Of Life And Death

The past several days have been tumultuous on an international level. It is no longer where were you when Diana died, but now it is where were you when The Queen died?

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

For the vast majority of people on the planet, Queen Elizabeth II has always been on the throne of England – 70 years is a long time. My father, 75, just said to me that even he cannot remember the Queen’s Father, King George V. Of course the world was different then than it is now, the news was not fast to get around the world, and the newspapers had to choose which news to print due to the set amount of pages available.

But for me, in my early 40’s, she has been a stable figure throughout different times. And for us, Internet era people, she was more accessible as well. And now, admist all this upheaval in the modern world, she is gone. It doesn’t matter if we are royalists, pro-monarchy, abti-monarchy, or just couldn’t-care-less-about-them, the wave of grief and sadness has really hit the whole world, like an emotional tsunami.

I am not British, but I can understand how many of them feel – the Queen was their head of state, and like said, she has always been there. I saw a snippet of an interview where the person said: “We knew she was old, but she was in relatively good health. It kind of felt she was immortal, always wearing the crown, and would always be.

And that sums it up for me. Maybe she made us believe that we could trust that she would always be there. And now she isn’t.

Her passing made me think of this strange feeling of sadness that I have felt for these past few days. Maybe it is because I still am a bit of a royalist, maybe it is because she reminded me so much of my own grandmother. She wasn’t a royal, but she had the same twinkle in her eye, and she smiled a lot too. And doted over her grandchildren.

And maybe it is because she was a queen, a lady, a woman who came to power back in 1952, a time when women in general didn’t have much other choices than stay at home or be nurses and midwives. And there was a young queen, sitting on the throne of one of the most influential countries of the time. And she was a role model for that generation, and for the following 70 years of people.

But also, maybe it is because of the stark realisation that none of us is immortal. One day, whether young or old, we will have to return to our maker.

In addition to this, my wifey and I were having a discussion in the car today about the succession. Now there is King Charles III on the throne, and after him it is Prince William’s turn, who in turn will be succeeded my Prince George in his time. And realising that the institution of monarchy will probably go on even if we are not there to see Prince George to be crowned in the future, makes it comforting. Sad, but comforting.

I remember, during the COVID pandemic, when she did the speech from her own quarantine. She made it personal, as she had addressed the evacuated children back in 1940. And that kind of comparisons and experience the world will not know, maybe ever again.

And this just highlights my belief that we should never forget history and the lessons we can and should learn from it, if we really want to make the world a better place.

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