A balloon for Alison

Part two  – following on from The Ghosts of Rubies

So.

It was in a strange frame of mind that I sat and watched the motley group of people that had gathered, walk up the small hill to the memorial garden and open it with the key that is left inside the castle offices.

They were a wide range of ages, from people in their thirties to old men on sticks and frames, struggling up to the garden at a sedate pace while chatting to their friends.

To a man, the old men had red berets and chestfuls of medals.

It was strange, I was sat in a picture window table and I’m pretty sure that the only person watching them form a semicircle around the memorial and airborne flag was me.

I was fascinated and ate my chilli while I watched them take turns in giving a short speech and googled airborne battle dates and planned memorials.

To fast forward a bit, I rejoined the world of Twitter on Monday this week in a slightly better frame of mind and even a real near-miss in the car on Monday hasn’t returned me back to the role of soothsayer of my own death.

I’m slightly more sanguine about things and I’ve accepted that I need to change a few things about me if I’m not to keep repeating the past.

I know that I can’t return things back to the way that they were, I only hope that in time; the people I’ve hurt can look at me with some balance and judge the positive things that I brought into their lives against the hurt I’ve caused.

Hopefully, the scales will swing slightly in my favour.

Then.

On Tuesday, David Sinfield’s wife Alison died.

She’d been ill for a long while with breast cancer and had successfully done a number of fundraising events in aid of cancer research.

I never met Alison (nor have I met David, but in the weird world of Twitter, I know him quite well) but was impressed by the determination that she showed and amused by the odd anecdote that David posted from time to time.

And it took me back to Saturday.

I couldn’t find any details of a memorial on the general internet, nor on social media, nor in the local press for the town, nor in announcements.

Not anywhere.

This was a private memorial set up by friends and family.

Old friends who’d been to war together, had known each other for over over sixty years, fought side by side, drifted in and out of the orbits of their lives and come together for a private recollection of one of their own.

I wondered if they’d ever fallen out? fought? let each other down? laughed at stupid things and got so drunk that even as a group, they couldn’t piece together a whole recollection.

I hoped that whatever was being said healed any wounds that might linger and that all that would be left after the memorial would be smiles.

Then..

They released a bunch of helium balloons into the sky.

I was still the only person looking and I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried a little to see that.

It was a beautiful morning and the balloons flew up into a clear sky.

When they finally vanished into the blue, the little crowd disappeared as if in a dream, they were all gone within minutes and I was looking at an empty memorial.

the scene stayed with me for days after though, the solemn walk up, the unheard speeches and the unexpected beauty of the balloons was a privilege to watch.

Here’s your balloon Alison, whatever the journey is now;  we all wish you well.

 

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(I asked David for permission to write this blog)

 

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