Stone Cold

I stand with dad – he’s never cried before. I help him with my arm, embrace and support. I say he’s right to feel awful – don’t bother hiding. Even pain honors her.

My eyes are dry.

My brother – withdrawn and alone. His wife can’t get in. I tell her and my dad – let him be. He is talking – talking himself down, trying to cope. He’ll need you soon – give what you can by letting him just breathe.

I talk to them. I talk to everyone.

I talk to mourners. I tell of our lives – I miss her smile, her chiding, her simple presence. They cry or sit in dazed silence. Their minds are shaken out of the world.

I ensure the director has all he needs before I leave.

I go to my wife. We sit quietly. We embrace, share the warmth of each other. I feel the tang of mortality, and the slow burn of memory. I mildly dread waking to an unchanged world.

I stay up to handle sympathy cards. They must go tomorrow. I wonder how long until I should return to work.

A tick and a tock are in my head. Who is dead? When did they pass?

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