Haringey Literature Live , subject : Loss.
Our homework subject is loss.
I was two years old when I lost my father and too young to feel any grief, my mother was left with six children to bring up alone.
During WW2, it was common to hear of someone’s family losing a loved one.
Our neighbour Mrs. Martyr lost her young son at sea when HMS Hood was sunk early in he war.
Another neighbour; Mrs. Edwards lost her husband at about the same time, also at sea.
A fireman was killed by an accident with a high-pressure hose while fighting an incendiary bomb.
A whole family was killed, when a bomb struck a house just across the road from us, our house was badly damaged, and we had to live with my Grandmother for a few weeks.
All these things happened within a 100 metre square.
In the Chertsey area there were also two doodle bugs, a V2 rocket, and 5 or 6 bombs, mostly landing in local fields.
This made some people to live for the day, as no one could know what tomorrow would bring.
The British sense of humour has always been able to find a way to deal with grief.
This is known as ‘Black Humour’.
As I was a child during this time, I and my friends began to use a similar way of thinking to the people around us, making a joke of everything that happened.
When mum met Fred, he took over the family and I had a new brother and a sister, making us a family of ten.
The house had three bedrooms, plus a front room used as a fourth bedroom, it was pretty crowded.
Today we would be described as a dysfunctional family. There was was nothing dysfunctional about us, in fact my mum was extremely functional, she had given birth to nine children.
Our jokes always had a dark side; we kids would say if someone in the family died, one of us would at least have somewhere to sit.
In 1944, Fred died of TB. With the news of heavy losses in the D-day landings, Fred’s passing hardly affected me, I felt no grief, and obviously I was very upset for my mum.
The first time loss and grief really penetrated this shield was in 2008, when I lost my lovely wife Ann.