Monday, 11 February 2013

Love...




I thought about love a lot recently, fleetingly considering its meaning. Well...I haven't arrived at any conclusions because I don't feel that 'Love' can be defined. Some schools of thought apply more chemistry to love than comfort...deeming it no more than a biological urge procured to provide continuity of the species...and whilst I partly agree with this, I feel that its purpose to sustain our longevity is but one of loves multi-faceted layers. 


Love is labyrinthine in its complexities and I have no want to de-construct its machinations here...I know only that love is many things to many people, each experience of it being as unique as the individual who suffers its residency...and with that in mind...I shall tell you a love story of my own.


I have known love...and love has known me...indeed, we are still hearty companions... but this tale of love I have to tell is not one of partnerships and passions...it's one of tenderness,tolerance and sacrifice...and it revolves around an uncle of mine ...Tom.

In 1917 Tom was born into a loving family of no modest number, his being one of ten children. This would have been one of Tom's first encounters with love...that given to him by his parents and his siblings and eventually, the love he duly returned, as his own young life began to flower and mature.


It was during these early years that the first fractures in loves perfect presence began to appear, when two of Tom's small sisters were taken ill with Diphtheria and sadly died. Whilst love remained, at this time, it was edged in sadness and melancholia...thus Tom learnt the pain of loss. 

Aged sixteen, having left home, circumstance found Tom living in lodgings in London. There it was that he discovered another aspect of love...through his meeting the love of his life Netta and they were each inseparable...until, that is, the early death of his Father demanded Tom return home to help his Mother care for the large family.


More tragedy was to follow when an older brother was  later reported 'Missing Lost at Sea' whilst serving with the British Navy during WW11...leaving the household broken and bare but not irreparably so...love could also heal.

Tom, however, had decisions to make regarding love. To stay with his Mother who, whilst putting no pressure upon him to stay, he knew would be hard pressed to manage without his support...or...to return to Netta who, unable to accompany Tom herself, waited for him in London where she hoped they would eventually be settled and able to continue exploring every nuance of their love.

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After much thought and as difficult as it had been, Tom decided he couldn't allow his own happiness to overshadow the needs of the family...and so, with great reluctance and great sadness, after explaining the situation, he said goodbye to Netta.


They stayed in touch for some time but eventually Netta married and, whilst they were still firm friends, their contact ultimately tapered away...and so...love was sacrificed...for love. 

Tom never married, remaining at home with his Mother ( my grandmother ) who was to pass away years later...but long before she did...I came along. 


Yet another aspect of love was to be found here when, at the age of five, my parents divorced. For reasons I wont labour you with now I went to live with Gran and Uncle Tom...where each day was a new experience of selfless love. Gran was a huge and vital part in all of this but this tale is of Tom...and so it shall remain. 


Tom nurtured me through every juncture of my life. From infancy, to adolescence...all the way through to adulthood. He patched my grazed knees, he helped me with homework, he nursed me through sickness, he worried that I was reading and writing too much gory stuff, he made me laugh!


He taught me kindness and tenderness and much, much, more....but mostly...because of what he did and how he was...I learned of love. Yet you know the strangest thing? He never once told me he loved me...not once...but he didn't need to...love doesn't always need a voice.

Time moves on and eventually Tom's health began to fail. He'd helped to nurse most of his family through sickness, having provided seamless, loving care for my grandmother during her final months...now it was his turn to feel a new side of love...one where he would be looked after...by us...his family.


Now I am about to tell you of a thing which will never be removed from my memory...and it's a something that I will treasure always, as dramatic as that may sound...it involves three little words. You think you know what they are don't you?...You're mistaken...I'll explain.


Tom had been admitted to hospital. It was an occurrence that was becoming more frequent...and more worrying each time. His declining health and subsequent fragility meant that I had recently become his advocate whereby I looked after all of his affairs. Thankfully, this particular day Tom had recovered sufficiently enough as to be allowed to come home and so I'd happily gone to meet him. 


As I walked into the ward I saw Tom chatting to a nurse and I heard her say to him, without a hint of malice...'Tom, you must really trust your niece'...to which, through the most genuine, honest smile I've ever seen, he simply replied... 'Beyond All Others'...and in that moment I knew a love of such purity as to put any other in shadow.



Uncle Tom....a truly gentle man....



Sadly, not long after this, Uncle Tom's condition deteriorated and I recall standing by his bedside at the hospital one evening...carefully trying to squeeze a little taste of a fresh cherry upon his tongue...when suddenly, he took my hand in his and ever so gracefully, lifting it to his lips, placed a gentle little kiss upon the back of it.

I don't know where his mind had taken him at that moment...but I'd like to think that in his final hours...maybe it was Netta's hand he was holding...who knows?

What I do know is that whilst 'Love' is many things, as it manipulates and maneuvers our lives around it, we could not exist without it...unfortunately many have ceased to exist because of it! 


However, I was lucky in my life...I knew Tom.


©  Copyright Lynn Gerrard 2.8.2012


36 comments:

  1. You were very lucky indeed and so too was he x

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    1. He was such a character Kate...and he remains to be so in the stories I keep in my head ...I'll write them one day...:)x

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  2. this is a awesome love of words ;) made me eager to read on and put me though a roller coaster of emotion ! i loved it !! well written ;))

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    1. Thank you so very much for your kind words! I'm glad you liked it...and grateful you read it..:) xx

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  3. OMG Lynn, what a wonderful story. I'm crying, and I'm not a particularly emotional person. Your uncle Tom must have been a fine man. You and he must have loved each other completely. And you told his story beautifully. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Hap..I'm glad you've met a little part of him...I'll always love him and yes I miss him very much..xx

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    1. Thank you very much! ..I'm glad you enjoyed it and appreciate your comment. It's so helpful to get feedback...:)

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  5. Absolutely beautiful little piece. Not just the outcome - which is so moving, I 'teared up', but the pacing of the story, the way the reader is gently led along a path that follows, then deviates from what they expect. I have always maintained that you are a very very good and exceedingly stylish writer.. and this is one of those pieces that proves it 100%.

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    1. Your words have me 'tearing up' now!....Thank you Carol...sincerely....thank you..x

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  6. Wow! Lynn. This is a very wonderful story. This is your life is it not? I am thankful that you decided to share it with us. :)

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    1. Thank you my friend...Yes, it is my life...and it makes me most happy to share its tale with you..:)

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  7. Amazing! I enjoyed reading this. Thank you very much for sharing your story. :)

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    1. He was an amazing man Faye...I'm sorry he's gone...but I'm grateful for every moment we had together...

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  8. Absolutely lovely Lynn! It made me smile and cry... You wrote it with such detail and raw emotion I just can't get enough of it... I read it twice! Thank you so much for sharing this... xx :)

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  9. Emily...thank you...seriously 'thank you'... for your words and for taking the time to read this piece...I know it's lengthy...but it's from the heart...and I miss him...but am also extremely happy that through this...others know a bit about Tom too....((((((Hugs)))))..xx

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  10. This is beautiful. We should all know someone like Tom. I smiled, and now I type through tears. The best kind of love ever. <3

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    1. Thank you Renee...he was such a wonderful man, truly...and that's said without any bias on my part...and you're quite right...'the best kind of love ever'... (((((hugs))))) xx

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  11. What a beautifully written piece Lynn, really, really thoughtful and lovely...and what a wonderful relationship to have had - 'Beyond All Others' we could all wish that someone ever loved us enough to think that of us...Gx

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    1. Thank you Georgia, I'm glad you got to meet him through my words....he remains to be very much loved xx

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    2. Great story, Lynn. Sacrificing love for love... Indeed.
      Glad you shared and 'all that'.
      All the best. x

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    3. Thank you...all the very best to you too...x

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  12. So very lovely... and movingly written...and a fabulous relationship xx

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    1. Thank you Cathy!...He really was a most wonderful man...and gentle soul...xx

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  13. Oh Lynn, what a beautiful story...so tenderly written. A fabulous tribute to your Uncle...I was in tears by the end.

    'Beyond all others'... so, so special! x

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    1. Aw thank you....xxx..He was genuinely a wonderful, selfless man....

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  14. Great piece. Simply beautiful. Thanks for sharing with us.

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    1. He was a great and wonderful man....thanks for taking the time to read of him x

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  15. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing. As love is like many pieces of mosaic glass each has a place to make life artistically beautiful. I have known love like this and continue to know...❤

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    1. As always, thank you for reading my words. I love your words here when you say 'love is like many pieces of mosaic glass each has a place to make life artistically beautiful'...xx

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  16. Really enjoyed this. Sincerity and (dare I say) love comes through :). Sounds like great bloke. Very moving story. Thanks

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    1. Many thanks for your kind comments, Roger. Yes, he was a wonderful man and I'm so glad you could see how much he was, and remains to be, loved....

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  17. Beautiful words Lynn, so very touching, warm and full of love.

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    1. Aw thank you, I'm glad you met him...even if it was just a glimpse through a computer..xx

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