Milestones

Boa Vista, Cape Verde, 2013

I wrote this piece for my Facebook page, on the first anniversary of Omid’s death

I don’t know how the world has kept turning without Omid in it, but apparently it has. 365 times to be precise. We have travelled a full lap around the sun, and here we are again. Back at the beginning. Ava has now lived for more days without her Daddy than with him, which I find unfathomable. 

On significant days and anniversaries throughout the year, we have taken a walk on the Mount in Guildford, our old back garden, while I tried to collate my thoughts and tame them into my first poem. It’s been a cathartic process, and I believe the process is often more important than the final result.

I thought each step I took, each day I survived, would take me towards peace but I know now it’s not that simple. It’s more like braving waves. They surge and recede and you become more familiar with the pattern, better able to stand firm against them, but there are storms which are unpredictable and ferocious, and you inevitably get swept away, tumbled about, and washed back up on the shore coughing and spluttering and preparing yourself for the next tide.

But we are still here, and for that I am grateful. And I am gradually building us a little boat in the hope that, eventually, we might float on top of the waves…

Milestones

Today I climbed the mountain of my grief and retraced the footsteps of our past.
Remembered all the walks we took,
And the plans we made for our future.
None prepared me for the present.

Today I should be showering you with presents,
But Instead I am showered by tears.
The sky cries with me,
The damp earth nurtured by our sadness.

I miss your hand in mine
The familiar squeeze of warmth 
and reassurance 
Today my hand is as empty as the air
Though my heart is filled with lead

Today I retraced the steps 
We took one year ago
Alongside my footsteps Your confident stride 
Replaced by a determined toddle
Once again, the sun sets the meadow alight
But, today, the joy is muted
The wind carries my promise to you
As it whisks your body across the meadow
Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust
Heart to soul

A veil of dust dances briefly in the air
Then settles on the flowers
Nourishing the soil with a promise of rebirth
New life will soon spring from old
And I take comfort in the knowledge
That you will always be here

A keepsake is left at home
Like a genie in a bottle
If only you could grant my wishes

Today a path opened up before me. 
It is long and often obscured
But I walk on, walk forwards, walk away,
And try to take my heart with me
It tugs and pulls
But I have come too far to go back.
I cut back the brambles and wade on
Ignoring the scratches

Alongside the path a gaping chasm
Threatens to pulls me in
I do my best to skirt around it
But inevitably I fall
Swallowed whole by a cloak of darkness. 
It is comforting here.
Your image echoes round the chamber
Soft at first, cushioning and holding me
but it sharpens, piercing, puncturing, slashing my heart
A pinprick of light above beckons me back
I struggle to pull myself free, reaching up, stretching and calling for help
Voices of encouragement rain down on me
And I allow myself to be filled with their bouancy
Floating slowly to the surface

Today, I read the promises we made each other 4 years ago,
And spoke the words I wish I had told you every day since then,
A whisper, transparent as glass, into the void
Each syllable choked in my throat, cut my mouth until it cried 
Who am I without you?
How do I be?
Where am I going?
And how do I get there without your heart to lean on?
My feet keep walking, but my soul hasn’t moved.

Today the festivities keep rolling, as if nothing is wrong
In a blur of deafening sound your silence haunts me
I retreat, into myself, and into a corner 
Trying to find your hiding place 
Trying to feel an alternative day,
where you are merely sleeping in the room next door

Today, I marched towards the end
Hand in hand with an army of love
We reached up to the highest heights with a rainbow 
And tried to call you down.

I have crossed the finish line
But am no closer to the end
Preparing myself for another lap around the sun
Without a map
Perhaps I’ll take a different route this time.

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