Welcome to the monthly serialisation of "Lost and Found - The Other Side Of Me"

(Printed with permission of Sylvia Darling author of "Lost and Found - The Other Side Of Me")

I had so many conflicting emotions, so many different memories of the years Eddie had been a part of my life. There was the sweetness of the ‘furry’ chest moment, the humour of ‘my horsey’ when I insisted on playing Chess the way I wanted to and not according to the rules he was trying to teach me. There was the extraordinary delight of the Christmas Tree he would decorate each December, bringing incredible delicacy and beauty to illuminate and uplift however briefly, the gloomy and depressing circumstances of our daily lives. But then there were all the unhappy times, full of sadness and bitter despair, the times of bullying and tyranny, all these formed the larger, more predominant part of our lives together. What did I DO, what could I DO with the pain of all those memories?

Laying our heartaches and pain at the foot of the Cross.

The Redeemer

Behold My nail-pierced Hands child,
See the holes in My Feet,
Realize what I suffered for you
To free you from Satan’s deceit.

Look for Me in the Word child,
If you seek you will surely find,
I offer you not enslavement,
But peace for your troubled mind.

In Me you’ll find fulfilment,
You’ll discover Compassion and Love,
Turn your back on the lies of a sinful World
And reach out to God above.

You need not suffer the emptiness,
Nor feel alone anymore,
Your Messiah stands here waiting,
I’m knocking at your door.

© Sylvia Darling 2017

I carried the pain of Eddies’ life and ours buried deep inside me for years until I finally found absolution and peace, and that happened when I discovered once again the wonderful God I had met outside the Children’s Home when I was just a tiny toddler, standing awestruck staring up at His Glorious Rainbow. [See Chapter One – The Rainbow] My God, full of Warmth, Love, Understanding and Compassion. The God who loved me, with all my faults and imperfections, me with all my inadequacies…the God who didn’t care about any of those things, but who simply wanted me to know Him and love Him, to learn about Him, and walk daily by His side once more, as we were all created to do.


I’ll never forget standing in the Doctor’s office at the Hospital, a few hours after Eddies death. A Hospital physician was being not only completely insensitive but also appallingly rude to my Mother, making belittling and disparaging comments and actually verbally insulting her for refusing to allow Eddies’ body to be used for Scientific Research or Organ Transplants - something Eddie himself had always been against because of his religious beliefs. It was dreadfully upsetting, and I became so distressed that I started to shake from head to foot, completely uncontrollably, I suppose because of the shock. Thankfully Simon had gone in with us, he was absolutely livid and turned on the Doctor ferociously, roundly insulting and abusing him for his callousness. The Doctor exited rapidly …he had little choice! It was one of the very few times I was grateful for Simons’ quick-temper and his devastating ability to verbally reduce anyone who offended him to a semi-gelatinous state!

Immediately after that awful scene my Mother insisted I go in with her to see Eddies’ body and while we were there she bent over him and gave him a ‘Farewell’ kiss on the lips. She looked at me coldly and told me I ought to kiss him too, but I was horrified and refused. I’ve never liked to touch anything dead – birds, flies, dogs, cats whatever and definitely didn’t want to touch a human body, but she became so RUDE, so insulting, so INSISTENT that I felt I had no choice. I quickly bent over him and kissed his icy cold, waxy forehead. The experience was every bit as horrible as I had thought it would be…I felt physically sick. The same woman who had so traumatised me as a toddler that I had collapsed, and quite literally nearly died of fright, once again callously and very deliberately caused me even more psychological and emotional harm!

I don’t know if she was punishing me in some way for not taking ‘good enough’ care of him, or what her reasons were for making me do it, all I do know is that she made the whole experience so much worse, so much more horrifying than it ever needed to be, but I actually do think it was malicious and that she once again had a perverse need for vengeance. She was that sort of woman…if she hurt, someone else was going to hurt MORE! She not only had to get her ‘pound of flesh’ but also EVERYTHING had to be done the way she wanted it to be done even that! I couldn’t even say ‘goodbye’ in my own way, grieve in my own way. I suffered from the most horrendous nightmares for days afterwards… they were so terrifying I was afraid to go to sleep at night, yet she still considered herself to be a tender-hearted and considerate person, while I forever remained the ‘villain of the piece’ because I hadn’t wanted to kiss a cold, dead body. I would often catch her looking at me as if she hated me after that, it was as if she couldn’t ever forgive me for my evil and appalling sin… whatever it was.

[Please note there is a final tribute to Eddie at the end of Part Three plus an acknowledgement of the service and sacrifices made by all Members of the Armed Forces and their families in Part Four.]

Mothers spiteful and bizarre behaviour, adopting new personas!

The days before Eddies funeral were difficult. My Mothers behaviour became more bizarre and ‘over-the-top’ every day, as if she was determined to stir up as much turmoil and angst as humanly possible. She oozed hostility from every pore, quite clearly blaming me for everything that had happened. She shed very few tears but would indulge in the most flamboyant and ostentatious outward displays of ‘grief’ imaginable, behaving as if NOTHING in life could possibly MATTER now that Eddie, “ The Great Love Of Her Life” had gone! She would position herself melodramatically in front of his picture on the mantle-piece and just stand there for what seemed like an Eternity staring devotedly at his face and sighing deeply. I was actually quite astounded the first time I saw her do it…I couldn’t help but think that if she’d ever looked at him like that when he was alive he’d have died a much happier man! Now of course I realize she was merely immersing herself in what she had evidently decided was to be her new role in Life – The Tragically Bereft Widow Of A Fallen War Hero”. It was actually the way she described herself after his death, talking as if the Second World War had ended just a day or two before… you could understand people looking somewhat puzzled!

The funeral itself was of course distressing as all funerals inevitably are, but my Mother squeezed every bit of soul-wrenching drama she possibly could out of it, behaving with enormous dignity and posing nobly as the “Tragic Widow…all alone”. She made sure she was 'all alone' by insisting on travelling seperately, refusing to share the same car as Simon his wife and myself. It was a very public and very deliberate slap in the face…my Mothers spiteful way of telling us both that we were ‘unworthy’ of either her or Eddie. It seemed a long journey but probably wasn’t, and I remember Simons’ wife breaking the heavy silence by commenting sourly “Well, at least Sylvia’s not crying” to which Simon replied sombrely, “Why should she?” He understood the complexities of the scenario being played out before us all too well, whereas I was still shocked and confused, and STILL wondering WHY I couldn’t cry.

Twiggy type girl.
Red London Bus.
My Mother wore a heavy black veil and thick black mourning clothes for some time after the funeral, and even insisted on travelling to work on a bus dressed like that! Needless to say, everybody stared at her in amazement, people just didn’t do that in London in the 60’s, particularly not when using Public Transport! Before then she had taken a Taxi to work every morning but she announced that this magnificent ‘sacrificial’ gesture on her part was “to honour Eddie and show the World how much he meant to her”. All in all, it was a mind-blowing performance! This was the Era of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Mary Quant! Before that she had wafted into her Office at around ten o’clock in the morning when everyone else started punctually at 9am, including her boss, in fact he usually got there before everyone else and opened up the place! She however, felt it befitting for a person of her ‘stature’ and after all, she did ‘work late’! She’d always had delusions of grandeur of course and played the role of an ‘almost’ Aristocrat who had fallen on hard times…a member of the ‘landed gentry’ just without the land or the ‘gentry’, but now that this was combined with her ‘Tragically Bereft Widow’ routine she became even more difficult to live with and virtually impossible to please!

The next instalment of this true life story will be posted on 1st December 2021.

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