I have but a few more things to do before leaving for Calgary. A bit of laundry, a trip to a store to put together a package of things for a little girl, some books, some crayons, for a little girl at her mum's funeral. In the back of my mind tasks race: the need to buy a dress for her, and breakfast with a friend, and the need to finish up some things. Change the bedding for the house sitter, and perhaps tidy the house a bit. I had wanted to get the perennials planted today, but I will settle for watering them in their green house pots. Packing.
I need to go and find the pooh bear from my childhood. An old friend to give to Emma. A scant and cold comfort. I should like to buy her a pony, a palomino, bright as a copper penny, with a blond mane and tail. Really, I want a pony for her like my first pony - Toby, small and sturdy, full of love, impossible to fall off of.
I think about Golden Retriever puppies, it is impossible to see a golden retriever puppy and be completely sad. And yet. And yet. There is perhaps one thing, but I know not the store to purchase it from - there is no store called 'back from the dead'.
And what of Allan. There is nothing I can buy for him. A puppy will not mend a mind broken by tragedy and grief. I cannot bring Anna back. I cannot even find a sympathy card. I cannot countenance trite stereotypes, slogans proclaiming peace and comfort, when I know there is none to be found. I can hear his words, "It's going to hurt on Sunday, when everything is done and she is gone, isn't it?" Isn't it? Won't it? And from the lump behind my throat I can only croak a yes. I cannot help him. Grief is the longest journey, and our hardest parts we walk on our own.
And me. Every morning this week, looking at my e-mail, waiting for that morning note about the traffic, about the thing that Emma did, about the weather. There is no email, simply a lingering sense, a painful realization that she is gone. I sent an email to her on Monday, knowing there was no one on the other end, but unable to bear that there was no one to send an email too. An email that said good-bye, acknowledged that there was no person to send this too, but a need to mark, to remember, to pause. Anna was here.
For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
1 Timothy - 6:7