“What you are to do without me I cannot imagine.”
George Bernard Shaw
“The strongest men are the most alone.”
Anyone who might have watched the funeral Saturday for Prince Philip,
or even caught a passing news story regarding his service,
undoubtedly saw the painful image of an elderly woman clad in black, stooped
with age, sitting alone in a cavernous and seemingly empty sanctuary.
Donning a black mask–attempting to breath, shedding tears, mouthing
the ancient words to an ancient faith…muffled and hindered–all adding
to the heaviness of grief.
It matters not that she just happens to be the current sitting Queen
of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland along with
other realms, as well as head of the Commonwealth and Defender of the Faith…
On Saturday, Elizabeth that elderly woman, was very much alone.
Elizabeth is the only ruling leader, from around this great big world of ours,
who is a part of that Greatest Generation…
She is the only remaining active leader who can personally remember the
time when a world was torn a part and a time when she,
along with the rest of her generation rolled up their sleeves,
doing what it took to fight tyranny and defend Western Civilization’s
I was deeply struck by that thought…
the only remaining currently active leader…
Awed by such a thought and yet I also was left feeling rather empty.
We are losing members of our Greatest Generation daily…
actually quite rapidly.
“According to US Department of Veterans Affairs statistics, 325,574
of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II are alive in 2020.”
Those who I have known and loved, those who served either in war or
at home, are now gone…all but my one remaining aunt who will be 96
later this year.
Before they were wed, Prince Philip served active duty in HMRN
(His Majesty’s Royal Navy) and while as a young princess, Elizabeth,
upon turning 18 in 1944, insisted on joining the women’s branch
of the Royal Army–the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS)
Despite royal lineage, they each chose the path of service.
It mattered not that their service would be precarious and even dangerous…
doing one’s part for the betterment of the whole was the only thing
And that is what troubles me.
Elizabeth is now alone—as in having lost those who lived that
previous time with her.
Those who knew peril yet persevered none the less.
They were stalwart.
They didn’t complain, they simply pressed on…ever forward.
No limelight, no self seeking attention, no apology tours, no
tell all books, no interviews of self complaints…
no “look, woe is me” placards worn around one’s neck…
there was nothing about self because there was no time to
think about self–there were too many others to worry over.
More or less, it was a stoic approach to a foreboding and
And by the way, you and I, and all the generations behind us,
are the better for their generation.
But the thing that truly saddens me is that the following generations
don’t get it…they have no idea as to the sacrifice or lessons that
are to be gleaned.
I can only imagine the grief this woman feels in her heart.
Her family are all a rather fractured lot and now she has lost her
only remaining stalwart companion–
a man who had been by her side for 73 years.
That companion, that husband, that “stay” is now gone–leaving
a woman lost in her solitude.
Her grief, as witnessed in that picture of a lone figure bidding
her husband good-bye, is palpable…but I also know that Elizabeth
has a strong faith.
She and Billy Graham had a chance encounter decades ago.
A documented encounter that appears to have had a lasting effect
on Elizabeth’s faith.
So whereas Elizabeth is certainly feeling most alone today,
she actually knows that she really is not alone…not ever really.
She knows who her Savior is.
So whereas I am not worried that Elizabeth will succumb
to her grief–because she is a woman of duty and service who knows where
her true Hope lies—rather—I worry for us…
I worry for both you and I.
We are rapidly losing the leadership who understood what it meant to serve.
To put others ahead of self…putting others before their own self-centered
wants or needs.
No talk of self or selfish agendas…
No dalliance in to false ideologies.
Simply the defenders of both freedom and faith.
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,
who will judge the living and the dead,
and in view of his appearing and his kingdom,
I give you this charge:
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct,
rebuke and encourage—-
with great patience and careful instruction.
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine.
Instead, to suit their own desires,
they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say
what their itching ears want to hear.
They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship,
do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
2 Timothy 4:1-5
Beautiful tribute to a dying breed. “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, it’s also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill
My man!!! 🤗
You had good things to say but the rest of the story is so sad. Only God knows.
Sad but true.
Grieving is a lonely ambition. Always has been, always will be.
Backwards. Those who never grieve are most alone.
When we grieve over the lost of another human being, we do so because their departure leaves with a sense of loss.
Is ambition involved? Yes. We all want to love and to be loved by someone. Because of death, grief is the inevitable byproduct of love. Because we need to love and to be loved, we all hope our departure from this life will cause those who love us to grieve just as we grieved the loss of the people we loved who died before us. And so we honor those we love by grieving their loss.
beautifully put Tom
Oh..I guess we will disagree on this topic. Grieving cannot be shared anymore than cancer can. You can be surrounded by people, but grieving is absolutely a solitary endeavor.
I do know that my grieving is very much a solitary adventure— but as I emerge, I do know I was / am never truly alone.. we each grieve in our own ways
No man is an island, but some choose isolation.
Some find sadness in funerals because they put off seeing someone they love until their funeral. Then it seems too late. Yet funerals are for the living, not the dead. First we gather to eulogize and bury our loved one. Then we attend a quiet party (The Irish call it a wake.), and we share fond memories and regrets. We support each other.
When we lose someone, that is not a good time to be alone, and that is part of the message in Julie’s post. If we know God, we don’t have to be alone.
I opted for wake at our house following my mother’s funeral— she was 26, she was 53– I was left to pick up the pieces for my dad who was now leaving at— I couldn’t bare the sorrow any longer— time to rejoice— yet all these years later, that sorrow can still find me— and the grief returns — albeit fleeting
We miss those who have gone on before us.
Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging and commented:
Oh how I love my Sugar Cookie Julie!! This post (as all are) is excellent!! Blessings!!
Tears to the eyes with choked up throat. I am so glad to have lived under the span of Western Civilization during which this great woman has reigned. Even movie stars were honorable in those days. At least we were sensitive enough to know when Jane Fonda disgraced herself, she was a real disgrace. One of the leaders of the movement. Your post is outstanding in its empathy.
I do so wonder what will happen to Western Democracy once she is gone…the last pillar so to speak.
We need to speak up while we still can!!!
You are doing a part by hanging in with your posts. I always benefit.
Reblogged this on Citizen Tom and commented:
Usually I just ignore news stories about the British royal family. What is interesting about childish adults with too big an allowance and too little responsibility? Do I really want to know?
Here is an exception. Why the exception? There was a time when members of the British royal family still took their titles seriously. For awhile, even after the British Parliament taken from the crown what remained of its once great powers, members the royal family still tried to lead. They tried to lead by example.
I suppose that to most of us the power of a good example does not sound like much. Perhaps that is because all of us can exercise this power, but I suspect the real reason is that setting a good example is extremely difficult. Setting a good example requires hard work, and that work never ends. Whenever we slacken in our efforts, we lose so much. Nevertheless, when we are dead and buried, what people will remember about us most of all is the example we set. Therefore, I suggest you read Julie’s post and consider, what even the greatest kings and queens have done we can do too. We can too set a good example.
What if we don’t try to set a good example. We may set a bad example. Good or bad, one way or another, we will set an example. With God’s help, we can strive to set a good one, and with God’s help we may succeed.
thank you Tom—grief and sorrow mixed with a bit of dread as to what may come.
What shall become of Western Civilization?
Will she remain or will she fall?
Will she simply be consumed by a confused and leaderless people?
Who’s to say.
It seems like an obvious thing to say. We have a duty to do good by our neighbors, to love each other, not to hurt each other. Some of us, unfortunately, are so focused on their own desires they just refuse to see the harm they cause, even to themselves.
Eventually, the world as we know it will come to an end and God will make it anew. See 2 Peter 3:3-18. Meanwhile, to save as many souls as we can, we spread the Gospel.
Very nicely said. J.
Just beautiful Julie, very well put.
Thanks Tricia— there is so much we can learn, we just need to heed those lessons while we still can!!!
Reblogged this on boudica.us and commented:
H/T Citizen Tom
So poignant and everything I too thought as I watched his funeral. What a bygone era and generation and we will be worse off for not having their kind around. I think of my grandparents and all they went through and I just cringe at what our sense of serving others has dwindled to… wear twelve masks and hide in your house? It’s truly shocking. They have seen so much in their decades, so much turmoil and change. He was a fascinating man.
Lord knows we are so deeply screwed up and going deeper every day and have lost all our polestars
A fitting tribute. Her life is built on the solid rock and that rock is Christ!
thank you David—I know this is a lonely time for her
A lovely post, Julie. The 2Timothy passage is near and dear to me most recently. I have been drawing upon it often in my private journaling. And praying God opens a door of opportunity to post on my blog sometime soon….perhaps some of those thoughts will spill out into the cyber-world. 💕