Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Dear Sweetheart"

Saturday morning, getting ready to head to the airport, I came down for breakfast & dh had The Globe & Mail sitting on the kitchen table.

I saw the banner on the front page -- the photo of a yellowed telegram -- & whimpered a soft, "Oh nooooo."

Over the past few months, the Globe has been running a series called, "Dear Sweetheart: Letters home from a soldier" -- a wonderful collection of letters home during the Second World War, written by a Toronto soldier named David K. Hazzard to his wife, Audrey, & two daughters, Anne & Karen. Every letter began "Dear Sweetheart;" every one ended, "P.S. I love you." David wrote vivid descriptions of training camp, life in England, and then being sent to France as part of the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

Saturday's story was the end. David was killed shortly after he arrived in France on July 5, 1944.

I don't know why I -- who should know better than anyone that stories don't always have a happy ending -- was so shocked. Somehow, I just assumed he made it back home & lived to a ripe old age.

Along with his final letter, there was a feature story, an epilogue, with photos, about what happened to David's family, titled, "'He never left my mother. Ever. Ever.'" Audrey lived to be 90 & died in 2004. Anne & Karen, now in their 70s, recently made the trip to France to scatter some of their mother's ashes on their father's grave, with a Globe photographer present. As far as they can recall, she only went on two dates after their father's death, and only many years later. "She said, ‘If you have found the best, why bother?” Karen remembers."

“She made a good life,” says Anne, on a July afternoon, poring over old pictures with her sister in the basement of her Pickering home.

“It just wasn't the life she wanted,” Karen adds.

My loss was so very different from Audrey's. But boy, can I can relate. What a perfect description.

It's a sad, but wonderful story. Go read it.

9 comments:

  1. Great loves stay with you always...

    I know my guy has ruined me for all other men. No would could ever measure up.

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  2. Thank you so very much for sharing this story. It's so beautiful and sad and true.

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  3. Wow - and I totally love that line "She made a good life, it just wasn't the life she wanted."

    I like how she said "made a good life" rather than just "had" a good life. I think that is an important distinction.

    Sometimes I wish I could go back and rewrite history and make more happy endings.

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  4. Sniffle Sniffle. Reminds me of what C. said yesterday her post. We all have our sorrows, I guess. I hope you have a decent holiday.

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  5. Thanks for delurking:) I hope your Christmas was filled with love and happy memories.
    And, have yourself a merry little new year too!

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  6. Thank you so much for pointing out this beautiful series. It is incredibly poignant and lovely.

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