Tell me now, tell me this on a day that tastes too bittersweet to endure, does the universe contrive to make space for our little ones? Last night my friend gave birth to a gorgeous dark haired little boy and this morning my Mum’s brother, my Uncle, my childhood, sleeps through his last few days, the steady drip of morphine whispering it’s goodbyes into his veins.
And so today we will come together. All of us. For a weekend of waiting, remembering, (Did he really eat dog biscuits when he was a lad Barbie??) and laughing at little boys oblivious to the dread written large on our faces, his girls. One of us always there to to stem the relentless twist of my Mum’s wedding ring around her finger. Dread written large on the walls.
Yesterday was hollow. A vigil of domesticity observed to find my way through the inevitable. Recipes written with a fine slither of lead into a Cath Kidston notebook. Baroque flowers doodled around menus of potato soup, rosemary lamb and almond torte. An hour sat in front of a council official yet again trying to convince them that but for my son, I live alone: that regardless of whether or not he is willing to confirm it, Mark left eighteen months ago and please may I have the reduction in tax I am entitled to? White food consumed mindlessly: plastic bread drenched in salty butter. Colcannon streaked with bacon. Too many digestive biscuits with my tea. Then porch windows washed in vinegar, a yard brushed into oblivion and a Simone De Beauvoir novella dropped into a bowl full of sudsy water…
And so it goes on. Life. Until of course it doesn’t. Until the day that something we are unwilling to name walks amongst us and the only thing that matters in a day full of wet books, bland food and pointless biscuits is the bitter lingering certainty that the world won’t be the same when he’s gone. That somehow this little man exists at the very heart of our family and that forever after the shape of our lives will altered by his abscence.