all that remains of you rests in a green cardboard box:
6″ x 9″ x 6.
your name, printed on a generic white sticker,
with a number and a date:
the date we set you free
by fire –
and all that remains of you now rests, with me, in a box by my bed.
a green cardboard box.
you weigh less now, but you are, surprisingly, heavier
than i anticipated.
i didn’t know what to expect, to be honest, when i got the call
to come and collect you.
but you were given to me, gift-wrapped, like a present.
gift-wrapped in a silver bag, with silver rope handles:
like a belated birthday gift.
having you, for my mother, truly was a gift.
with my brothers, i will scatter
what’s left upon the graves of those you lost long ago:
your lover and your son,
just like you wanted, Mum.
but, truth is, i am finding it hard to part with you.
so long as i have you, in this little green box,
you remain a part of me.
but, part we must.
i cannot hold onto these fragments
of bone and cinder
– that were once strong arms that held me
– that was once a beating heart that loved, unconditionally.
i must let you be
and scatter you to the breeze
and set you free.
i must learn to breathe for myself.
some days, i feel like i am drowning,
in my own loss and self-pity.
Sundays are the hardest days to bear
because i was there that Sunday,
when you gave your last breath back up to the sky
– do you remember?
i saw the light in your eye
turn off, like a light,
leaving my world a whole lot darker,
despite the sunlight.
i was there, with you, with my hand on your heart.
i felt it stop.
part of me died with you.
oh the pain of physical severance.
our umbilical cord, cut.
i know Death is not the end.
i know you walk with me.
i know you have stopped by… i know.
i could smell your perfume.
and i heard you, rattle my cup!
but i cannot keep you here, comforting as it is, having you close.
i must set you free.
i must let you be: be with Dad and William.
it’s the one last thing i promised you and
it is time.
time. we always think we have time.
truth is, there is never enough time.
time. my past, my present and my future:
all in one little green box.
time. it is all we had.
they say, in time, it becomes easier…
… this… breathing for myself.
i hope so
because sometimes i feel
like i am weighed down at the bottom of the ocean.
(c) Kat McDonald – September 2017
Rest in peace, Mum.
My late mother – on her 91st Birthday! 7th June 2017… she passed on 16th July 2017.