Tag Archives: Death

The End of an Era

Jillian here. This month, I’ll be truly sharing what many are discussing today over backyard fences all over the world. A true end of an era. 

For most of us, we have only been alive during the reign of one monarch in the United Kingdom. Some were alive before she took the throne, but would have been young people or children at the time she ascended. Yes, of course, I mean Queen Elizabeth II. 

Even though I’m an American through and through, I have a special love for our neighbors across the pond. My ancestry is both English and Scottish. My paternal grandfather’s side of the family comes from the clan MacDonald and my paternal grandmother’s side were Londoners from a very long time ago. Both sides came to the USA early on—late 1600s.  My fifth generation back great-grandfather enlisted in George Washington’s army when he was only 15 and almost froze to death at Valley Forge. My MacDonald relatives fled Scotland near the time of the Glencoe massacre so we’re definitely long term residents of the North American continent. 

That doesn’t take away from the fact that I love the United Kingdom. In fact, every time I visit, I feel like I’ve come home. It’s kind of weird how that feeling just comes over me from the minute I step off the plane. 

I don’t know that I’d call myself a monarchist, but I do enjoy reading about and studying the history of the various countries making up the UK. I have followed the lives of the current royal family since Lady Diana became engaged to Prince Charles. She and I were the same age and both had two sons so I felt an affinity for her. 

Queen Elizabeth was a woman to be looked up to. She worked hard in the time of WWII and made herself useful. From the time she took the throne—and even before that—she served her country tirelessly. Even up to the Tuesday before she passed away on Thursday. That’s admirable. Ninety-six years old and still working. Very impressive. 

I didn’t think she’d live long once she lost her husband. It’s a sad fact that many long term partners pass away in close proximity to each other. They become so dependent on each other, they seem to deteriorate faster once one is gone. She had been looking quite frail lately which was worrisome. 

I was saddened by a lot of ugly comments online about the queen’s passing. I get that some people do not admire her nor the institution she represented, but at the end of the day, she was a woman. A human being. A mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin, friend. Her family, no matter  rank or standing, has a huge loss to cope with just in their personal capacity, not even considering succession and all that entails. I wish the people making such unkind comments would take a moment and remember that.  Can you imagine having to grieve in such a public way? And subject to nasty comments? It would make it so much harder, I think. 

The end of the second Elizabethan era comes to an end and the beginning of the third Charles era begins. What do we call it? Charlesian? 

It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes to change over all the currency, beefeater uniforms, post boxes, etc. Not many of us would have been witness to those kind of mundane changes when Queen Elizabeth took over from her father. History. We’re living history right now. A front row seat, so to speak. 

Is it Still 2013?

It seems as if the year 2013 is determined to beat me into submission or something. I’ve been lucky thus far in my life as far as my nuclear family being still all here and alive. We’ve had a couple of health scares with my parents in the last twelve months including two strokes (one kind of big and one small) for my mom and a quadruple bypass for my dad that doesn’t seem to have worked and now he has to have another procedure but they are both still alive and active and I’m blessed in that way.

Sadly, this has been a year of death for friends though. My dear friends have lost family members and some way too soon. One was a seven year old and one was forty-eight. The other lawyer in my office passed away at age sixty-three. I truly have had my share of funerals and sadness this year. My heart hurts for these families who are dear to me and I wish there was some comfort for them. So much of their heartache comes from the suddenness and inexplicableness of these losses.

The most recent one was from a bee sting. One sting was all that was found on his arm but he went into a coma about ten minutes after it happened and never regained consciousness. One minute, he was working in the yard and ten minutes later, he was non-responsive and effectively brain dead by about twenty minutes later.

This hit me hard. You know, you always hear that there are no guarantees of tomorrow and we kind of just gloss past that old adage but for some reason (and maybe it’s because I’ve known this person since I was 11 and he was 7) this one really hit home for me. I can’t seem to shake it off. One minute you’re here and loving life and the next, BAM, it’s over. No more playing with the kids, no more tinkering with your old truck, no more talking to your mom or sister and no more laughter.

I admire that he was an organ donor and others are being helped as a result of his gift but I know he’s going to be so missed here. He was always so full of personality and fun. From this loss, I’m taking on a new appreciation of the people I love, what I have in my life that’s good and how short our time really is here on Earth.

Hold your loved ones close and laugh with them as much as you can. Suck every second of joy you can out of your life. I love all you guys on this blog and hope you all know that. When my life is done, I sincerely hope that my loved ones and friends (same thing, right?) realize that I tried (even if sometimes I’m a grouch) to make my life one of thankfulness. I may not be perfect but like my friend who had such an outpouring of love at his funeral, I hope that my efforts to make this world just a tinier bit brighter won’t fail. His didn’t. He will live on in memory as someone who always brought joy with him into the room. Would that we all could leave such a legacy, right?