Remembering those who wait

This is a post I made this time last year. I still think it is worth thinking about.

While we remember, as we should, those who gave their lives in war, I often think of the others who should also be remembered on Remembrance Day.

The parents, the lovers, the children and friends of those fighting the battles. Waiting, always waiting, and hoping for the safety of their loved one. Waiting for news, ever hopeful that it will be good news, but secretly expecting and dreading the worst.

I think waiting must be one of the most difficult assignments in the time of war. How does one go about ones daily round of chores, wondering if your loved one is alive or dead, wondering if you will have some inner knowing that he or she has passed out of life.

Women mostly have been those that have waited, and reaped the aftermath of the sorrow of war. Does it take a particular strength to be the one left behind? They should be remembered for it.

After the war

I was born in 1947 in London, England, so I do not remember World War II, but I do remember some things.

Blackout curtains that were left hanging in my grandmother’s flat. The ration books that every family had, they could only get so much food, and it was detailed in a little book that every housewife took to the store with them. Fruit, candy, nylon stockings, and all the little luxuries were not available for quite a while after the war.

I remember the bunker at the bottom of my Uncle’s garden, half buried with the entrance just above the ground. He used it as a garden shed after the war and grew roses all over it, I guess to help eradicate the memories.

The pale and sweating face of my stepmother when she hear a siren, any kind of siren, ambulance, police or whatever. She had lived in one of the hardest hit areas of London and her home had been bombed. She never grew accustomed to sirens.

She and her two sisters had become ‘Land Girls’ during the war, and their arms were like wrestlers from hay bailing, milking cows b hand, and other heavy work that there were no men around to do.

I think one of the things that stick with me now is that every conversation always was qualified with “it was before the war” or “it was just after the war”. Now all my relatives that lived through World War II are dead and soon all those who participated in it will be also.

I wonder when we have the next World War, and I feel certain there will be one, if there will people remembering what it was like after that war.