Life as a Widower

A young widowed father opening up about living with loss

you’re her

Many years ago my maternal grandmother explained to me how she saw life and death. I was probably no more than ten when she asked me to walk over to her and take a good look at a pot plant on the windowsill in my parents’ living room. It was in flower and a few of its leaves had fallen onto the soil and dried.

She pointed to the body of the plant itself and asked me to imagine it were her. She then explained that the flowers in bloom were the families she’d created through her daughter and her son, my mum and my uncle. She then turned the plant around and showed me a number of little buds that hadn’t yet flowered. She said that they represented me, my brothers and my cousins and that the reason they hadn’t opened yet was because they (we) had their (our) entire lives ahead of them (us).

She then pointed to the dried leaves on the soil and explained that, one day, they would represent her. That her days as the roots and the stem of the plant would come to an end but that she would live on through us by being taken back into the soil and feeding us through her old life.

She never once mentioned God or heaven. I think she simply believed that she was creation. That she’d created our family and that the family which she’d created would continue to create because of her creation.

I often wonder if she remembers that conversation as well as I do because I’ve thought about it a lot in recent months.

It’s hard not to think about what happens after someone you love so much dies. It’s difficult not to stray towards the spiritual because it’s too hard to accept that such important questions can’t be answered. Maybe it’s just too much for a person to accept that a loved one’s end could be the end.

But when I look at my son there is one thing that I am clear on because of that conversation with my grandma. His mum lives on in him. He is her and he is me because we created him.

I want to begin to explain this to him to help bring him some comfort on days like today when he has been so desperate to have her back. So this is what I’m going to say.

You’re herĀ 

You’re her,

You’re me,

We’re us,

We’re we.

When three,

Then we,

Now two,

Still three.

I go,

No me,

You’re here,

Still three.

In you,

Still we,

You’re her,

You’re me,

You’re you,

All three.

JBBD Portrait 2 29.03.13

12 comments on “you’re her

  1. Felicity Wilson
    March 31, 2013

    Poignant & profoundly moving. You’re doing well right now Ben.

  2. Bev Morgan
    March 31, 2013

    You are an amazing Daddy, so true you will both live on through your beautiful son. Every time he looks in a mirror he will see his Mummy looking back at him. Yours words are so moving, I can only imagine the sorrow that you are feeling.

  3. Judy S
    March 31, 2013

    This takes my breath away….

  4. Helen Trussler
    March 31, 2013

    So beautiful and your son is gorgeous. Hope he enjoys his easter. Xx

  5. Avril Lamb
    March 31, 2013

    That is profoundly comforting, just lovely.

  6. lesley
    March 31, 2013

    Once again I want to thank you Ben. Today I was struggling to even think about my brother because to think about him meant also thinking about how he isnt here.but he is, he lives on in my niece and nephew.

  7. Ben, this is so beautiful. Your gorgeous little boy will grow up, so very aware of love and how to love. It’s very special x

  8. sharron
    April 11, 2013

    x…. beautiful Ben

  9. Emma
    April 22, 2013

    What a beautiful poem. I haven’t come accross a post that has failed to touch me.

  10. SAHMlovingit
    April 23, 2013

    Beautiful. So, so beautiful. I discovered your blog last month but haven’t yet commented. I just wanted to say congrats on your BIB nomination too.

  11. Bec Cowley
    April 26, 2013

    This is stunningly beautiful.

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