What is loss?

P asked me what the loss of a parent is like.

It is cutting trees by the river with your mum’s pruning saw and dropping it in the water, shouting ‘No! No! No!’ as you grab for it and can’t reach it and watch it sink into darkness away from you.

It is a sick feeling, the feeling of something hard and cold pressing into my heart.

It is knowing that the saw can be replaced but that it’s handle will not have been held by a hand that once held mine and no longer does.  It is knowing that one more link to her is cut.

It is keeping jars of bottled fruit in the cellar, knowing that they are inedible, but keeping them because they are the last of the food your mum made for you and the last she ever will.

It is when your child learns about World War II at school and ask about evacuation and you want to be able to say ‘phone gran and ask her’ but you can’t.

It is knowing that she never met your children or they her and never will.

It is seeing her face in mine as I look in the mirror and watch myself age.

It is waking up from dreams where I have seen her die all over again and failed to keep her alive all over again. And sobbing, all over again.

It is knowing that there was life with her alive and life after her death and that life changed when she died and there is before and after and they are not the same.

It never goes; the loss.

Life just carries on around it.

Until you drop the saw in the river and shout ‘No! No! No!’ as you watch it sink from reach, helplessly.

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