Tuesday, January 31, 2012


She leans into his shoulder and closes her eyes against the evening sea breeze. Curls her painted toes around smooth pebbles. Dreams of paradise.  And lowering his gaze to her windswept face and tousled hair, he holds her, pushes hair away, kisses her lightly. Urgently. Softly. Choosing one rose, he places it in the water. Not thrown; placed. The photographer bends on one knee,captures the falling wave splashing against the red petals, adjusts his shutter to the fading light, clicks again. Remembered.

They are in New Zealand to recreate their wedding day from 30 years ago, but already it’s too late. His cancer has returned with the strength of a thousand men and his body is weak and frail with yellow.
The images are now on my computer, and from my kitchen I watch them walk their last walk together, as I create his funeral DVD. Their love was strong, obvious, deeply felt, ever-lasting.
So now she sits before me in a restaurant, eyes lowered. She cannot look into anyone’s eyes, not even her own.  The hurt is so raw, her grief so huge, it will need a decade of nights to smooth over.
She’s bought flowers for me, roses. My thank you for filming and recording the funeral. For archiving forever, the way she held her head back, staring at the chapel ceiling. Trying not to film too closely, the way she knelt in front of her Nana; the way she placed her head on the old woman’s lap, and allowed her hair to be stroked.

Roses of every colour, to say thank you and celebrate the worst day of her life, the hardest goodbye. Reluctantly, gratefully, I take them from her shaking hands, and gently hug her frailty.

There is no smile, only the haunted look of a woman in love with a husband who will never age.

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