A Different Kind of Sadness

Down by the creek...

Down by the creek...

Having never witnessed suffering or death before, I had no idea what to expect. Dying can be a long process. One day morphs into the next and you lose all track of time. Grief is a different kind of sadness to what I’m used to.  There was no remorse, anger, or want. Death at age 90 is normal and welcomed. The suffering is the hardest thing to take… to watch a loved one be in pain… to be incoherent… for life to be needlessly dragged on…

I went home with my dad the night that my mum stayed on at the hospital with my grandfather. I hadn’t been to my childhood home in ages and it felt good to be there, especially now. Dad made me a gin and tonic first thing, which I took down into the forest that lies beside our house. I tried to find a path down to the creek, but everything was overgrown or eroded away that nothing looked the same. I sat on a fallen tree by the bank of the river and sipped my drink, all the while watching the clear water gush over the rocks below.

It was very peaceful there, being surrounded by the trees and the long green stems of Queen Anne’s lace, garlic mustard, and dames rocket. To many those plants would be meaningless, but they are such a part of me, such a characteristic of the landscape and shaped the stories I wrote in my later childhood years. I still can’t describe the rustle of leaves though. For years I have tried to describe that wonderful sound through words, but never succeeded. Its just too beautiful.

When I returned to the house, I found Daddy smoking a cigarette with a glass of wine outside. He had Preisner’s Requiem For My Friend on, playing for Poppa. I went and laid down on the old hammock strung between two trees to listen to the music under the green canopy of leaves. The birds, the crickets, and the cicadas all seemed to chime in for Poppa…

I hope he comes to rest soon.


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