Moment of clarity comes too late for veteran

admin | 苏州桑拿
13 May 2019

A family friend recently passed away. Most of his 87years had been tough after his leg was amputated during World War Two.
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I last saw him three years ago back in England after his wife had had a stroke.

In an unexpected moment he opened up to me. Unexpected because we were not close. Unexpected because his emotions were usually hidden like so many other men from his generation.

He spoke of sadness as he could do nothing for his wife who needed full time care.

His disability and the long years of sufferinghad left him physically and emotionally unable to help.

All he wanted was to repay his wife after years of looking after him.

She had been the rock since he had returned from the war, a young man whose life had changed dramatically.

But it wasn’t just thecare she gave him for his disability. It was the day-to-day routines that he was most grateful for.

Cooking, cleaning, raising their children; tasks once seen as the expected role of wives were being re-evaluated by a husband who saw their true value.

The moment was brief and I had no time for a response to console him. In fact I cannot remember what I said so I imagine it was so poor that I conveniently cast it from my memory.

I’ve often thought about that moment and with his passing I now realise what I should have said:“Have you told her how you feel?”

I’ll never know the answer to this question. Knowing the man he wasit was probably a no.

The idealist in me believes that if he had shared this with his wife, it would have given her the boost he wanted.

It may have also lifted his burden in his later years.

I’ll share thestory with his wife in the hope it provides light in dark times.

GAVIN STONE, Fairfax Media

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