Our fourteen year voyage has ended, here in this hospice, in this room. At last you are at peace. I stand at the window looking out across the lawn, across to the trees bathed in thin October sunlight. I stare dry eyed unseeing. I cannot cry anymore.
I imagine, I feel, that I am standing on the deck of a sailing ship that has passed through a great prolonged storm. A storm that engulfed us, that blew in across the horizon, taking us by surprise.
I look across the deck of our ship, at the fallen masts and the sails and rigging floating in the now still sea. You, our navigator has gone. Gone too, the charts mapping our future, blown away in the maelstrom, our dreams scattered in the winds. Our instruments of navigation, washed overboard, are at the bottom of this ocean. There are no stars above, no land in sight. I am lost in this vast, endless, sea.
In the distance a door closes, footsteps in the corridor. Noises And movement from this life. I must move, move on. I kiss you goodbye and leave the room. My first port of call. To explain to our nine year old daughter her mother has died.
Many years have passed since this unfathomably sad day. My imaginary ship survived. Fitted with new masts, sails and rigging it has sailed on across new oceans and guided by different charts visited different shores. The constellations reappeared and there have been a few storms, but mostly days of calm and sunshine. For my daughter Laura, her sister Kate and me, our lives were changed that day. Our lives are different but, under the surface, still sometimes haunted with a hidden grief.