A relative died in France yesterday- not completely unexpected but still unwelcome. She was about 90 and had been poorly for some years.
By now the French whanaunga will have conveyed the news to her husband of 70 years. I almost can't think it - seventy years is about how long some of the men of my grandfather's generation lived. It's a lifetime not a relationship. Perhaps, if you're lucky they're the same thing.
"We are such sad small people," she wrote, "standing, each alone in a circle, trying to forget that death and terror are near. But death comes, and terror comes, and then we join hands and the circle is really magic. We have the strength then to face terror and death, even to laugh and make fun of being alive, and after that even to make more music and writing and dancing. But always, deep down, we are small sad people standing humanly alone. Oh for the hands to be joined for ever and the magic circle never to be broken..."
I can't remember where that came from - something to do with Janet Frame I think.