Life, Death, and Grief (We’ll miss you, mate)

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During these past few days following the passing of Janet’s father, I have been pondering on the cycle of life, death, and grief…

Surrounded by his loving family, Archie peacefully slipped away from us last week, while Clare, his partner of almost 60 years, held his hand, tenderly…

There was a feeling of deep sorrow and sadness as Arch let go of his final breath, tears were quietly shed as we sat silently in the dimmed light.

But there was also much to be thankful for.

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Archie was in his 99th year and he never experienced any major health problems during his lifetime. His love of life alone would have been enough to see him through many more years, but his aging body had simply become too frail to stave off what would normally be a minor illness for most…

We were lucky to have been able share his charm, wit, wisdom…his warmth, for so long.

In the predawn darkness following his passing my thoughts drifted to memories of times I had shared with Arch.

The early childhood stories that Janet and her brothers and sisters have shared many times. Of the travel to wonderfully exotic places that Clare has spoke excitedly of at every opportunity, and with whom she had shared with the love of her life, Archie, Archie Fawthrop…

A smile eased the tension in my face.

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I thought about Archie’s life that began with his birth in Burma, of growing up in India, and boarding school in England, of his time as a Captain in the British Army during the war years. Of a sea voyage he took with his young daughter, Mary, to the country that claimed him as one of its own, Australia, and of the family that Clare and Archie so beautifully raised at Garden Grove

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Archie welcomed me into his family with open arms and over the years I have valued his advice, his friendship, the stories he has told me…the laughs we have shared together.

The mere mention of his name will surely bring a grin to your face, and we’ve all got an Archie story, for there are many. And as the years pass they will be recounted like it was only yesterday that we were all together sharing the moment.

But on life, death, and grief…

Yes, we will all pass one day, but for me grief suggests I have lost something;  that something has been taken away from me.

But quite to the contrary.

Archie has given me much to be thankful for, beautiful memories, his wonderful daughter, Janet, with whom I am lucky enough to share my life, and our son TomO, who has more than just a shade of Archie in him, an overabundance of that wonderful “boyish-Archie-cheekiness”.

Currawinya National Park, Outback Australia

And as first light was beginning to pierce the eastern horizon and the warmth from those first rays of light filled my body, I swear I heard him whisper his most famous line, the one that always brings an infectious smile to your face, the line that sums him up perfectly.

“You don’t know how lucky you are”…

Take care Arch, we’ll miss you, mate…

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23 thoughts on “Life, Death, and Grief (We’ll miss you, mate)

  1. kruzmeister May 31, 2013 / 11:43 pm

    My condolences to you and your family Baz, what a wonderful tribute you have written. Arch sounds like an extraordinary man, who had a remarkable life. Big hugs mate. – Simone

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  2. vastlycurious.com May 26, 2013 / 12:44 pm

    How can you ” like” a post about passing? I did because I empathize with your grief on many levels. I am sorry for your loss and that of your family Baz. ~ HUGS~

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    • Baz - The Landy May 26, 2013 / 1:36 pm

      I’m hearing you, but it is very much taken in the way you have offered it, thanks!

      Like

      • vastlycurious.com May 26, 2013 / 1:38 pm

        I lost my only brother ( a man as big and feisty as you) and my dad in less than 6 months. I get it.
        CYBER HUGS are pathetic
        but my heart is real >♥<

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  3. Deliberately Delicious May 26, 2013 / 12:13 am

    Baz, I’m so sorry to hear that your family has lost such an important member. It sounds like Archie was a wonderful man, fortunate in many ways, and fully aware of his good fortune. I love the way you celebrate him in this piece.

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    • Baz - The Landy May 26, 2013 / 1:35 pm

      A wonderful man who lived life right up to the moment he could no longer live it!

      You couldn’t ask for much more than that, and we’ve spent the weekend thinking of all the special moments we’ve shared together….

      Like

  4. MikeW May 24, 2013 / 11:09 pm

    Peace, Baz. All is well. Am still reading a book about this right now, called Proof of Heaven, by E. Alexander, MD.

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  5. Cowboys and Crossbones May 24, 2013 / 2:43 am

    So sorry for Janet and your family’s loss. This was such a well written post. I love the way you see life, Baz!

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    • Baz - The Landy May 26, 2013 / 1:33 pm

      Thank you. We have spent the weekend celebrating Archie’s wonderful life with family and friends…

      Um, I probably have consumed enough rum this weekend, so go easy on my account! 🙂

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  6. kiwiskan May 22, 2013 / 5:24 pm

    Beautiful eulogy – and a very fitting picture to end with…

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  7. barbara grandberg May 22, 2013 / 2:50 am

    so sorry…

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  8. desertrose7 May 21, 2013 / 9:30 pm

    Sounds like an amazing man who has left behind many gifts and a whole bunch of memories to continue to be celebrated by your family. A very touching post.

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  9. nutsfortreasure May 21, 2013 / 8:17 pm

    So sorry for your families loss it sounds like he had an amazing 99 years enjoy all the wonderful memories.

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