897. Joyce and Neville

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Joyce and Neville had been married for forty-seven years. Neville had been diagnosed three years earlier with chronic heart disease. There wasn’t a great deal that could be done. He was given pills and told to eat as little salt and animal fat as possible, and to try to get some regular exercise.

If the truth be known, he was doing pretty well. They would sit at their outside table over summer, in the late afternoon, and chat away. Forty-seven years with some ups and downs! But hadn’t they done well? And there were grandkids! And they had only a few things to worry about in their retirement – apart from Neville’s chronic heart disease of course. But these things happen. It was part of the inevitability of life. And then of course, one of them could have died in a freak accident forty years ago and there would be no need to grow old and decrepit!

Joyce would frequently look at Neville, when he wasn’t watching, as they sat at the outside table over summer. Did he look pale? Was his angina playing up? Would he go suddenly? Would she come home one day from getting the groceries and find him lying dead on the porch? Would he have an attack in the middle of the night and she would have to call an ambulance? How would the inevitable happen? Joyce dreaded the day.

And then it happened. Neville passed away while watching the news one evening on television. He simply said a mild “I’m going” and died. It was very sudden and very peaceful. Just like nodding off to sleep.

Joyce busied herself with funeral preparations. She grieved. Of course she was sad! But she never realised until then how heavy had been the weight of worry.

18 thoughts on “897. Joyce and Neville

  1. Cynthia Jobin

    It’s probably quite normal for people who have spent a long life together to wonder how it will all end. The inevitable, horrible question of “who will go first?” may seem to have been already decided by chronic disease or illness, but that is not always how it works. We worry and torment ourselves with the insecurity of it all, but it happens uniquely and often quite beyond what we imagine. And whether it’s a sense of relief or devastation, there’s no planning or credible, psychobabble answer for how it is going to feel.

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    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      That is so true. My parents’ deaths were quite different from what I had always imagined! I had a cousin, Leila, who on her deathbed organized her funeral in great detail. Two of the appointed pallbearers “passed on” the day before her funeral!

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  2. Cynthia Jobin

    Death is an appropriate topic for your post, today, Bruce….Good Friday, and all is quiet.

    I remember, back in my childhood how we used to keep absolutely silent between noon and 3 o’clock on Good Friday, since that was supposedly the time of day when Jesus lived his last moments, said his last words, and expired. Then we went to church for the Way of The Cross. All the statues and the altar crucifix were draped in purple. And of course, we fasted…mostly by not eating meat. You had Good Friday today. We have it tomorrow. But secularization has diminished all those practices and relegated them to the old who remember and the few who still practice. For me, now, it’s just another weekend.

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    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      For me too – it’s the same as for you – but today I kept remembering for some reason. My story/blog today was a Good Friday story – as are the Easter stories (disguised) coming up for the next couple of days. Here in New Zealand the Press is still full of comments: Why do we have to have this Christian Feast imposed upon us?… get rid of it.” Yet, they still take the day off and demand “respect” for everything Islam.

      Liked by 3 people

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Gentle thoughts and expressions of astoundedness are both gratefully accepted.

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