She couldn’t face church. She couldn’t face all those concerned looks, the sympathy, the empathy, the pity, the “I know how you feel”, the “let me tell you about my pain”. She just could not be amongst people who cared.


Instead she drove to the lake. 


Silence isn’t silent at the lake, the waves gently break onto the stones, Choughs and Wood Warblers sing to each other, grasshoppers and crickets make their moves. There is something quieting in the non-silence of the lake.


Her breathing forms a pattern, first designed thousands and thousands of years before, nature calming human. She cries out to God in the stillness, in the silence of her wrenched heart, she roars her name and the simply monosyllabic question “Why?”


She sits on a rock staring at the lake, her tears fall silently, splashing onto jeans. The dog appears suddenly, knocking her off the granite perch.


“Oh, sorry, she’s a bit clumsy, let me help you up, oh you’ve been crying, we have intruded, I’m sorry, we’ll leave you. Oh you’re Sylvie Breakman. I am sorry for your loss. Would you like to talk?”


The man had appeared as quickly as the dog that she could now see was an over-exuberant chocolate brown Labrador about a year old, still full of puppiness. The guy was talking, she heard very little, sorry something something sorry talk. Did she want to talk? She hadn’t spoken to anyone in five days.


The funeral had been on Thursday, two days after it was called in the operating theatre. It was called, that was how the insensitive doctor had told them. But maybe she needed that coldness to pierce the absolute stony silence in her heart, as it melted, as she melted into a mushy puddle.

For twenty one years she had been nursemaid, nurse, maid, food provider, medicine giver, physiotherapist, therapist, speech therapist, taxi, ambulance, so many roles but mostly mother, mostly love giver.


Her daughter, Elise, was famous locally as the girl who could. The doctors had given her zero chance of a life but Elise and Sylvie played by a different tune, they sang in harmony in life and loved living. 


Sylvie hadn’t just lost a daughter but had lost her job. It was called. So she sat on a rock grieving instead of being with people and found one guy she could talk to. She even got offered a job that she might consider. First though she must go to church and meet all her friends, all Elise’ friends, all the friends of the family and be comforted, each new day will bring new joy, she knew but still she grieved.


One comment

  1. ‘Sorry. Poor choice of words. You’re absolutely right. I used a stupid medical term that’s prevalent here, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right word. ‘Sorry.

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