Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
by Mary Elizabeth Frye
It’s Grandad’s funeral today. I even have it written down in my diary. Grandad’s funeral. Why? Will I forget? There will be no more entries on his account. No more Grandad’s birthday or visiting Grandma and Grandad. Or Grandma and Grandad coming over. That actually never happened. See, we moved back up north as he fell really ill and he never got a chance to see our new home. We were the visitors, in the Oasis ward at Rochdale Infirmary. Visits that often resembled family reunions. Planning Christmas, discussing the golden days of a fading industrial town and its nearby sights, or what’s on at the Picture House. And amidst it all - Grandad, quietly nodding, not hearing a word, not recognising these faces, not knowing their names. Last time we saw him he wore the Santa socks I gave him few years back. It made me happy. We drank tea and ate Jaffa cakes. Talked about cardigans, bridge and the weather, but mostly sat together in silence. The good kind of silence, that brings people closer and doesn’t pull them apart. We told him we loved him and that we’d be back. Then I went back on meds and we never went back. It was my first day back on my treatment and his last. I could’ve managed. He probably would’ve been asleep, they said. I could’ve managed. I never gave him the card. And now he’s gone, with a single flap of the wings.