Well, I know where I'm goin'
And I know who's goin' with me
I know who I love
But the dear knows who I'll marry.
I have recently written blogs titled 'Watershed' and 'Aftermath', about reaction to grief. Now, our whole family seems in a train, and it's 'All Change'.
My husband has just died, and the company which bore his name has stopped trading, for the best of all possible reasons – but it is the end of an era. The two occasions drove me to tears, because, suddenly, six decades just fused together.
It seemed only yesterday that two young people, 19 and 24, were sitting on our bed, in my father's house, only solution after our marriage. I can even remember my 'nightie', orange and white candy stripe. My husband had just failed to get yet another job, he was 'too young'. I said 'Can't we go and grow cabbages somewhere', he said he had always fancied agricultural contracting, and off we went on a roller-coaster 60+ years.
Now it's life changes, house changes, country changes. Two grand-sons engagements announced. The picture was taken in Northern France, just before Christmas 1964, pre motor-ways, travelling through the night with three children, risking hypothermia in a soft-topped Land-Rover. With two weddings coming up, and a Memorial service in the church where we were married on what would have been the 64th anniversary of our marriage, that subject has been uppermost in my mind.
Our family has a worse record than that of the Queen for divorce. Four out of five of our children. Eldest grand-child, married last July, split this May. Brother-in-law, niece, my parents. Even my mother-in-law's mother left her husband in 1900! Leaving the 7 year old to be brought up by grand-mother of Queen Victoria's generation.
I hope, fervently (as we all must do who have grown-up children) that they will be happy, and survive the enormous challenges marriage presents. More than if you are not married? Is it the actual 'tying the knot' which adds stress, commitment to what was just 'living together'. That is not a cynical remark, that people 'living together' are not seriously fond of each other. But if they have no responsibilities, house ownership, children, then it is possible to 'walk away'. And, statistically, more and more, the actual wedding is a catalyst for disaster, quarrelling relatives, over-spending – many marriages, including two of our own children, only lasted 18 months. But they all lived together before they married, none of your Victorian wedding night shock. One would think that the maddening foibles which we all have, which can become unbearable, would have been absorbed, or put up with.
I question why people get married at all. There are many legally binding systems now which avoid the little gold band. Marriage is a lottery, when you think of couple's history – propinquity usually, university, the work place, re-bound. No shot-gun now. Anyway, a new hat might be in order!
A Moodscope member.