September 8, 2022, I woke in the night and checked my phone as I normally do when I wake and can't settle and there was news from my sister in London that the Queen was not doing well. I just knew what the day would bring, I hoped that I was wrong, I managed a couple more fit full hours of rest and when I woke up it had become more real, and I felt compounded to set the following photo up for my instagram (@teawithkaren) with my morning tea and I wrote the following...“I awoke to news that Her Majesty is unwell, comforted that there was news that she is surrounded at her bedside by her family and that the castle has seen an outpouring of Royal subjects just holding space for the family and the queen. May she feel the love and support of those she loved and those of us who love her. Throughout my life she has been a constant, as a brownie I learned to do my best to God, The Queen and my country, something I have always taken very seriously. This morning I hold space and gratitude for her long service, wit and wisdom, may she find her life’s reward and feel that love surround her now."
Lisa and I are quite close and we feel things very deeply. Sometimes we need time to process, to heal and to focus on ourselves. Lisa has graciously allowed me to write this post. The news that HRH Queen Elizabeth II, someone so dear to me, who selflessly gave her life to service, was now gone after being head of my own commonwealth country of Canada for 70 years and she was Queen for my entire life, this has hit me very hard.
In 2015 my brother in law who now lives with my sister and their family in south London brought me back this mug. It is profound because no matter what she was steadfast and she was true. For me she was quite a role model and a mother/grandmother figure in my life.
When I got the news I was in my Grade 6 classroom, and I excused myself. I honestly felt the very same way I did when both my parents and my brother past. Quiet acceptance and shock. I gathered my strength and made some tea, I kept calm and I carried on, I also posted this photo with a thanks to her majesty and called her Mama.
No I never met the queen, but I do have her lifesize cut out, at the moment she is in my kitchen smiling at me through the stack of neglected dishes and craft projects that I just haven't in my grief managed to get to. I know it is real, I limit my time on line, wanting only to consume the truly important things.
Growing up my grandfather would write me stories about a family and they would have adventures with the Royal family and sometimes he would include me. As a Brownie, (Like the American Girl Scouts) I promised "to do my best to do my duty to God, The Queen and my country." This is something that I took very seriously. Still do to this day.
For her Jubilee I made a fascinator and I went all out on my window display and watched and celebrated along with "her". My heart leapt to see her looking so well, amazed at her similar height to her great grandson Prince George and waving to all those of us who loved her.
How is it that I feel so connected to and so much admiration for someone I never really knew, I don't myself understand. But I was so inspired my entire life by the Queen, who she was as a person, her interests, her skills, she served as a mechanic in World War 2, she once drove a foreign leader who's country did not allow women to drive, so fast that through a translator he had to beg her to stop. She longed to be a farmer's wife...
To me she was funny, charming, strict and yet kind. She loved horses and corgis and she gave an enormous amount of support to others, charities, communities, the commonwealth, her family, her faith. She even it is said believed in ghosts. She had a wicked sense of humor and amazing timing.
Although she never knew me personally and I never personally knew her, the respect, the gratitude and yes the grief that I feel in her tremendous loss it very real.
I hope that you get to in your own way, honor and celebrate the important people in your lives and that we can all take a lesson in giving so freely of yourself for the greater good.
Thank you for letting me share with you today.
Thinking of you all, Karen