Tag Archives: bereavement

Skin

Last week, my family suffered a bereavement so profound, I don’t know if any of us will ever fully recover. This person was actually the second member of our family to pass away since the start of 2020, both of them young people, both of them parents, both of them loved and missed and cherished. It’s been a hard year, so far. A few nights ago, I found my mind wandering back to my childhood, and I remembered this story – one which I’d had published in a now-defunct online zine called wordlegs back in 2013. It’s one I feel a deep attachment to, because it came directly from my memories of being a little girl. Somehow, despite the story’s subject, it brought me comfort; it brought me back to a time when my lost family members lived and breathed and shone with the beauty of their youth. I’m proud of it. The story’s no longer available anywhere online, so I’m republishing it here, with thanks to Elizabeth Reapy, wordlegs‘ editor, who was the first person to see potential in it. Thanks, Elizabeth. (Coincidentally, Elizabeth’s second novel shares a name with this story, though they’re not similar in any other way! I recommend you check it out, along with her first novel, Red Dirt.)

A rabbit on a background of grass

Photo by Christopher Paul High on Unsplash.com

Skin

When I was a child, I had an uncle who hunted. He lived next door in what had been my grandmother’s house, which meant I saw him a lot; somehow, though, we never talked much. He had hounds who followed his every move like acolytes worshipping at the feet of a god, despite the fact that all he did was kick them and call them filthy names. Whenever he walked by their cage, they’d eat each other for the chance to get near him, and they’d howl like nothing on earth. Hearing it made my chest tighten up, like I’d suddenly taken a breath of cotton wool. My mother was always asking him to come in and have dinner, just to come next door for a little while and sit with his family, but he never did. He liked to eat with his memories instead, which didn’t bother me.

I thought my uncle was cruel, though people laughed at me for being ‘soft’.

‘Go on, you old eejit,’ my mother would say. ‘There’s many a dinner we owe to that uncle of yours.’

‘But he hurts his dogs,’ I protested.

‘Arragh, now. Dogs are used to that sort of thing. And anyway, they’re working dogs, duck. They’re not pets.’

I knew that. I knew they didn’t sit in front of his fire at night, snoring gently in the heat, like our dog did. And still, I worried about them.

I worried about everything.

 

About five weeks after my father’s accident, I came home from school to find Mam crying quietly in the sitting room. I stood in the doorway watching her for a while, feeling dizzy and far away. Eventually, she looked up, and she jumped a bit when she saw me.

‘Jesus! Pet, don’t stand there like that. You frightened the life out of me.’ She laughed, a short and hard sound, like a pebble in a shoe; then she hurried to wipe her eyes, rubbing them roughly with the tea-towel she still had in her hands.

‘What’s wrong, Mammy?’ I asked, afraid of what she might tell me.

‘Ah, now. Nothing at all. I just got a bit sad.’ She slapped her hands against her thighs, shoving herself upright in a businesslike, everything-is-great manner. ‘Will we get the dinner on? Are you hungry?’ She messed my hair as she strode past me towards the kitchen. ‘Did you have a good day in school?’

‘Mam, is Daddy all right?’

‘Grand, love! He’s grand!’ she said. But she didn’t turn around and tell me to my face, and that’s how I knew she was lying. She had a thing about looking people in the eyes when she was telling them the truth.

 

My father worked in a factory that handled heavy chemicals. I didn’t know then, and I still don’t really know now, exactly how his accident happened, but it had something to do with a pressure gauge and an over-filled tank, and probably his own negligence in not wearing his safety gear. He’d often told me he and the other men didn’t bother with things like eyeguards and ear-protectors.

‘Sure, I have to be able to hear if the machines are labouring,’ he explained to me once. ‘How can I do that, if I’m all muffled up? If I can’t hear the motor, it could go, and it could kill the man standing beside it. My ears’ll be nice and warm, but someone else’ll be going home on a shovel.’

But it had been my dad who’d been rushed out of the plant in a screaming ambulance, one which had hit the road in spots as it flung itself around the bends on its way to Dublin. It had been him who’d been burned, him whose flesh had melted. Him who was driven out of his mind with the pain.

Him.

Mam hadn’t let me see him for ages, and when I was allowed to visit all I could think about was mummies in ancient Egypt. We’d been doing them in school. Dad’s bandages looked cleaner and whiter, I thought. Other than that, he’d do in a museum.

‘I love you, Daddy.’ I remember telling the tiny square of scarlet I could see peeping out between the swathes of material. ‘I love you.’ I wanted to kiss him, but Mam told me ‘no’. Dad told me nothing, because he couldn’t talk. Anyway, I don’t think he was even awake.

‘Good girl,’ said Mam as we left the hospital, ready for the long journey home. ‘You did very well.’

I wondered all the way home what I could have done better.

 

I was at the kitchen table one evening trying to think about my maths homework when I heard the keening of my uncle’s hounds. It made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Mam, who was sitting at the far end of the table over a cold cup of tea said, ‘He’s home early. He must’ve had a good hunt.Why don’t you go and have a look, and say hello?’

I swallowed as she spoke, my spit tasting sharp and sour. ‘But Mam – I’m doing my homework, I have loads.’

‘It’s Friday, hon. You’ve plenty of time to do your homework. And your uncle’s been so good. Go and say hello, he’d love it. He’s very fond of you, you know.’

‘No, he isn’t,’ I said. ‘He hates me.’

‘Now, that’s just silly.’ She got up, grabbing her cup of tea, and crossed to the sink to throw it away. ‘Go on outside now, just for a few minutes, and I’ll have a treat for you when you come back in.’

‘What sort of a treat?’ I didn’t move from my perch in front of my copy book. I drew a line under my sums, carefully, and kept working. I still couldn’t add up properly without drawing dots beside the numbers like a baby out of Senior Infants, but at least I’d learned to draw them lightly so I could rub them out afterwards. I hated maths, but it was my dad’s favourite thing in the world besides rock and roll. I wanted to show him how good I was at adding and multiplying when he came home from the hospital.

‘God, Claire, I don’t know,’ snapped Mam. ‘A bit of apple tart. I’ll make you some custard. All right? Just go on outside, just for a few minutes, and talk to your uncle. I’ll call you when you can come back in.’

I slapped my copy book shut and shoved myself out from the table, making the legs of my chair stutter and skip along the lino. The sound of it normally drove Mam crazy. Today, she said nothing. She just stood and watched me as I stamped over to the back door and wrenched it open.

‘Good girl. I’ll only need a minute.’

 

I crept out of our back yard and into the lane, watching my uncle beat his dogs into his garden. It wasn’t a bit like ours, full of greenery and flowers; my uncle had covered his over with roughly-finished concrete after my granny had died, the shed that had been her pride and joy now a falling-down monstrosity beside the pristine dog pen. I hung close to our back door until he’d corralled the last hound, thwacking and slapping at them with a thick stick, shouting until they listened to his voice over the red-misted pounding of their own hearts.

They all had names, these dogs, despite the fact that all my uncle ever did was abuse and hurt them. But he gave them all names.

Over his garden wall, a clutch of freshly-caught rabbits lay. I didn’t touch them, but I felt sure they’d be still warm and supple, their eyes still bright. Perhaps their last breath hadn’t been fully exhaled. I felt a sour taste in my mouth again, and I swallowed hard against the rush of sudden liquid up my throat.

‘Howya,’ said my uncle as he slid home the lock on his garden gate, nodding vaguely in my direction. I returned the greeting, and perched on our back step to watch him. I tried to think about things I could say to him, but he made me scared, so I didn’t say anything.

He started to sing under his breath, huffing out through his nose, as he grabbed his huge knife from its holder on his belt. He wiped the blade once or twice on his trouser leg before severing the twine that bound the rabbits together. They plopped wetly onto the stone slabs he’d untidily cemented on the top of the wall.

Despite myself, I watched.

‘Time to drop your drawers,’ my uncle muttered, taking one of the rabbits in his hand. He held it up, the rabbit swinging gently as he turned it this way and that, appraising it. Then, he laid it flat on the wall and swiftly, as easily as if he was tying his shoelaces, he ran the knife around the rabbit’s legs, one at a time. He worked at the carcass with his fingers for a few minutes, the movement looking almost gentle.

When he pulled at the rabbit’s pelt, ripping it away from the body like he was removing a sock, I screamed so loudly that I gave him a fright. He dropped the knife and turned to stare at me. Perhaps he’d forgotten I was there.

It was the redness. The rawness of the flesh. The muscles, clearly visible; the sinews and tendons. The colour, so private and painful. Something I should not be able to see. White bandages flashed into my mind, white bandages and scarlet skin. Scarlet skin and pain, and pain equalling death.

I ran for the door to my house, slamming it, not caring about the noise.

My mother was on the phone in the hall, clutching the tea-towel to her eyes. I ignored her and ran for my room.

 

‘Claire,’ I heard her say, much later. ‘Come out here, please.’ My closed door muffled her voice.

I was buried in my duvet, my face swollen and sore. I’d cried all evening. My mother’s phone call had been brought to a swift end after I’d burst back into the house, but she’d mentioned ‘doctor’ and ‘treatment,’ and she’d wept, before she’d been able to hang up. I’d stuffed my head under my pillow, trying not to hear, but I had anyway.

‘Claire,’ she said again, knocking gently. ‘Come on, please. I want to speak to you, young lady.’

Every muscle ached. I felt like a piece of paper, crumpled up so badly it could never sit flat again. I stumbled to the door and pulled it open. My Mam’s eyes were full of tears, and that set me going again. I let her wrap me up in a hug, her belly warm and soft. I tried not to wet her jumper, but I didn’t really manage it. My face was soaking, and covered in snot.

‘Your uncle is downstairs, love. He wants to talk to you.’

My heart jolted, and I shook my head, grinding my eyes shut. My mother soothed my sobbing shoulders, stroking me gently. She kissed the top of my head. ‘Shush, now. He wants to say sorry.’

She evicted me from the embrace and stood me back from her, arm’s-length away. She rubbed my clammy cheeks with her rough thumbs.

‘Try and smile, pet. Try and be nice.’

I nodded, two more hot, fat tears spilling out. Mam wiped them away.

 

My uncle stood in the kitchen, looking out of place. It was like seeing a clown saying Mass. He had his flat cap scrunched in his hands, and something else too. I couldn’t see it properly.

‘Claire, Uncle Paddy has something he wants to give you,’ Mam said.

I glanced up at my uncle’s sun-darkened face. I noticed, for the first time in my life, that he had bright blue eyes. Brighter even than Dad’s.

‘I’m awful sorry, duck,’ said my uncle. His spoke quiet and low and liquidy, like he had a cold. ‘I should’ve thought.’

I felt Mam shove me from behind, her fingers sharp in my back.

‘That’s all right, Uncle Paddy,’ I said. I ran my fingers over my hot and sticky cheeks, wiping away the last traces of tears, suddenly feeling shy.

‘Here you are. Your Da was always saying how much you loved reading. I haven’t a lot of time for it myself any more.’ He cleared his throat with a sound like someone taking their foot out of a cowpat and held out a roughly-wrapped brown paper parcel.

‘What do you say, Claire?’ Mam asked.

I looked up at my uncle again. He had grey in his hair, all around his ears just like dad had, and soft wrinkles around his eyes that were so familiar.

I ran my hands along the jagged edges of the tape he’d used to wrap up my gift. ‘Thank you,’ I whispered.

‘Now,’ he said. ‘I’ll be gettin’ on, so.’

‘Will you not stay for your dinner, Paddy? I’ve plenty in the pot.’

‘Not at all, not at all. Sure I’ve my own bit made, inside. I’m grand altogether.’

‘All right so, Paddy. If you’re sure,’ said Mam, eventually.

My uncle nodded and started twisting his cap again, looking down at his muck-encrusted boots. ‘I’m after draggin’ half the field in here,’ he said.

‘Never you mind. It’s only a bit of muck. It’ll all be grand. Won’t it, Claire?’

I smiled up at my uncle, and he nodded at Mam before throwing me a wink. I clutched my book to my chest as my uncle turned towards the door.

‘Yes, Mam,’ I said, as my uncle slipped out the back door into the evening.

 

 

The End

Knowing something is going to happen, I’ve found, doesn’t seem to make it any easier to bear when it eventually does. I – along with all of Sir Terry Pratchett’s millions of fans across the world – have followed his struggle with Alzheimer’s disease over the past eight years, willing him on (for as long as he felt able), wishing him well, sending him strength and courage and hope.

But we all knew that one day, probably sooner rather than later, ‘the embuggerance’ (as he called his illness) would wear him down. Yesterday was that day.

Image: theguardian.com

Image: theguardian.com

I learned of his passing on Twitter, which seems inappropriate somehow. I don’t know why. It seems impersonal, maybe; like the knowledge was second-hand. Terry Pratchett has been a part of my life for almost thirty years. I feel like I knew him personally. I feel like he was a dearly beloved uncle, one guaranteed to make you giggle at the most inappropriate moments, bound to make salacious comments over the vegetables at Sunday dinner, and the first to get up on a stool with a flagon in his hand and regale us all with verse after verse of Nanny Ogg’s famous ballad, ‘The Hedgehog Can Never Be Buggered At All.’ His smile, and his ever-present black fedora, are as familiar to me as the faces of my own family.

I can’t explain why he was so important to me. I loved his books, certainly. I loved his characters – his strong women, Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax, Tiffany Aching, Anathema Device, even Magrat Garlick, who is strong in entirely different ways to the others; his complex men, like King Verence of Lancre, Captain Carrot of the City Watch, and the incomparable Sam Vimes, and I adored the stories and the worlds  he created – but it’s more than that. It’s the fact that you can pick up any of his books, at practically any page, and read a paragraph or two, and if you haven’t either laughed, learned something new or been flattened by an amazing image or perfectly constructed sentence by the time you get to the end, then I’ll be the guy in the corner with a bladder on a stick. Terry Pratchett was not university educated, but I learned more from reading his books than I did from any university course I ever took. Every page was packed full of allusions, inferences, puns (or ‘punes’, for those in the know), and jokes which, sometimes, only made sense years later. I often had the experience of reading something in a textbook and realising, with a start, that I’d come across the idea already in a Pratchett novel – I just hadn’t known it at the time. I have been, and I’m sure I’ll continue to be, amazed on a regular basis by just how much world there is in his books – not just the fictional worlds of his immeasurable imagination, but of our world, too. His was an intellect rarely matched.

I wept for him yesterday, and I’m sure I’ll weep for him in the future. I can’t read the final few Tweets on his official timeline (@terryandrob) without blinking back tears, because they are so perfect. They are heartbreaking, but they couldn’t be more suitable. I’m staggered with admiration for Sir Pterry’s daughter Rhianna, who wrote the Tweets, and who pushed through her own terrible grief to share the news of her father’s passing with all of us who did not know him, but who loved him all the same. I know I am part of a huge fandom, almost a family, and that is a huge comfort. I know I’m not the only person who wept for Terry Pratchett yesterday, and I know that he will be remembered for many years to come. In his own words:

No-one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away. (Reaper Man)

By that Pratchettian logic, Sir Pterry will be with us until the end of time, and for that, and for his words and stories, I am truly glad.

Wiga, Wintrum Geong

One year ago today, the man about whom this blog post was originally written was lost to the world. All that is in my heart today – and believe me, I’ve tried all morning to blog about something, about *anything* else – are my memories of him and my sorrow at his loss, and my disbelief that it’s been a year already. A year.

My friend’s name was Neal. Today, I will remember him.

SJ O'Hart

Round about ten years ago now, I started studying for my Ph.D. It was the culmination of a lifetime’s effort, and it represented everything I had ever wanted to achieve. I loved my subject, I adored reading about it, I loved to write about it, and I was thirsty to learn.

I wasn’t too hot on getting up in public and speaking about it, but I figured that stuff would come later. It did, and I happily lectured and taught for many years.

But, back at the beginning, one of the things I took as a module that first year was Latin.

Image: rylandscollections.wordpress.com Image: rylandscollections.wordpress.com

I wanted to be able to read and understand the beautiful manuscripts I had the privilege of studying, and I wanted to be ‘fluent’ (if one can use that word about a language that isn’t really spoken, at least as a vernacular, any more); a lot…

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O Captain, My Captain

I’ve been sitting at my desk for almost an hour now, trying to convince myself that it’s not frivolous or silly to want to write a blog post about the passing of a person I never met when we’re living in a world where thousands of innocent people are dying, unnaturally, every single day. I want to believe that it’s important to remember people who had a huge impact on our lives, even if it wasn’t a personal connection, and to mourn them when we lose them. One thing I know for sure is this: I’ve been sitting here for a long time now, simply weeping, and even though this blog post may be nothing more than an example of how it’s a bad idea to write a blog post when you’re upset, I’m going to go with the only thing on my mind right now.

Robin Williams. He can’t be gone. I simply won’t believe it.

Image: chicagoreader.com

Image: chicagoreader.com

I grew up with Robin Williams’ work. Mork and Mindy made me laugh as a tiny child, Mrs Doubtfire made me wail with laughter as a teenager, and the magisterial Dead Poets’ Society broke my heart and healed it again repeatedly as I grew into an adult. For a long time, it was my favourite film, and it still holds a warm place in my ‘all time greats’ pantheon. Watching the tributes to this awesomely talented man pour in on Twitter this morning reminded me just how many brilliant films he made, and how many parts became his own – he was the voice of Aladdin’s Genie. He played a hilarious cameo role in Friends. He was Patch Adams. He was electrifying in The Fisher King, and compelling in Good Will Hunting. He was Garp, one of my literary heroes, in the underrated classic The World According to Garp. It’s only now I think about it that I realise how much his voice and image contributed to my life, and the lives of so many others.

The fact that he has left us suddenly, and tragically, is hard to bear. If it is hard to bear for his legions of fans, I dread to think how devastating it is to his wife and family, and my thoughts are with them.

And yes, I know there is a humanitarian crisis in Iraq, and in Syria, and in Gaza. I know there are wars everywhere we care to look. I know that women, children and men are being brutalised all over the world, and that the death of one more human being hardly matters in the grand river of destruction which we have created.

But this death does matter. They all matter. Every single life – they all matter. If I were to cry about all of them, I’d never be done crying, so I will cry for Robin Williams. I will cry for the beauty he brought to my life, for all the laughs, for the times I was stopped in my tracks by his talent, whether it was his comedy or simply his acting ability. I will cry that there will never be another film from him. I will cry for his family, and for all who loved him. I will cry for myself, because part of what made my childhood so magical is lost now, forever. I will cry because the tiny glimmer of hope he shone on the world has been extinguished.

And then, I’ll dry my tears and try to remember to make someone laugh today. I’ll try to remember the power of laughter, and how it bridges even the most unbridgeable of gaps, bringing together people who seem to have no common ground. I’ll try to remember to ask others whether I can help if I think they’re going through a bad time, and I’ll try to remember to ask for help if I’m going through a bad time, and I’ll try to remember that there is no shame in asking for help.

And it will all be for you, Robin Williams.

Image: thewrap.com

Image: thewrap.com

If you have been affected by the death of Robin Williams, or if you need help dealing with feelings of depression or suicidal impulses, please know that there is so much help out there. Click here for a link to a list of international suicide crisis helplines, or see http://samaritans,org or http://pieta.ie. Please reach out to someone if you’re finding things difficult, and don’t feel you have to deal with your feelings alone – there are so many people who will help you, and there is no shame in asking for help.

Wednesday Write-In #85

Apologies for not only the lateness of this week’s post, but also the fact that this story may make sense only to me. In my defence, I have had a high temperature, sore throat and quaking, shaking limbs for the past two days, and have been mainlining Paracetamol for the last twenty-four hours. If the story sucks, let’s blame it on the flu. Cool? Cool.

This week’s words were:

porcelain  ::  flex  ::  shadow  ::  strawberry jam  ::  frozen

Image: aicsa.com.au

Image: aicsa.com.au

The Clause

‘Well, of course, we’ll have to divide up the estate,’ droned my uncle Philip. ‘I think the porcelain should come to us, naturally, and I was promised the oak dresser years ago. It might be sensible to start moving the heavier objects now, in advance of the Will -‘

‘Oh, Philip! Do shut up!’ yelped my aunt Teresa, and Philip stared at her as though she’d slapped him. I watched his fingers flex as he, no doubt, fantasised about wrapping his hands around his sister-in-law’s neck. ‘Mum is still warm, and you’re already divvying up her things!’

‘I beg your pardon – ‘, he began, before the frozen tones of my aunt Tracey filled the room.

‘You shan’t speak to my husband in that manner, Teresa,’ she said, and it was like a shadow had fallen over the sun, or a dark hand had yanked the lightbulb out of the ceiling over our heads. ‘I simply shall not stand for it.’

‘But he’s being mercenary about Mum’s property!’ protested Teresa. ‘We’re all entitled to our fair share. Don’t you think so, Trudy?’ she said, turning on my mum, whose jaw dropped.

‘I – um.’ Her mouth snapped shut again, and she shrugged.

‘Eloquent as always, dear,’ sniffed Tracey.

I rolled my eyes. Enough’s enough. ‘He’s being an ass –

‘Pauline!’ gasped Mum, whirling around to face me.

‘Well, it’s true!’ I licked my lips as I flicked my gaze from face to face, one pair of eyes more crazed and incredulous than the next. ‘You sure know her stuff well, Philip, but what year was Granny born, tell me?’

‘Well – ah. Well. Nineteen twenty one… no! No. Wait. Nineteen twenty four. I clearly remember -‘

‘Nineteen twenty six,’ I snapped, ignoring Philip’s muttered Poppycock! ‘And what was her favourite colour, aunt Tracey?’

‘Purple,’ she crowed. ‘I gave her a beautiful purple brooch for her seventy-fifth birthday – which I’ll have back now, of course – and she told me it was quite her preferred shade.’

‘Nope. Green,’ I said.

‘But, I -‘

‘Now. Aunt Teresa. What was Granny’s favourite thing to eat? In all the world?’

‘Well – ah. She was partial to roast lamb, I’m sure, and there was something about rhubarb – wasn’t there? I’m certain she liked rhubarb.’

‘Well, maybe,’ I said, in a small voice. ‘But her very favourite thing was strawberry jam.’

The silence that followed this was deafening. Even Philip, for once, said nothing, and the four of them spent several long moments avoiding one another’s eyes. Clever girl, Granny, I thought, swallowing hard. You had the measure of them, right enough.

‘Come on, then. Plenty to do. The undertaker’ll be here soon,’ I said, levering myself out of my chair.

Nobody moved as I walked across the floor. I stood in the doorway looking in at them, each wrapped up in their own cold little cocoon, and Granny’s face washed over my memory like a sweetly remembered dream.

‘I’d love to see their faces when this is read,’ she’d said, signing on the dotted line with a flourish. ‘Philip, particularly. He always thought he was in the money as soon as he put a ring on Tracey’s finger.’ She grinned, rather grimly, as she folded up the large document in front of her. ‘The fool.’

‘Are you sure about this, Gran?’ I’d asked, but the look she shot me left me in no doubt.

‘Just remember the clause, girl,’ she’d said, her eyes sparkling. ‘Say one word about this – one little brag, just the barest hint, and you get nothing. Just let them all believe they’re getting everything they’ve ever wanted, and more. Do that right, and it all goes to you.’

She’d be so proud of me, I thought, as I turned and made my way out of the room. As I passed the mirror in the hallway, I spent a few seconds practising my ‘surprised’ face, so I’d be ready when the time came.

Like my Granny before me, I was a gifted actress.

 

 

A Quick Thought for Sunday

I’ve just returned home from a funeral service held in memory of a man who was well known in our hometown.  I didn’t know the man well, but my mother is friends with his daughter.  I know some of his grandchildren, too, as we attended school together and we’ve all been vaguely aware of one another’s lives since we grew up and moved away from home.  The ceremony was a very emotional experience, even though I wasn’t a personal friend of the man who had passed away.  I tend to get quite upset at funerals generally, but I found this one particularly touching because one of the deceased man’s granddaughters sang, beautifully, during the ceremony and she moved me to tears.  It wasn’t just her skill as a singer that moved me, or even the choice of hymn, but it was her ability to pour her grief and love into her voice without once losing control.  I found tears rolling down my own face just listening to her, and my admiration for her was immense.  It was a wonderful tribute to a dearly loved grandfather, and it made me think about the important things in life, and what we leave behind us when we go.

The reading at the Mass was about the riches of the world that pass away, and the silks and fine fabrics of the earth which will, with time, return to dust – in a way, it was appropriate.  I’ve never aspired to be rich, or to accumulate ‘things’, but I do want to accumulate love.  The greatest treasure I could ever own would be the thought that, when it was my time to be mourned, that those who loved me would miss me and be thankful for my life.  I would hope too that they would then move on and live their lives, remembering me fondly every once in a while, and that – in time – all memory of me would pass into the wind, at one with everything else.

‘Remember me when I am gone away,

Gone far away into the silent land;

When you can no more hold me by the hand…

Yet if you should forget me for a while,

And afterwards remember, do not grieve…

Better by far you should forget and smile

Than that you should remember and be sad.’

from Remember, Christina Rossetti