Today’s photo was actually taken today while I was up putting gold and cream roses on Matilda’s grave. It’s a view of the cemetery where Matilda is buried. It’s a beautiful, peaceful place that I haven’t quite managed to capture in this photo. From this view, her grave is actually behind me, but I wanted to try and catch the way the trees are a spread of colour at this time of year. I go up there about once every two weeks. I used to go up weekly, I never imagined I would be able to go a week without seeing her. When we first lost her I went every couple of days and when I would drive up the valley, towards home, I would imagine I could see her grave from the other side and I would say to her ‘I love you, you are not forgotten’ because every time I left her it felt like a betrayal. Moving away from her in every way felt like a betrayal. Holding someone else’s baby felt like a betrayal. Trying again felt like a betrayal. Being happy felt like a betrayal. That’s what grief can do to you, it can hold you as still as the ground they put her in.
I wrote a poem for her headstone, with the middle part of it picked out in gold on the white marble:
…you are still the first sigh of spring.
When cherry blossoms brought you here
to rest as you’d slept in my arms,
I thieved a perfect goodbye kiss
from petals on the April breeze.
It’s not my best, but it was right at the time. I always take roses, sometimes I add sunflowers to them, or those very delicate sweet pea like flowers. Sometimes other wild flowers too. I fill two containers that are on her grave and I trim the grass, sometimes I scrub the headstone. It’s all about taking care of her, you see. I hate to see the flowers rotting. We have lots of ladybird houses on the grave, and if leaves or pine cones fall there, I let them. I figure she would like that. And I leave bird feathers there too. Once a squirrel was perched on her headstone, once a crow. I kiss the cold marble goodbye, every time. On her birthday we take a windmill, at Christmas I buy Christmas ornaments and leave one on her grave and tie one to our tree, I leave a wreath, I leave a tiny Christmas tree. These are the votives, the offerings we take, for ourselves, to fill that hole.
Today’s organisation is The Child funeral Charity an organisation that helps bereaved parents make the cost of funerals. Funerals are expensive, coffins are expensive, hearses and transportation and all the awful stuff you need to deal with to bury your child, when you want the best for your child, it all adds up. this is an organisation that is doing something practical.
And today’s poem is by Karen Little, it’s wonderful.
I look beyond fields, no longer content
with grass; the first trip beyond the confines
of three dimensions, the fourth inside my head.
My gaze is pulled to the heights, the olive line
where pink hovers, before electing to settle on blue.
Stars are invited to suspend above the palest horizon.
I pull levers, angle an extreme upwards tilt,
and play our favourite dot-to-dot without numbers;
join the free-hand shapes, ever changeable choices
without end. If I am tempted to take the straightest path,
he convinces me to meander at times, because the truth
can be found in the curve of loops.
My star is the palest one, milky pearl among
sharp diamonds. Closest to it, the star I bought him
in my first trimester. I wanted to buy him everything.
I still do.
He is in his spaceship the size of a vacuum flask.
He wears the lid. His heart didn’t burst, his lungs
still suck in oxygen. I adjust my lens to pick out
the tiniest details. i see the blue of his irises.