The image of his shoes by the back door as dusk settled upon the house.
The radio still playing, unaware that its tunes sang out across a backyard,
To no one.
New saplings, lined in rows, garden ready for the impending meeting of the baby grandson,
Left silent now as the wind sweeps through the trees he had known and tended to so well.
The half finished cross word sitting on the couch,
When only an hour before it had been penned.
These are the haunting images my husband and I will have of a life taken away from all he knew and loved,
69 years on this earth and then gone.
And the finality of it,
The feeling that there’s nothing you can do about it or do to change the outcome,
These are the tidal swells of emotion that catch you off guard and
Everywhere I look,
The once Familiar,
The routine, the habitual, the everyday,
Is now completely Foreign.
And I’m finding I have to re-learn seeing life again with unscarred eyes,
Because the robbery of death,
Taints my vision with a mocking that says,
‘Life! What are you? What a vanity! What a farce!
And you ask, What’s left? and what did it all mean?’
Then you choose to snap yourself out of the pity and the grief,
Everything becomes Sacred.
A smile from my child,
A safe drive to the grocery store,
Doing the laundry.
Because these are the privileges of the living.
These are the things we GET to do,
And we sure as hell don’t want to take it for granted,
To not notice the Sanctity and Sacredness of Life.
Just as much as I don’t want to forget the smell and the laugh and the sight of him,
Of the shoes,
That were also worn by the man who was kind and tender and who loved his grandchildren with an abandoned and delighted love,
Who sat them on his lap and cuddled and tickled as only Poppy could.
And you press the memory into yourself so that you don’t forget the value of a man’s 69 years.
A precious man,
Who has left a precious family to keep living and breathing through the pain and the grief.
And you remember the man who whistled and sang along to those tunes on that radio station,
And who delighted in his garden and who,
Though never meeting his grandson, knew him and loved him and prepared a place for him.
Gone too soon,
Ripped from us,
My husband’s daddy,
My children’s poppy.
It’s a different landscape now,
And I know death meets us all at some point in life,
But the crazy thing is,
You can never prepare for it when it does come knocking at your door.
You can only live the life you have now and soak and bask in the joy of every single moment of it,
Because one minute it’s here and the next, it’s gone forever.
Cate is a mum, wife, singer, song writer, pastor, teacher and blogger. She is the Founder of The Inspire Collective – a creative network for women in Perth and is one of the writers for Kinwomen and 98five Sonshine FM.