How does one grieve the loss of such a head of state?
I’ve only ever known about the Queen–too young to appreciate anyone before her, uncertain of the following act. I feel at sea without her.
My parents took me to grow up in the USA and, though I remained a Canadian patriot and fled north as soon as I could, it took me a while to understand the government of my birth country. Who were these lieutenants and governors general? What possible point did they have?
I have to admit to remaining puzzled about this, especially after a certain proroguing parliament exercise, but I’ve never doubted the Queen. She was always there. Always doing things in the proper way, always a constant in the wildly changing world I’ve grown up in. I had the feeling she was the stopgap before madness took the world over, the sober second thought our Senate is supposed to be.
I know, I know, she was to be apolitical–and I’m sure she played her role well–but simply her length of service made her a vital resource to world leaders. And yes, I know the Commonwealth was really anything but that–much of it remains poor, actually, and prejudice and bad treatment abounded.
But I never got the feeling she was encouraging the racist agenda. She seemed to float above it, like the goal we should all work towards. The person who put duty and country above all, who showed up for work almost every day of her life, who put up with all the noise and fuss and nasty remarks and just wore it all with a beatific smile.
It was left to her governments to wield the axe. And of course, I am not at the receiving end of some of the more disadvantageous policies of them, so I can say little.
But be that as it may, like so many people today, I feel I am mourning my grandmother. My own grandmother had that queen’s smile. A gentle nature, incredible patience with her demanding husband and a houseful of pranksters, I never heard her raise her voice or say anything negative about anyone. She was from England, too. I yearn for her level of grace. (I doubt I will ever attain it, though). I think of her when I think of the Queen. Cut from tough and beautiful cloth, enduring, like a well woven tapestry.
I know it’s got to be King Charles now, and I wish him well, I suppose, but he simply doesn’t have that way about him. Maybe the crown will give him dignity. He’s not going to be able to come close to filling the gap left by that astonishing sovereign his mother, though.
So I’m feeling deeply sad. I’m grieving the loss of a woman so far away from me in so many ways it’s astonishing that I feel such a strong connection. Godspeed, your Highness. If there’s a heaven, I hope they’ve arranged a lovely garden party for you, and a welcome rest. Knowing you, though, I’ll bet you’ll be at work right away.
“Oh Captain, my Captain! Our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.”