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Open Features: Love And Loss

...I was a "pick-up". I was standing at a bus stop when a car stopped in front of me. All I remember clearly was a pair of brown eyes asking me if I wanted a lift...

Marianne Hall brings a deeply moving account of love...and loss.

It was the recording of Ge Korsten that did it. His visit to Europe - Italy, Portugal, Spain, London and Holland - brought back such memories that I took out an old tin box containing love letters from my late husband, Bob. Ge was the same age as Bob.

I had not re-read these letters for years.

I was a "pick-up". I was standing at a bus stop when a car stopped in front of me. All I remember clearly was a pair of brown eyes asking me if I wanted a lift.

Never in my life had I expected the whirlwind courtship that followed.

My future husband was very involved with soccer. He was scheduled to play for Marist Brothers in Cape Town during September of that year. He would be away for a month. We agreed that if we felt the same way about each other after the "trial separation", we would make plans to get married.

I landed up in hospital with an emergency appendicitis operation. We would write to each other every day. I missed him terribly. He sent postcards,letters and flowers.

His words were full of love and concern.

"I do wish you were here with me now, so that I can take you in my arms and hold you close."

"You are my life and I don't want to share you with anyone else."

"Am missing you. The days and nights are lonely and seem to have no meaning because there is no 'you' in them."

"I seem to hear your voice all the time. How could I ever be happy unless I have you near me?"

These are only a few of the words expressed in his letters.

At the back of the box I came across something I had written a few months after his death.

I want to share it with you and your readers. I have no doubt that they will feel the same sense of loss I experienced during Christmas of 1990.

**

To my darling husband, Bob.

I just cannot express in words how much I miss you. My body is aching with loneliness. I feel I want to choke and cannot stop the tears from coming. If only you could just appear at the door - maybe to find out what I am doing or just come and sit with me quietly on this swing, my life would be so complete. Try as I can, I just cannot fill the empty void there is now that you are no longer with me.

When I look around me all I see is your handiwork. What a lovely home you gave me Bob - all your life you worked at giving me "everything" that I wanted. I just had to ask. I lacked for nothing.

How I miss the beautiful bouquets you made sure I received on the anniversary of our wedding, 12 December, and the beautiful cards expressing your love for me.

We had planned to do so many things after you retired.

Would that you had lived a few years longer so that I could really have enjoyed more time with you. We never really did have time for relaxation, it was work, work, work all the time! I was really looking forward to being on retirement with you, to look after you, to enjoy life with you.

I am so glad I spent the last few months with you and that you left me from your own bed. I was so glad to nurse you and look after you and be with you. I know you will always be with me no matter what.

You helped me so much in those months. You had such a positive attitude. Thank you, my darling, just for being there when I really needed you.

Help me to make the right decisions. I must learn to live without you - no, to learn to live with you in my mind at all times. Just be there. That's all I ask.

There are times when I want to hurl in. Times when there is no purpose in living.

You have created so much beauty in my life. The garden you designed is peace for my soul. I hope I never have to leave here. Everything around me has your stamp on it and evokes familiar memories.

Thank you my darling Bob for our long and happy relationship.

I will love you always.

Marianne.

(PS My husband was a teacher. Contrary to what people believe teaching is a 24/7 job. In the afternoons he coached soccer and swimming. In the evenings he prepared lessons for the following day or marked hundreds of papers. There were functions to organize, meetings to attend. I remember the vice-principal came to me one day in a panic. He had to put a school magazine together, and did not have a clue. Of course I helped and really enjoyed this!)

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