Sailing By

My hand fumbles in the dark… panics to find the radio button. It is too late and I am superstitious so cannot now interrupt the opening bars drift around my room. Lying in the bleakness of misery, tears run sideways wanting to block my ears. This bitter-sweet melody has to be endured as my mind floats around the house. You are there at the corner of my eye, skewed visions in all the familiar places.

Standing at your bedroom door, listening to the lilting tune. I enter, linger by your bed. Watch protectively the rise and fall, the rhythm of your breathing, relieved that I am not too late. Tugging at your book, clutched in tiny hands, I stoop to kiss your cheek, fearful that you won’t be there in the morning. I click your lamp off and leave you, waltzing together. Safe in your dreams.

The anticipated silence screams at me as it screams every day since you left. Two in four days, six in three years. I try to clear your things, clinging to my cocoon of decades, but I’m clearing you from my life. No words can ever express the utter desolation of being so alone and our day strips me of all energy. No one calls – there is no one. Reading aloud to the empty chairs I hear you. ‘We’re here. You’re not alone.’ But I am, entirely, because everyone I loved, close and meaningful, has gone.

Two minutes thirty-six seconds plays a lifetime from earliest memory to the posies I made that morning. I tied the ribbons one by one to blanket your coffin. A wild garden of foliage you’d grown with all the Latin names. Floating to the tune that haunts my every night, arpeggios rise and fall in waves and I want my grieving boat to carry my soul to you away from these lonely silent shores.

Twelve forty-eight. All that was my world is swept away. Sailing by on the fading, falling woodwind… and you are gone.


One journey, six shores, three years,

One journey, thirteen shores, twenty years

One journey, one soul, raining tears.