The memory of years
I have spent the last few days researching Clare Sheridan, writer, sculptor and a person who tried to live on her own terms even as world events brought many tragedies her way.
Her father was given the nickname “mortal ruin” because of his many failed business ventures, her cousin was Winston Churchill. Her life spanned two world wars.
When Clare was seventeen she fell in love with Wilfred Sheridan. Both families were against the match, both had hoped their children would marry into money.
But Clare and Wilfred loved each other. Clare told her cousin Anita Leslie that "in Wilfred's company she felt herself utterly natural, sparkling and gay".
Eventually they managed to convince their parents and they married in 1910.
Four years later war broke out. Wilfred was 35 and joined as a Lieutenant in the Rifle Brigade.
Clare wrote: "I feel as if if it were the end of the world. I can hardly hold my head up. Didn't know one could live through such hell."
In September 1915 her husband was killed by a sniper.
Soon afterwards she found a letter he’d written her:
"You will only read this if I am dead, and remember that as you read it I shall be by your side. Remember that all over England are broken hearts and ruined lives, remember that one splendid woman, such as you are, refusing to weep, and hugging her soul with pride at a soldier's death, will consciously or unconsciously stiffen up and bring comfort to these... God keep you and help you and bring my little Margaret up happily. I can leave you nothing, darling, except the memory of years, and you know what our life together has been. Surely if perfection is attained we have attained it."
Reading that makes me want to weep. Especially in these times.
– Facts from Spartacus Educational.