Loss and condolences

[With news of a friend’s death] She got such pleasure from your visits, your friendship and your wonderful letters and, on her behalf, I thank you for that. She was very fond of you.

I know you will be shattered by the news that X has gone – and I send you much love and sympathy.

I seem to have had a catalogue of misfortune in my Christmas mail. I heard from X this week. His wife recovered from her stroke a year ago, but the Alzheimer’s is worse than ever and she just doesn’t know him. Poor man. And Y – old colleague – lost his wife just before Christmas. There is no understanding how the good Lord arranges these things! The moral seems to be to keep one’s possessions and affairs tidier than I generally manage to do.

I am afraid you are going to miss X terribly and I am so sorry. I do think strokes are the absolutely worst thing that can happen to a person – but if it does happen, it’s best to go quickly, don’t you think?

I feel it is like a sort of club when we have lost someone very close and when it is someone in the family: father/sister. A bit of life has gone that no one else can possibly know about us. That sounds v. muddled but you know what I mean. She was my sister and he your father.

Do you recall that nice and long-suffering woman X who prepared the salmon lunch at my cousin’s house? I heard from her a few days ago, returning my Christmas letter to my cousin, and reporting that she had died quite suddenly when she had been planning a party for her 90th birthday. She wrote very kindly of her patience etc. in ‘the many years of physical pain allotted to her’ and described her as ‘a great woman’ but it seems to me that X herself deserved the accolade as much.

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returning your letter