Where does time go? Where does this reflection go at night? All the leaves that have fallen and will fall year after year simply disappear into …. the earth? And all the dead birds and animals? Do you ever see any? So few that when we do it is a special and sad event. Death is all around us and yet he is hidden, unspoken.
Certainly not here! It will be ten years in December since she died. And yet around me are pictures of her, things she created, her voice in my own head, comforting or mocking me in that tone that perhaps only I can properly remember. Where is she? And my father, my grandparents? Death, the trickster never reveals his secrets and we fear to probe too much.
Here in Montreal we commemorate the sudden death of a cyclist with a memorial like this. This one I found on Mount Royal and Park Avenue as I was going up to the top of the mountain to visit my mother’s grave. A young person was suddenly killed in an accident. Why? How? Even more mysterious than my mother asking me on the last day of a long full life, “ Is this it then, Isobel?”
I was going to put the grave to sleep for the winter, but it doesn’t need me for that. My father’s ashes were cast into the cold waters of the Bay of Fundy supposedly at his request, although I never heard him ask for such an arrangement. Whenever I am close to moving water I talk to him.
It is almost sunset on Halloween so you must forgive me writing like this about the mysterious, ever- present companion. Today, tonight, the veil between earth and spirit is it at its thinnest. Today, all the portraits of my uncles and aunts, my grandparents and parents look down on me from the shelf with a special look, a compassion in their gaze. Soon you will know, they say, soon you will understand.