Monday, 15 February 2016

Amidst death, there is life....

Today, 15th February 2016, is my much loved niece Freya's 15th birthday.  I haven't got any recent pictures of her as circumstances have meant my not seeing her for a while, and she hardly uses social media (hurrah, good girl!) so there wasn't much Facebook/instagram selfie nicking opportunity!  Here, instead, is one of her with her dad, my dear brother, Eddie - taken about 4 or 5 years ago, I imagine.  I love it - Freya is a real batty Aquarius!


The day she was born, February 15th 2001, was a strange and kind of other-worldly one.  I had not long moved from Northampton to Cromer in Norfolk, with my then-husband, Alan.  We'd had a call a week before from Alan's brother to say that their 80-odd year old father, Jim, had just died, so we went back to Northampton for the funeral, to be held on the 15th.  

The morning was a beautiful one, bright and sunny, and the whole family was there, lots of relatives down from Stirling in Scotland, where they came from.  The funeral was a fitting tribute to Jim, a sweet man who'd had a full life with a wife he loved, four sons, grandchildren; he'd served in World War II in the navy for 6 years (yes, he had a war story or two!).  I remember standing at the graveside as Alan and his sons threw earth on the coffin and thinking that it was so sad, but, oddly, not a completely unhappy day.   Jim had liked a whisky and a good laugh, and the wake in the village pub was quite jolly; a few people remarked that Jim had brought them all together again, in a way that might not have happened otherwise.

Ex father-in-law Jim lives on ~ his grandson David, now 28, with his own daughter.

Afterwards, Alan and I went back to my friend Lesley's house, where we were staying, and found a note from my father, to say that my brother's wife had given birth just after midnight, and that they would be home that afternoon!

We went straight round to Eddie's house and found my parents there, too ~ and there was Freya, on the first day of her life.  The atmosphere in the house was so hushed and peaceful, with the lamps on and light beginning to fade outside; we were talking in very low voices so as not to disturb the tiny baby, and I felt a sense of beginning, of birth, as if Freya was a tiny plant just poking a green shoot into the daylight, from the dark warmth of the earth!  Standing at the bedside looking at her, I pondered upon the circle of life, if that doesn't sound too naff; all those people who had been involved in Jim's long life had said goodbye to him that morning, amongst good cheer, and now I was there with my small family, whispering hello to Freya.  

One of my favourite pictures ~ Freya with my dad, taken in 2012

It was a lovely day, and I feel a tear in my eye just thinking of it!  Happy birthday, Freya, and may your life be as long and eventful as Jim's. :)

Freya and Eddie, 2012

..... I talked to Freya a few hours after writing this, and have now got this updated picture of her - VERY different now!  Isn't she lovely?  And I daresay she'll grow out of the need to do duck face :)



18 comments:

  1. And I feel a small tear and a large sniff coming on just reading this. A lovely post indeed. Happy birthday to Freya!! Wishing her a lovely day and an even lovelier life. She looks a sweetheart!

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    1. Thank you, V! I just wish I could see her... so far away! x

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  2. Beautiful. Nieces (and nephews) are precious, aren't they?

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    1. Yes - all the joy, none of the hassle! :)

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  3. Lovely! Wishing Freya a happy birthday and you a happy Monday, Terry! xo

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  4. I hope Freya gets to read this, Terry, because I'm sure it would mean a lot to her. When my husband's mother-in-law was very ill our daughter Chloe found out she was six weeks pregnant with her first child. She decided to break the news early so mum-in-law would know before she died. Our beautiful Millie is six now and, along with her sister Evie, has filled our lives with so much joy.

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    1. Oh, Marilyn - yesterday I was feeling a bit choked up at not having seen her for ages, and in the evening she rang me up to say thank you for the birthday present - and I discovered that Julia (my sister) had sent her this! I was so pleased. Your tale is so sweet x

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  5. This was a moving piece of family history Each generation brings new life and hope.

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  6. Happy birthday, Freya. And I hope you have a good day too, Terry, with your mixed memories.

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  7. Happy birthday to Freya! She looks and sounds lovely :-)

    I've often thought that lately, about how much people would enjoy gatherings to remember them xx

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    1. Thanks, Jade - yes; most funerals are so dreadful, but when a person has come to the end of their natural life it can be a kind of happy thing, too. xx

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  8. Such a lovely post :) Happy birthday, Freya!

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    1. Thank you, Cathy - other Aquarian! x

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  9. Freya looks lovely - so the good genes travel on. Hope your day improved with the chat with your niece, Terry.Jx

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    1. Thanks so much, Judith! When she was younger, her parents called her 'Mini Terry' :)

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