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Category — Love

Letter to Dad

I am walking in Stroud, across the bare December fields, and it seems like a dream that you are not here in the world. Are you walking beside me anyway, and I just can’t see you? We have done this so many times, tromping through the mud in our wellie boots, you and I.

I miss you.

In fact I miss you in  a hundred ways, that are not yet real to me. Not while your clothes are still in your cupboard, your emails to me on my computer, your last photo I took, still on my camera. I wanted so much to be able to say goodbye. But if I could have done, what would I have said that could have come close to the hole that is now in my life, the imprint of you.

If I could knit a huge blanket of you around me, in the most wonderful colours, it would be of all the hilarious things you saw in people, that made me laugh. It would be of your kindness, your grumpiness and intolerance. It would be of your love for your family and friends, it would have boats and books and Hong Kong woven right through it.

I am sorry dad, that you didn’t have more time to travel to far flung places, to enjoy more pints, to walk more pathways. That you didn’t see Theo’s first rugby match or watch Holly grow taller than me. And also that you might not get this letter telling you that I am proud of you, that I have loved you through each and every one of my 39 years.

I will listen for you in the wind.

Love Jaine x

It is quiet in the hospital, just the noise of watchful machines whirring and beeping. I sit by your bedside and put my face on your warm, brown, familiar arm, and pretend to be a child again. Smell you, and feel you while I still can. I touch your face, and try to press enough memory of you onto my fingertips to last me for a lifetime. I look at how your eyelashes curl perfectly upwards. Your ring is still on your little finger. I curl your quiet hand into mine, folding a rose petal that I have picked this morning from your garden into your palm – a secret from another time.

I sing your favourite songs to you, James Taylor, Simon and Garfunkle, and whisper messages into your ears – words that just might reach you in time, in that deep place where you are now.

It is said that when someone dies, we cry not just for them, but for all the deaths we live through, big and small. Sad waves of remembering washing wetly over us. This is a strange and terrible river that I have fallen into. I now realise that it has been flowing silently beside me for all of my life; as the certainty that people I love will die. What a shock to be in its icy waters suddenly. I surrender to its cold, let it carry me along, despairing that I will ever be dry, warm, happy, whole.

Today I lie on the floor, not sure how I got to be here, and stare up at my sitting room from this different place of looking. Death can be so like birth – just in reverse, a struggle, a letting go. And for the people that are left – we enter a strange land with no map through no choice of our own.

Some days I break into many pieces, and I wonder how deep into our bones this relentless pain can travel? I feel like an iceberg floating in a cold, lonely sea. Bits of me keep breaking off, floating away – there’s another bit gone – I’m in a slow meltdown, that no one sees. A friend says ‘don’t forget to breathe’ and I realise that I have in a way. I yawn and stretch, and inhale deeply until I begin to feel a little better.

It’s been five years Dad, since I wrote you my letter. Your ashes have been scattered in all sorts of interesting places, and I think that is how you would have like it. This tree is a beautiful copper beech tree near to my house, we’ve walked past it many times together. Some of your ashes are buried near to its roots, and it is here that I come to talk to you. It’s maybe a bit silly, but each time I pass, I pick up a leaf and tuck it into my clothing, next to my skin. Hours later, when I’ve long forgotten what we chatted about that morning, it flutters out and on to the floor.

Each year, I remember those last days with you, the road trip we never got to take, the many things I didn’t get around to asking you. It gets easier and it gets harder. I miss you more. I am not sure you would even recognise me these days, and the children outgrew me many many moons ago! But it is all o.k, the pieces that matter are woven tightly in, and the bits I no longer need to hold will someday soon be let go of …to be carried to you on the wind.

November 23, 2012   9 Comments

Love letters….

Valentines Day only has a little space in our family….but I like to think it has a big heart. It’s mostly about me buying a few hand made chocolates, and remembering that I actually do love all the beings in this crazy family. I make sure I write or paint notes telling them this, and then we have a sort of special meal to nail the deal.


Everything was going to plan, we had all left the house to carry on our separte journeys out into the world for the day. Mark was travelling down to Surrey to pick up my mother who is to be staying for a few days. We were scrabbling around to find a mobile that actually works, and I had an uneasy feeling that he would need it. But we couldn’t lay our hands on one, so just left it. Off he went, this sweet man of mine, at least an hour early, he hates being late. But late he was, by at least 3 hours, and the traffic news was reporting terrible accidents on his route. I sat in my art studio, waiting for the phone to ring, feeling an awful sense of the fragility of our lives. We fill our everydays with precious, irreplaceable people, that sometimes we forget we love so so much, that it could hurt forever to not have them.

He eventually came home, safely, with my mother happily in tow, and with the children home too, we were all gathered in, with a house smelling of newly baked bread, and supper. I sat among my candles and my family, reminding myself that I don’t really need the hearts,  and chocolates, to feel the love of these people. I just need them here. By my side. Doing something as simple as sharing food and being together.

February 14, 2011   6 Comments