Hunter Davies, a widowed author, speaks up about life after the death of his wife Margaret Forster.
I WONDER IF THE QUEEN WILL EVER HAVE ANOTHER buddy, companion, life partner, or kindred spirit with whom she can share all of life’s little happenings and thoughts? Will she sign up for Saga dating and fill out her profile? “Working monarch, just widowed, enjoys horses and dogs, barbecues, Dad’s Army, and the Daily Express, has no money concerns, GSH…”
No way, I don’t believe she’ll do it. But I know that when my wife Margaret Forster died five years ago after 55 years of marriage, I really missed all the trivial, uninteresting things you have in your thoughts and want to dump on someone. “Do you know who I met on the bus?” You’ll never guess — take a guess…” Or, “I have to tell you about a nice exchange I overheard in the Morrisons checkout line…” You want to share such trivia with your loved one before it fades, knowing that it will be gone tomorrow.
Obviously, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh didn’t go shopping or take the bus, but I’m sure they had their own version of the story: “You’ll never guess what happened when I launched that battleship — the bottle wouldn’t crack.” It was invaluable.”
“At the opening of that new museum, the little girl with the posy fell down, and the Lord Mayor tripped over her,” or something along those lines. Oh, God, I’m not sure how I managed to keep a straight face.”
You want to go over what happened and how you did at the end of a long, boring, or grueling day. Or, if it was a very thrilling day, you can’t wait to tell everyone about it.
My wife used to think I was crazy when I refused to jump to the highlights and instead took her through the entire narrative, word for word: “Now, let me think, I got on the 214 bus, no hang on, it was the C11…”
She’d yell, “Just get on with the bloody story!”
After my wife died, I really missed being able to unload my mind and without having somebody with whom to share all of the sights and conversations from the day, as well as the foolish things that were still buzzing in my head. Another benefit of a long marriage is that you have a lot of shared memories that no one else can comprehend or care about because they weren’t there.
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