She left us quietly and peacefully in the early morning of the eighth of the first month
of the year and crossed into that other world for ever hidden in the midst of time.
She left us, Christine and David and I sitting there in great despondancy and distress.
It couldn't be true that she was nolonger with us and yet it was.
She left us in the manner that had she lived. If she had to go then she went without
pain and distress and that is a great deal to be thankful for. One day I shall meet her
again and that is something to look forward to.
I have found times in the past when the thoughty of death,to say the least, has been
unwelcome. Natural enough in normal times but having seen her go quietly and without
resistance to the other side, I sense that in due course, my death will be met almost
thankfully because I shall not find her here again in this life.
I became aware of her in my middle teens and til then , lived what you might call a
normal existance as an individual. That early kind of life when you steer your own course
and pick and choose your friends your actions and your course for the future, but from the
moment I became aware of her I unknowlingly began a drift that carried me into another
She was there standing on the chapel steps, talking to two of her friends, I remember
their names, Elsie Hughes and Bella Morrow. They were roughly a couple of years older
than I and at that age I felt too much junior to them to expect to be accepted as a
contemporary. Of course at that period of life such an age difference was something of
a natural barrier. I had seen her often enough but somehow, this time I wanted to attract her
attention to myself. There was something about her quiet manner, a kind of gentleness
that isn't normally apparent in people but whatever it was, from that time I began to loose
my sense of individuality. Unknowingly but surely.
Her name was Joan and she kindly agreed to meet me one evening. From that day on we
gradually changed, Half my personality was stolen from me but in exchange I received
the equal from her.. The star of life began a new luminescence and from those early days
I became aware that I was really alive.
The Second World War had meant a little to me in those early months but before long I
felt I ought to do something whatever it might be. and having found I was old enough, I joined
what was then known as the Local Defence Volunteers, the L.D.V..Issued with one or two rifles
between a dozen or so of us, we took turns to be whisked away in private cars to patrol the
moorland to provide early warning against possible arrival against German Parachute Forces
or individual landing of spies and similar events. Standing with Joan at Crown Point Denton
(near Manchester) in the evening waiting to join the group on duty night unknowingly prepared
us for longer periods of seperation. Then I took it into my head to volunteer for the
Royal Marines. Still a little under the age of eighteen years old I thought that was what I
Then I really found how much I missed her, years of letter writing. Many evenings by my bunk
with pen and paper trying to create a substitute link to my reason for living. Odd periods of
leave when I hurried from many parts of the country to be with her. Whenever it was we
decided to marry, war or not. On one occasion when she could , after that, she came to me
wherever I was fortunately, as a Marine and living in private billets, we were able to spend
a few unforgettable days together. Supreme living except for those days of parting at whatever
railway station it happened to be. Terrible days those, but worse to leave her to leave for France.
(Harold told me that he had left some money with a florist to have 2 dozen red roses delivered
to Joan on D-Day when It became publically known that the Invasion had started.)
That was more than fifty years ago but those days taught us the value of being together in later
years. Years of happiness, years of struggle, years of bringing up the children with high hopes
for the future. God was kind to us. As the children grew older they fulfilled all our hopes and
looking about us we pitied those who were unfortunate in finding such happiness as ours.
So how can I complain ? She was the light of my life for so long.
We travelled to many parts of the world together and saw what there was to be see but
happiness was in our hearts and we lived only for each other. Travelling the world,
Marco Polo, Pizarro, Columbus nor anyone else ever found greater treasure than we found
on the step of home. We took it with us when we set off on every journey.We envied nobody.
I can't see her anywhere among the crowds or anyone at all like her. She seems so far away
and never more in this life to be near me, but I also know that in a way part of her is always
with me. It's just a matter of having patience . We have waited for each other many times before.
This is the longest wait the hardest and lonliest wait but this time it's the last wait so it's no
time to be sad, not really sad because after this wait there'll be no more waiting.
I could have died in 1944-45. We have had all those years since, side by side.
How can I be sad ? Look say I .Look what I have to look forward to. I have an idea that the day I
die will be the best day of the remainder of my life.. Then we shall be together again.
Written for Joan, (signed)Harold her husband and partner. April 97.