Aunt Betty kept it burning. For years after the war had ended she kept the lamp lit in hope she said, always in hope.
The long years of war had ended. For Aunt Betty those were years of agony, of inner turmoil as she waited for her husband to return.
While around her news arrived daily of the death of a neighbour’s loved one she held steadfastly to the belief that her man would come home.
As long as there was no word to say otherwise she hung on to the hope of him coming one day back to her.
In the years after the war there was hope that he might have been captured and would soon to home. Then she thought maybe he was injured and has lost his mind. Maybe she thought he has been so badly hurt he couldn’t face coming home to her. There were men she had heard who preferred to live in obscurity rather than face their families since they had been so badly damaged.
So my Aunt kept the lamp alight, hope like the light shone out into the darkened sky.
One night she answered a knock on the door. There before her stood her husband. He was thin, looked ten years older and appeared unsure if she would even know who he was.
They stared at one another and the tears flowed. She embraced him and took him in. She couldn’t believe he had returned. His journey had been long and over the next week he recounted to her his war experience and his journey home via hospitals in a country where he didn’t speak the language and where communication was all but non-existent.
It was on that first night home when she had washed and bathed him and put him into her bed that for the first time in so long she turned out the lamp.