Being Away, Coming Home, Without You

Sometimes I feel guilty about almost having forgotten about you for a little while. Must be the busy moments. These last few days, you have been inside me every moment, Jane. Sometimes it’s the grip of the gap that you leave. And sometimes, it’s not the gap but your place inside me, just as always, until I remember.

So I went to visit Tyl. Tyl who I visited, almost the last three times, with you. Tyl who you seemed to get on with so well. I visited the house where you so bravely came to spend Christmas Eve with me and all my family that time when our love was so new. The bedroom, the bathrrom we shared. The ridge that we walked on. The seats that we sat on eating cheese and rye bread. The beach that we swam at. The impression of you that you left on all these things. That you left on Tyl so that he talked and talked about you and described you how you were until I just couldn’t be any more except be filled with pain.

I sat in the church in Helensville while his choir sang the songs of my tears for you:

     Adieu, Sweet Amaryllis
     Adieu, Sweet Amaryllis
     Adieu, Sweet Amaryllis
     For since to part your will is,
     O, heavy tiding,
     Here is for me no biding,
     Yet once again,
     Ere that I part with you,
     Amaryllis, Amaryllis, sweet
     Adieu, Adieu,
     Adieu, Adieu,
     Adieu, sweet Amaryllis, Amaryllis, sweet,
     Adieu, Adieu.

          John Wilbye

and

     Weep, o mine eyes and cease not,
     alas, these your spring tides methinks increase not.
     O when begin you to swell so high
     that I may drown me in you?

          John Bennett

while I wished you sat beside me.

So I visited Janet. Whose new house you died before you saw. Well, I saw it for you, my Lovely. And I think you’d like it. (I think Jane would like your house, Janet). Martin and Karl and Lou came around and we had a nice dinner. But I wasn’t very good company. I felt too crushed. But you were there, too Jane. In Janet’s memory of you and mine and how the two of you got on so well. And in every book that I saw on Janet’s bookcases. And in remembering that photo of you and Janet laughing together at the Andersonarama. (I must put that up). The way you so bravely, and calmly joined me for Christmas Day with so many of my family whom you had never met.

And then I went to a conference for two days, remembering you at every moment and wanting to tell you about this and that.

Finally tonight, I returned, feeling tired and hungry and cold and lonely. Hearing the house ring with silence and darkeness from ten blocks away. Getting myself worldlessly out of the taxi and in through the door to have the emptiness fill up around me and inside me with your photo radiating to me from the funeral service sheet still sitting just inside the door. With no place to be.

And I read the beautiful card from Wendy Butcher, who worked with you who says “Dan – she just glowed when spoke of you. How cool is that. She was like a young teenager when you were due back from the US.” Oh Jane, I want you to have that glow now. That warm feeling inside you, any feeling inside you. Affecting Wendy, all the other people, anyone at all.

6 thoughts on “Being Away, Coming Home, Without You”

  1. Gidday Dan, unbelievably I stumbled across your blog while trying to find some info about Dan Ramage. It makes sad reading Dan but I think it is a really good idea. And also one day you might be able to use these thoughts to help others who are trying to work through their own grief. Hang in there mate, our thoughts are with you.
    “Total grief is like a minefield. No knowing when one will touch the tripwire” Sylvia Townsend Warner

  2. Dan, I have just read the comment from Lloyd. I think you do not know Lloyd personally but, as he said, he came across your Blog. It has just occurred to me (technoidiot that I am) that of course the blog is open to anyone and what a wonderful idea that maybe your experience and how you deal with it could help others who don’t even know you or Jane – the idea that people who are complete strangers and who might be going through a similar process can get something good from you and your words is for me a wonderful thing.

  3. I worried about you getting home to the empty house alone and hungry. You are so bravely going from day to day and I know that the wonderful memories you have are going to get you through the terrible loss and pain. As more friends hear of Jane’s death and ring me to share their shock and sadness I have you in my thoughts, as they do. With love, Janet

  4. I’ve been wanting to send you this poem by Pablo Neruda (publ. 1972).

    No, perdóname.
    Si tú no vives,
    si tú, querida, amor mío,
    si tú te has muerto,
    todas las hojas caerán en mi pecho,
    lloverá sobre mi alma noche y día,
    la nieve quemará mi corazón,
    andaré con frío y fuego y muerte y nieve,
    mis pies querrán marchar hacia donde tú duermes,
    pero seguiré vivo,

    My effort at translation is literal rather than poetic:

    Forgive me, if you’re not living,
    If you, dear one, my love,
    If you have died,
    All the leaves will fall within my breast,
    It will rain upon my soul
    Night and day;
    My feet will want to walk towards where you are sleeping
    But I shall go on living.

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