Please do not ask
If I am now recovering
Or if I see the light
At the tunnel’s end.
Nor speak about relief — or burdens lifted.
And, worst of all, new starts.
Please, please don’t ask
If I am getting through —
Have come to terms
Or find my life is back on track.
Of course I live each day to each
And gladly smile
My coping, to “prepare a face
To meet the faces that you meet”.
What else is there to do?
In any case, you would not want to know
The daily loss that lasts eternally.
Just, please, don’t ask.
Frances Gibb – written on the death of her husband
We chose the winter flowering cherry as the place to scatter my mother’s ashes. The tree had been a present from my sister Julia shortly before she died, after a shockingly cruel illness, 21 years ago. It was my mother’s favourite tree and in the last few months of her life, when her memory had almost entirely disappeared, she often spoke of “Julia’s Tree”. It’s a remarkable tree because when everything else in the garden has died down it bursts into life, producing hundreds of tiny pink flowers on leafless branches. Today, on the first day of winter, a truly wintry day with hoar frost covering the ground and crystal clear skies, one solitary pink flower burst into bloom, as if to acknowledge our small family ceremony.
The picture here shows my mother as a young girl and I’ve chosen it because you can see Julia in her smile.