Love shall not end Though wild eyes close And swollen hearts Cease to beat. They are complete, Your soul and mine, And shall be forever Entwined in this dance. When lips cannot speak And feet remain still Beneath stiff white sheets, We will sweep across That glossed oak floor Like tender flames, A brackish sea-breeze, A throng of mountain birds. Whirled in every great song And sweet turn of phrase We’ve ever heard.
Things are progressing, I know. Despite my trying to breathe in every detail of the moment in some childlike hope of preserving it–the shop-bought fragrance that releases in occasional puffs from beneath the hostess trolley by the door, the warm rumblings of the cat’s belly against my thigh, the silenced tennis match on the TV, the way the pale light falls in uneven stripes through the old, broken blinds—things are progressing (regressing?) and there is nothing we can do about it. We are simultaneously slipping through the wide sinkhole of the future, and falling back through the broken pieces of
I wrote this after my beloved grandfather passed away last year. He had a high-grade glioma (brain tumour) and died peacefully at home after being nursed by my mum for several weeks. After writing about him a little yesterday, I wanted to share. I cleaned out my grandparents’ garage today, to make room for my mother’s things– two double beds, bluish-black sofas, antique dresser units, all of the cumbersome kitchen essentials. I tried to be ruthless, without throwing away anything of importance. But is an old red petrol can not important, given the circumstances? Seven months ago he left, never
I have thought lately that perhaps the duty of life is to make each of us more familiar with death. Not just the image of it, nor the concept, nor the loitering shadow in the slick alleyway, but the solid, sensual reality. The smoke, the metallic taste, the frosted heat, the overwhelming fullness and the falling emptiness, the smiling kiss, the wink and the graze of rough tarmac on your knee. The more I know life, the more I am forced to acknowledge death. I suppose, in this way, she is doing her job– though I question her methods on
My grandfather, Ralph, on the right of this picture, was the kindest, most loving, most generous man I have ever known. He was strong and confident and achieved so much in his life as a Royal Air Force physical training instructor and, later, as a coach to the British and Jamaican wheelchair basketball teams. He coached them to success in the Olympics and Commonwealth Games and garnered respect from the sporting world. He also received a British Empire Medal for service to sport. Whilst I am obviously tremendously proud of his professional success and love telling his stories, my pride
The spaces have long been you. They are still you, but not entirely. There are pinholes of light where once there was only darkness. There is space around the sadness. The thoughts are there, and I cannot resist them, but in letting them be, in letting them churn and wrestle, watching with kind interest as they do, I can practise non-reaction. I don’t have to run to you. I don’t have to beg, or cry, or wish. Though I do wish, still. There was a fog that morning we trudged in silence to the wooden room in the forest. The
Show me the weariest part of you, the soft and sodden heart of you that trembles in the silence and in the absence of friends. Show me the darkest thoughts that come like twisting shadows, blocking the sun. Show me the fractures, the wild projections of your lens. I’ll show you the tender root of me, the shaking child and the soaking leaves, all the concepts and lies on which my Self depends. And we’ll see then, in the cloud of our gloom, the spacious sky and the strawberry moon, and the love and the light that burn without end.
I read a true, short story in an Alzheimer’s version of Chicken Soup for the Soul that touched me deeply. My beloved grandma, Dora, is currently in the latter stages of this terrible disease, so I am doing a lot of reading around the subject, as well as experiencing first-hand the strangeness, the suffering, the changes, the myriad moments of confusion and the few of lucid joy. The story in the book was written by a woman who would visit her elderly mother frequently in a nursing home. She writes about how her mother would say “Hello dear. Have you
Tomorrow is the 17th anniversary of my dad’s passing. His name was Peter and he died of a heart attack when he was 44. I was 13. Although my parents were not together, and had not been for several years, when he died, I still miss him. I miss what we might have had, the relationship we could have built as I grew older. I was lucky enough to have the most wonderful grandfather I could have asked for, but I still think of my dad often and hope he is up there somewhere, drinking a pint, listening to Don