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Eva and her family were not in the apartment now.  They had lost that during one of the hellish raids that had come at the time of restraint from the allies which had lulled them into a false sense of hoping the worst was over.  That was what the newspapers and wireless broadcasts were telling then and, of which her neighbour from upstairs had verified.  He had pounded on her door a few days after the allies had invaded Normandy to relay the good news.”Frauline Butz,” he`d gushed, rushing past her waving the Volkischer Beobachter, the Nazi party newspaper in front of her face.  “Look what`s happening in France – we have nearly won the war.  Let me read it to you.”

“It`s too soon to say.”  Pierre answered in a hushed voice.  He led Henri by the shoulder taking him away from the throng of people who were going about the daily task of making the most of their cave like existence.  “The Germans have their tanks all around the entrance to Caen.  Pierre drew Henri hard by his shoulder toward him and hissed.  “The SS have murdered over six hundred people in the village of Oradour-sur-Glane. They shot some in the market square and burned others alive in the church.”

Henri`s head shot up.  “Why would they do such a thing?”

“Because they are murderers and since the allies landed are finding any excuse to kill.”

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I am very privileged to work at the National Holocaust downloadCentre in Laxton, Nottinghamshire. I was not looking for work of this kind, but the opportunity just fell on me, as we sometimes find the best things that come our way, does.  The Holocaust is not a subject I am dealing with at the moment in my writing, but certainly comes within the era, the Holocaust of course mainly taking place during the Second World War.  I say mainly, because anti-Semitism in Germany, started way before the outbreak of the war, Hitler just pounced on the rapid rise of Nazism as war broke out, with the demise of the Jewish population already festering in the realms of this brutish regime.

Many people may think that working at a place like this, is oppressive and filled with download (4)morbidity and gloom.  But, although this subject is terrible for the Jewish population and many others that did not fall in the group of Hitler`s idealism of the `perfect race`, when you walk through the gateway to the centre, one meets a glorious display of white roses, poignant in their serenity and meaning.

For it is here, in the Memorial Garden, where the many relatives and descendants can come and plant a rose and a plaque in memory of the loved ones they have lost, many of them, having not even known them.plaque

The growing pile of stones to the right of the entrance, depicts a child, each stone representing a child lost in the Holocaust – of which any member of the public can add to.  There are many corners and alcoves in the one acre Memorial Garden, cradling benches where you can sit and listen to the birds, the perfume of the roses mystifying the already tranquil setting. Just reading the plaques is emotional in itself and one doesn`t have to have lost a relative in that horrific period to have the sense of bewilderment to ask – Why? –  How?

The staff of the National Holocaust  Centre doesn`t try to answer these questions, but display an understanding to the many young school groups and members of the public, that this story needs telling and they do it with pleasant and very helpful staff who are on hand to answer questions and worries.download (7)

With survivors of the Holocaust coming to the centre to give talks on their own personal experience, coming here to listen to these people adds further depth to the understanding and sensitivity to this most inconceivable subject.

The main exhibition covers Jewish life in Europe before the war; the rise of National Socialism; ghettos;resistance; concentration and death camps; survival and post-war justice and rescuers.download (3)

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The only Holocaust Centre in Europe that has a Holocaust display for primary school children and despite many warnings that this would not be a positive experience for these youngsters, it has in fact proved a resounding success with the children moving through the time with a fictitious boy of their age,Leo Stein, who tells his story entitled,The Journey.

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 Leo shares, with the visiting children, his experiences and emotions whilst moving through Leo`s home, school and street, told in such a way that the children may understand Leo`s plight without trauma or upset.  Instead his story opens up the youngsters enquiring minds with many thoughts and questions which the centre staff answer with sensitivity.  Adults too, enjoy this part of the exhibition.

I know that by working here, my knowledge of the Holocaust will benefit and to help people and children share this experience is a great honour. The centre, far from being harrowing gives the unique opportunity for remembrance and reflection and with what is happening again in far away places, that cannot be a bad thing.

So, during the next few months, as my experience grows, I hope you will share this journey with me.

National Holocaust Centre

Laxtondownload (6)

Newark

Notts

NG22 0PA

01623 836627

http://www.holocaustcentre.net

Opening Hours

10.30 – 4.00

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Despite Eva`s best efforts and motherly nursing skills, Anna was deteriorating.  She needed a doctor and Eva had no idea where to find one.  She had heard that the two big hospitals in the central and western parts of Berlin had been destroyed by the allies` bombs and the local doctors had all but disappeared, either dead, sent to the front, or transferred to military hospitals.

Little Anna.  Eva stroked her sleeping face.  She was so pale; the frown now permanent across her forehead, her body hardly making an impression under the blackout curtains Eva was using for blankets, her little stark white hands protruding.  She had a sore at the corner of her mouth and her breathing was accompanied by a slight rasp and she coughed intermittently in her sleep.

 

There had been no raids during the last twenty four – hours so maybe in this lull; today she would take a chance.  Eva always put off going out until she had to, the sight outside depressing her with broken water mains, clatters of bricks piled high, cratered roads, smoking skeletal buildings teetering on collapse.  People were trying to go about their business, but look closely, and their eyes were dead, their bodies triumphant in neglect of their own humanity, such were the living conditions.  Berlin wasn’t Berlin anymore.

 

 

 

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ImageThe life of a dog compared to ours, is quite short.  When purchasing a new dog, we make the decision to endure the trials and tribulations of puppyhood the companionship and loyalty of adulthood and the heartache of illness and inevitability of losing our lifelong friend. I have had dogs for most of my life and tried a brief period of abstaining after losing my fabulous and as I thought at the time, irreplaceable Golden Retriever Sam.  After spending nearly all of my life looking after dogs, walking, feeding, training, clearing up the mess and grooming, never mind the expense, I thought it was time for some `me` time.  Trapped in the depths of grief of the passing of Sam, I was absolute in my decision.  That decision lasted all of three days.  Of course Sam is irreplaceable.  But why would I want to replace him?  He was Sam in his own right and always will be. But what I did need to replace and was missing – was my companion and friend.

Those of you who have read one of my previous posts `Living with Amy` will know what happened next.  And those of you who haven`t – please do, as this next excerpt of her life, might counteract all that I have told you before.  Although living through all of that was true and is imprinted on my brain – and heart forever, what Amy has become now, is loyal, loving, fun, beautiful and oh – very stubborn!!  (She has now decided, for whatever reason, and after months of travel, to take a dislike of getting into the car and a tractor wouldn`t move her!)  I will let you know what happens on that score.  But for now, please enjoy these photographs of her metamorphose into adulthood.  One that is captivating, funny and wonderful.  And for those of you about to get a puppy – good luck (you`ll need it).  And for those of you who have had the heartache of losing your lifelong friend and have decided not to have another because they are `irreplaceable` – I hope after following Amy – you will think again.

And finally – just before I go – I would like to prove this point by introducing you to Henry – my new addition.  I have done it all over again!!!  To be continued…….Photo0460_001 (1)Photo0446_001 (1)

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ImageImageImageImageOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAamy beach 1OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAMY SWIMOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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When the `doggy` God in heaven decided to take you Sam, I was devastated to say the least.  You had been with us for eleven glorious years and I can honestly say you were the best dog ever.                                SAM FIRST PRIZE WINNER 002

You were gentle, kind, handsome, funny and a real doggy gentleman.  You were always around, either splayed out on the driveway enjoying the morning sunshine, or, your huge frame was always under my feet, in my office, in the kitchen, lounge, dining room and bedroom.  You were silent in your presence, but always comforting, lifting your head, demanding a stroke.

With your luxurious cream coat, you were admired wherever you went, your thick mane resembling that of a proud lion.  The photo above shows you gallantly displaying your rosette for first prize in the veteran class of a dog show.  A veteran you may have been, but in your mind you were still a puppy.  You ducked and dived trying to catch the ball when the family played, you swam in lakes and the sea, you being so fanatical about water. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You were never any trouble, travelled well and sat firm by the car when you saw us packing for holidays.  There was no way you would let us leave without you!!  You loved the countryside, the lochs the mountains, any fresh air really and we would often comment that you preferred your walks to your dinner!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen you fell ill, it was literally overnight.  When we went to bed you were fine, nothing untoward.  When we found you the next morning, it was amidst vomit and distress.  Even then, when we rushed you to the vet, did I think for one minute we wouldn`t be bringing you home.  I cried as we walked you into the treatment room.  Did you know?  Because even though you collapsed on the floor, you tried to get up and you looked at me as if to say, “Please take me home.”  You hated the vets at the best of times.  But you then settled into an almost resigned state, your body full-stretch on the floor, your psyche quiet and forlorn.

The vet pumped you with pain-killers and tried to tell us, as they can only do, that there was little hope, that something catastrophic had happened in your gut.  “But how can that be?” I asked. “We took him for a walk only twelve hours ago – he was fine,”  I sobbed.

Not wanting to give up.  We asked the vet to try everything – anything – without causing you anymore distress.  We had to leave you to let them try, and even as they carried you out, you raised your head in question as we disappeared from your sight.  My beautiful boy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But it was not to be.  We came back after a few hours and you hadn`t responded to treatment and as I lay with you on the floor, you quietly and gently slipped away, your pain over.  Not having been ravaged by  a long illness, you were as beautiful in death as you were in life.

We took you home and buried you under the cabin veranda, your favourite spot in the garden where you had whiled away many happy hours sunning yourself.

I told myself, as people racked with grief at the loss of a much – loved pet do, that, that was it, no more dogs, I can`t go through this again!

But the reality of your death, was not to grieve over losing you, but to celebrate you and all you had brought to us.  How you had enriched our lives and taught us so much, of humility and loyalty and how, by showing you affection and love, you gave back a love in return, that was so unconditional, it took our breath away.1940 sept 2012 me 2

So, with the house silent and empty and screaming the lack of your presence, I tenuously started to surf the internet.  Just to have a look you will understand.  After looking at many breeds, my heart began to dither and melt.  Life without a dog, was really not a life at all. We live in the countryside, love walking and have a huge garden.  We have so much to give a dog that all the past heartache of losing you Sam, was superseded by that knowledge.

We decided not to have another Golden Retriever as I didn`t want to feel we were replacing you, but to have a new dog in its own right.  After a lot of studying, trying to find the breed that would match our life-style, we decided on a Flat Coated Retriever.  The breed is very much like the Golden Retriever and Labrador in temperament, but the Flat Coats, has the name suggests, has a flatter, sleeker coat and are slighter in frame.  But they are fun, happy, loyal, exuberant dogs and love the outdoor life. Just as Sam had. Perfect!

So, that done, it was time to find one!  Easier said than done.  Flat Coats are very popular and in demand and, because we wanted a liver colour, quite hard to get.  There weren`t many around, and as we also decided on a bitch this time, this narrowed our search even greater.  We even picked a name – Amy.

Each time I found a breeder, the pups expected were already sold, but as luck would have it, a breeder who had just sold her litter, told me she had another litter due in a few months.  So I put my name down with Tracy Ballard from Clock Tower Kennels, and we said we would like a liver coloured little girl.  The expectant parents were – mum  black in colour – dad a liver colour – so we had a chance of getting our liver little girl. This situation suited us perfectly as I didn`t want to have a new puppy too close to Sam`s death.

The weeks went by and with a few emails exchanged with Tracy to see how things were going, and marking off each week on the calendar when the pups were due, we were on tender  hooks.  Would we get our little liver girl puppy?  I was still missing Sam so much, but I now tried to focus on our `new arrival` and was secure in the knowledge that Sam would have approved of us having a bitch as – didn`t he just love the girls!

Finally, quiet unexpectedly and with a few days to go to the expected day, I received an email from Tracy.  Nine pups, six black and three liver.  And two of the liver pups were girls! poppys puppies 3 days

poppys liver puppy 3 daysWe had our new puppy – and that is the moment when you, Amy, came into our lives.

Over the next few weeks, we kept in touch with your progress and set about getting all the things we would need.  Bed, toys, leads, bowls and blankets.  We felt as though we were getting ready for a new baby.  Which of course we were.  The great day came when we could make our first visit to see you when you were just four weeks old.  And what a delight.  After a two-hour journey (and a sleepless night full of excitement) we were finally going to meet you, to offer you your new life – as best we could.

Seeing you just melted away all of our pain and longing for Sam and helped us rejoice that his life and the joy he had brought to us and all he had taught us, had now led us to you.

AMY 1Having to leave you was torture but we were happy, because just another five weeks and you would be coming home.

The great day came and everyone in our family and village waited in anticipation for your home-coming.  I was nervous as well as excited. It hit me that again, we were taking on a huge responsibility.  Not only in caring for you for the rest of your life, but to make your life happy and content and give you all that your breed desires.  You would only know one life.  And that would be with us.  Whatever we decided for you, would be the basis of your existence.  I could only hope we would do the best for you.

Amy with her breeder,  grandma and dad

Amy with her breeder, grandma and dad

Amy`s dad

Amy`s dad

Amy with Grandma and Dad the day she left them.

Amy with Grandma and Dad the day she left them.

AMY SCARF

So here you are – home at last.

You settled in really well.  The weather was cold and snowy.  But you didn`t care and as your breed suggests, you revelled in the playtime of the snow.AMY RUN SNOW

You helped in the garden, even helping Peter split the logs.AMY HOME 2

Everyone loved you – but then how could they not.AMY TOP FACE

You were mischievous from the start.  But little did I know just how mischievous you would become!

So my darling as you grow and we get used to each other and are both learning the rules of the household – (me with you in it!)  I keep reminding myself that, as you chew through the kitchen cupboard doors, that I must treasure this time.  But I can`t help asking, when looking for my slippers for the umpteenth time, or trying to find my sweeping brush, or finding the `poo` bags that I keep in my walking jacket pocket that are now usually full of holes because you keep pinching them,(not nice to discover when picking up poo) where has my quiet carefree life gone?  When will I ever get any writing done?  Have I done the right thing in having you?

So dear reader.  I will now leave you with an inventory of my life with Amy – and leave you to decide!

LIVING WITH AMY

AMY BOWL

Now, with all the things I have to do today – I would like you to be very good. Where have you got that from? No, we don`t have time to make a pudding.

AMY CLEANINGOh, alright then, you can help with the cleaning.  But we need to hurry because we have lots to do.

AMY STAIRS 4I don`t know how you are going to get down the stairs. It`s no use looking like that – I did tell you not to go up now didn`t I.

AMY STAIRS 3

amy 19 weeksYou managed to get down then!

You are lovely to look at, you can be good at times, but truth be told, you do take up a lot of my time having to play with you and making sure you aren`t up to any mischief when I should be at my desk working.  But, the reason you came into my life in the first place was to keep me company and fill the empty void that Sam, your predecessor, left in my life.

Sam of course is a hard act to follow.  He was a real gentleman (in the doggy sense) and very laid back and most of the time he just lay around, (well he was eleven I suppose) and as you are only five months old, I will have to concede that to expect you to do the same is asking a bit much.

But Amy my darling puppy, I do have to work sometime.  So when you are hanging onto my slippers under my desk, or running off with my notepad that holds all of the precious notes that will never come into my head again in this lifetime, or ripping up everything out of my rubbish bin, or chewing up the most expensive afghan rug that took me an age to persuade my husband to purchase, could you perhaps have a little understanding and sympathy with your mistress and give me a break sometime. AMY 13 WEEKS

I don`t want to keep threatening you with a trip back to Worcester ( your place of birth and to Tracy the breeder that failed to warn me that Flat Coat Retriever puppies can be hell on earth – shame on her) Only joking Tracy.  I do want to treasure these puppy days that will disappear with your fast growing legs that seem to get lankier by the day and I do keep reminding myself, as I dab the blood from my punctured skin as you chew my hands and legs off, that these days will soon be gone forever (thank the Lord)

But please, could you remember that your years are seven  times my years – and have a little mercy if I run out of stamina (and patience) as I sprint across the lawn (I wish) to try to retrieve my shoes before they are nothing but shredded leather. Forgive me for always feeling guilty when wishing you asleep so that I can enjoy a glass of wine by the fire, after spending weeks of glorious anticipation of your arrival.  It is truly wonderful to see your lithe body laid still in your bed, and my husband and I quickly retreat into the sanctity of the lounge keeping the TV low so as not to wake you.Amy Serene!

But my darling little girl, despite all of this, I wouldn`t change anything for the world.  Only perhaps to bring Sam back.  But his time is done.  He had a truly wonderful life and he gave us a truly wonderful life back.  I will never forget Sam1940 sept 2012 me 2

SAM FIRST PRIZE WINNER 001How could I – when he enriched our lives so.

But I have to face the fact – no matter how hard it is to lose our beloved pets, it is better to have loved them – then never to have loved them at all.

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AMY RUN SNOW And now another chapter begins.

So little puppy with all of your life ahead of you, let us, as your keepers, give you the richness of life you deserve to make you happy and contented in your life here with us.

So I will keep searching for my slippers, I will keep dabbing the blood from my skin, I will retrieve the shoes from the lawn, the sweeping brush and the car sponge.  I will clear away the shredded paper and hopefully rewrite the chewed up notebooks.

Because I know, from you, we will get all of your unconditional love and loyalty – for the rest of your life.

I love you Amy.AMY WATCHING

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Amidst untenable emotion that stifles and subdues, the crystalline splendour of Eva Cassidy`s song Fields of Gold, drifts amongst the congregation, sentiment dripping from the lyrics. I have a sudden urge of wanting to ask, why did you love that song so much?  Of course we all cry.  A life, fifty-nine years in the making, that had not yet fulfilled the desires of the heart.  Engulfed by a stealthy illness that crept, eventually swallowed any trace of those desires.  Desires of visiting a much-loved son in Australia.  Desires of holding the expected new-born grandchild.  Desires of witnessing newly planted trees reach to the sky in a grandeur of greenery.  Listening to the words of the song, I cannot help but smile at the lyrics of When the West Wind Blows. You didn`t know north from south – or east from west.  You always got names muddled and places were a constant geographical nightmare.  The pallbearers gently place your coffin before the cross of Christ.  Eva Cassidy`s haunting voice transcends, weightless, lubricating this density of space.  The spangled brilliance of translucent colours plays upon your coffin draped with cascading lilies. With trembling hands and tears that flow shamelessly, I recall, with traumatized incredulity, it was only just a few months ago that we did indeed walk in Fields of Gold. Our friendships beginning was a fleeting half hours walk with our dogs most mornings.  We walked together along the sweeping lane that stretched from our homes.  Me, with my  bouncy Golden Retriever Sam and you with your regal Boxer Bertie. Our daily walks did not desist as the seasons changed.  Biting winds, driving rain, frost laced branches, warm spring breezes and summer searing heat.  Nothing fazed us.  We would chat about the mundane things.  The weather.  What we watched on television the previous night.  As our friendship grew, we realised we had a lot in common.  A daughter and son about the same age as each others.  Our love of animals and wildlife. Do you remember how we would both, during the cold winter months, take a plastic bag full of bread to feed the solitary robin that would perch on the bare branch next to us? Each morning he would appear and watch us furtively as we held our daily chat on that awful cold lump of concrete that faced the field.  Our derrieres would chill as the dampness of our implausible seat gnawed through our padding of clothes.  “God,” you would chunter, “we`ll get piles from sitting on this thing.”   Do you remember when we walked away after depositing the bag of winter nourishment, we would surreptitiously pause and watch as the robin hopped onto our lump of concrete and pensively peck away at the feast left for him?  This cheeky chap began to wait each morning for us  recognizing the two strange women with bulging bands of food and he became another friend of our daily dog walk.   We shared anguishes over the children.  Stories of rebellious teenagers and tales of your daughter that, when a teenager was, “An awful mare!”  But you also told me in a lowered tone that hinted at the anguish of your plight simmering in secret, that your daughter had made up for her teenage antics in later years.  Now, those rebellious years vanquished, your daughter had become a friend, a carer and subsequently your nurse.  Your son emigrated to Australia.  Amidst your obvious distress of his departure, you told me how proud you were of him.  You gave me weekly reports on his progress after you had spoken and `seen` him through the innovation of advanced technology which held and displayed, almost cruelly, treasured images of a son you could see but not touch. You confided of how you were looking forward to visiting him in Australia.  Sadly, fate in all of its morose inane ironies did not allow you to make that journey.  Fate came in the form of cancer.  Malignant cells took over, deliberating in it persistence of demoralization.  Incredibly, before I knew you, you had survived the `silent killer` ovarian cancer and was just now beginning to enjoy life again.  The ovarian cancer was now dormant.  But with infections, that constantly plagued you, you were finally diagnosed with breast cancer.  You began treatment with a tenacity that humbled me.  I am sure in your private moments you displayed your anger and self-worthlessness.  But to the outside world you remained happy and optimistic finding the daily grind of chemotherapy and radiotherapy a nuisance rather than a tragedy to incur.  Your lovely blond hair fell our and you were relieved it was winter so that you could wear your hood high over your balding head.  No-one, other than your immediate family and friends, knew anything was amiss.  In the summer you donned a bandana that featured the bright colours of the rainbow that depicted your sunny optimism.  Things seemed to be going well.  Chemotherapy pumped into your body and daily doses of radiotherapy shrank the tumour.  However, your happy and infectious sanguinity hid a deadly secret.  It was a moment I was not expecting.  Just a normal day.  Two dogs bouncing, ducking and diving in the golden corn.  An incomprehensible moment that you spoke of as if telling me you were going shopping, or visiting the family, or having to do the ironing or clean the cooker.  “They can`t cure me – the cancer is inoperable – it`s terminal.”   I could lie and say I felt sad, shocked, lost.  However I did not.  I felt bloody angry.  Angry that I could lose my friend to something I could not see, could not understand.  That all of this that we shared – would stop.  Nothing seemed to change.  You were well, planning Christmas.  Planning to visit Australia.  You were shopping, walking Bertie.  I began to feel secure in that knowledge, burying the stark reality of those crippling words you spoke in that fleeting revelation.  It had also struck home that you had trusted me with that information.  I was humbled that our friendship had reached those heights.  The next revelation came in much the same way.  I was totally unprepared and unaware.  You seemed so well when you told me that you were feeling exhausted when we sat with our bottoms on our cold lump of concrete.  I joked with, “What have you been doing to make you feel so exhausted?”  I had totally forgotten that you had an incurable disease.  “The cancer has spread to my other breast,”  you declared wistfully.  But the darkness of the implication of that fact shifted across your eyes.  How much does a body, one of God`s children, have to endure?  I did not feel angry this time.  I asked God why.  More than before, from the pit of my stomach that lurched in fear, I sensed your cynicism.  Cancer would not let go of you.  It had buried itself deep within you only to surface when you thought you were the victor.  It tricked you with your days of good health and happy demeanour.  This time there was a change in you.  You did not seem so optimistic.  The weekly doses of chemotherapy stripped away your strength and the daily radiotherapy was painful.  Even so, seeing you everyday I did not notice you in obvious decline and hung on to the fact that whilst you were receiving treatment, there was a glimmer of hope.  I still hung on to that fact when you were too ill to bring Bertie for his morning walk convincing myself that you were just going though a bad time. I did plan to come to see you.  I wanted to so badly.  Truth was, I was scared.  Scared to see the change in you from the happy, optimistic jovial friend, to the victim of a filthy disease that had dared to encompass your body.  I did not want to witness you fall victim to cancers laceration of dignity and thought you deserved better than having to succumb to its degradation.  God must have thought so to.  Because, quite unexpectedly, he took you whilst you were asleep. So here you lie in this little chapel surrounded by your family and friends.  My tears stumble on my cheeks, waiting.  My hand reaches to my face, faltering to wipe them away.  Will I wipe you away with them?  Are you in the dark shadow of my heart as I foresee my lonely walks?  Are you in the laughter that bursts from my soul as I remember your witless statements?  Are you with me as I tread the future missing my friend?  Are you with me when I forget to remember you?  Are you happy?  Eva Cassidy`s voice is still holding us in a captivated state with her harmonic layered tone and I fear that you will not be able to answer my question of why you chose that song to be played at your funeral.  Did you know that you had more in common with Eva Cassidy than the cancer that infiltrated you both?  I recall reading in an article of her after she had just passed away whereby a friend commented,  “Nature was Eva`s soul.  She respected and nurtured everything that grows, crawls and flies.  She was not interested in a glittering career, preferring to surround herself with supportive friends.”  These words magnify everything I know of you.  I want to tell you here and now about Eva`s common likeness to you and I hear you say in your usual endearing surprise, “Oh was she?”  And, as Eva`s song transcends, luxuriantly asking, if we remember you, and asking us to stay with you in the Fields of Gold and gaze awhile amongst the fields of barley, I stand with the inconceivable surprise of my own stupidity.  For you have answered my question.  My smile plays with the corner of my mouth and encouraged the waiting tear to drop.  The hot lump in my throat subsides at the rapid lurch of my heart.  The answer is so obvious it is though a new era is born.  You chose this song because you loved the spring – the summer and the winters snow.  You are with the opulence of the changing seasons when the orb of the sun sits in its jealous sky.  You are with the west wind that blows.  The rustle of gold sits in wait for you as your spirit transcends above natures opulence burst of glory.  Whilst nature continues with its ever-surprising metamorphosis, tantalising us to step over its boundary, you will never be gone from this world.  I know that whenever I walk my lonely walk and watch the golden corn whispering and dancing – you will be there.  Because, you are the eyes of the fox that twists its head in awe of an approaching stranger.  You are the leaves that curl and lift.  You are the puddle that colours eloquently, drawing the insect.  You are the robin that waits in hope.  You are the rustle that sweeps across the fields with the warm gentle breeze.  You are the cry of the newborn babe.  My walks will still be lonely, my heart still heavy.  But in my sudden realisation and secure in the knowledge that has come in this house of God, your final message to us all was a carefully chosen one designed to sooth the searing pain of the death of a loved one.  Your final message has come in the form of a simple song that outweighs any wonderful words spoken of you.  Maybe my steps of the future will be a little lighter.  Your spirit is within the wanting of what we believe, of what we know to be true.  You are happy.  For you are – the Fields of Gold.