Swallows

7/4/2017 I put off going to my parents’ grave. I still rebel against the reminder that they are in the ground while spring is in the trees. And although I feel I should look after the flowers and shrubs on their tiny patch of ground with as much diligence and attentiveness as the larger version not two miles away, it is too painful and I cannot. A green slate headstone and small patch of ground honouring their deaths; a green slate worktop and large patch of ground honouring their lives.

I made an appointment to go today, and held myself to it. A week short of the fourth anniversary of my father’s death, and a few days short of seven years after finding out my mother would soon be gone.

I was lost in thought, pulling strands of grass through thorny stems, distinguishing weed from flower, when I became aware of a sound. Understanding dawned on me as if in slow motion. Incessant chatting and trilling in the sky… I looked up. Two swallows were circling high above my head.

‘My friends… you’ve come back!’

If they only knew their power to dissolve hearts.

Even by text message.
‘Why?’ I asked my friend when he said I made him cry.
‘The swallows – the grave – the spring – you’ was his answer.