I have a worry about this blog. Its purpose has been to remind of happy memories where false or sad ones exist – and to be an antidote to the bad ones. But the happy memories may, for any who read them, cause sadness as well: sadness to those who have false or bad ones. The blog’s purpose and hope is healing and restoration of relationships, not only for my family but for all who may read it and for whom its posts may strike a chord of recognition.
Meanwhile the happy memories are….happy memories. Some readers have told me they enjoy them for themselves. This was not a consciously intended result of using them. So, hesitantly, I will continue with them. If pain is caused to anyone I would hope that they will recognise they are written with love, with hope and with an urgent wish to put all sadness behind us and to begin again.
May they too, think only of the happiness they contain and, above all, leave all question of any remorse, should it be felt, behind them, even as this mysterious season of Christmas brings hope to us all. In that spirit I print here a memory first described elsewhere, on June 23, 2008.
‘I’ve just been out on my bike. Yes I still do ride one. Some bits of it are from the one you will remember: the handlebars and brakes and the three-speed gear but nothing else. Because it’s midsummer and the dog roses are in the hedges, I remembered some of the times you rode your new bike along with me as we sought out what bits of countryside there were, where we used to live.
‘There was one thing you said then which moved me. It was a small bike which could also be ridden by an adult and I said you would have to share it with mummy and when you were wobbling about on it when it was gleaming new you said something to the effect of ‘I do like my bike’ and then you corrected yourself and said ‘our bike’.
‘You had longed for a bike for years and that showed a moral sensitivity and generosity which still moves me. I was also impressed one May morning by the way you made no fuss when you collided with a telegraph pole and grazed your arm badly. We bought some Dettol on the way home and mummy took you to the cottage hospital. Quite often on these morning trips we would stop at a passing milk float and buy a bottle for you to top up your energy.
‘These are good memories. But you are not alone in them, because a little while later I taught your sister to ride a bike too. You both learned on the playing field near our house, where the landing was guaranteed to be soft.’
Footnote, December 26, 2010: I did not post the letter. I remember your dissertation for your degree, on Dame Julian of Norwich, and as we contemplate the wonders of this Christmas season I gather all of us into her prediction: ‘All shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.’