and speak to her quietly so she would know all was well.  I did that but I could see we were in great trouble.  So I wrapped her in her blanket and drove to my vet.  Apparently she was very near death – he didn’t know if she had eaten anything poisonous, unlikely as she was confined to our garden, or whether she had suffered a heart attack.

I left Miss Lotte at the vets and spent a miserable afternoon without my loving companion.  But I was allowed to pick her up some hours later.  She was to be kept quiet, no walks just rest and hopefully all would be well.

Lotte sleeping after her trip to the vets.

Unfortunately, there was no happy ending for Lotte and me.  She had to be put to sleep a few days later,  She suffered another major heart attack one evening and I had to take her to the emergency vet, where I was told that the best thing I could do for my darling was to let her go.  How sad that was.  But although she had a very short life it had been a happy and full life with me, my friends and grandsons who all loved her.

So I said goodbye to my friend.  And farewelled her with the words I used when my husband died –

“Soar high; Fly free; Breathe easy”

LotteLotte Baxter
Loving friend
Faithful companion
2006-2013
RIP

And the band played Waltzing Matilda

Anzac flag

April 25th is a solemn day of remembrance here in NZ and in Australia.  It marks the sacrifices made by members of ANZAC (the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps)  when they joined  to fight alongside Britain in the first World War.

Young men flocked to join up having no earthly idea of what they were getting themselves into, but filled with a fervour “For King and Country.”

Anzac, the landing 1915 by George Lambert, 192...

Anzac, the landing 1915 by George Lambert, 1922 shows the landing at Anzac Cove, 25 April 1915 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first deployment of the ANZACS  was at the Turkish peninsula of Gallipoli.  The information the command  received about the terrain and an under estimation of the Turkish forces led to a disaster.  Nine months later the Allies withdrew leaving behind 46,000 dead.

“They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We shall remember them.”
From Ode of Remembrance, taken from Laurence Binyon’s
“For the Fallen” first published in 1914.

This day is also commemorated in Turkey at Gallipoli where the cove has been renamed ANZAC Cove.  Many ex-servicemen and their families travel to Turkey each year.

And Waltzing Matilda?  This was the song played as the troops sailed out from Sydney, Australia at the start of that fateful enterprise.  Click here to hear John Williams singing “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”.

I have written in more detail on this day both in 2011 and 2012.  It is a sad commentary on the people of the world that even after this “War to End All Wars” we still send our young men and women out to be slaughtered by ‘the enemy’.

LAST POST

Last post being sounded at North Beach, Gallipoli.
Photo Mike Bowers, Sydney Morning Herald

And now there are no more survivors from Gallipoli.
RIP all the fallen and

Alec Campbell
Last Gallipoli survivor from Australia
(died May 2002 aged 103)

Alfred Douglas Dibley
Last Gallipoli survivor from New Zealand
(died 18 December 1997 aged 101)

See other posts:

A Hard Decision

Lotte at back door2

Lotte Baxter
Loving friend; Faithful companion
2006-2013
RIP

My darling, beautiful little girl was gently put to sleep late last night.  Her big, brave heart could no longer keep her alive; it was almost stopped.  And so I made the very hard decision to let her go.

I held her as the vet injected her, told her how much I loved her and those beautiful eyes looked at me one last time then she quietly slipped away.

Now through my tears, I console myself with the fact that though she had only a short life, she had a happy one.

So now my love using the same words I used on  my late husband’s memorial cards – “Soar High; Fly free; Breathe easy”

Lotte in bed

So goodbye and thank you for sharing your life with me.
You will be greatly missed my special friend.