i.m. Judy Beckett 1928 – 2012: vet, wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, gardener, lover of birds, landscapes and her beloved Deerfield.
Death arrives just when you expect it – and takes you by surprise.
Leaving a last letter unwritten,
a conversation that will now have to wait its turn,
a dog bringing its ball hopeful, inquisitive,
the hum of a distant lawnmower,
an aroma of newly cut grass
lingering alongside the shimmer
of a late afternoon summer sun.
I am thinking of us winding, meandering as a river,
through the ebbs and flows of our parallel lives.
I am honouring your marvellous consistency.
The way you noted all the great turns and tides
through the ritual of the written word.
The legacy you have left of loving
the way a dog will rub its nose against a favourite chair,
keeping its young mistress awake at night after running amok through stinging nettles
upon the scent of a young rabbit;
Of noticing how a bird’s belly will flit, lit from bush to bush;
how a donkey bray from the field keeps us connected down the years;
and my father in a deck chair under the apple tree, still? Glass in hand.
Fresh flowers on a white gloss window sill.
Chintz curtains catching the breeze
and a last glimpse of you
before you go.
Greeted by all creatures great and small,
A far flung brother, a mother,
And a not so newly arrived husband,
accustomed to waiting
with an expectant spaniel by his side.