Looking Past by Katharine E. Smith @PublishHeddon
“All the photos I had ever seen of Mum and Dad together were beautiful. I am not calling my parents devastatingly attractive people. Film-star good looks and model figures do not run in my family. There was beauty in those pictures though, in how happy my parents looked when they were together. In the glances caught between them, and the balance that was somehow conveyed even in faded old photos from their dating days. The comfort and contentedness they shared should not be underestimated and to my mind is a thing of beauty.
How many clichés is it possible to use when I talk about the effect Mum’s death had on Dad? His world fell apart, or crumbled, or was turned upside down. Clichés they may be but true nevertheless. I guess clichés must come from truth. Don’t get me started on the clichés people doled out to us in an effort to comfort. Not their fault, they were just trying to help – but they didn’t.
But back to Dad. I hated it. Seeing what was happening to him. Feeling unable to do anything about it and eventually unable to connect with him. I hate to think about it, what happened to us when Mum died. We had always had such fun together, Dad and I. He was funny, and light-hearted, and always wanting to do things. Days at the park, the zoo, the seaside. Bike rides in the summer, sledge rides in the winter. He taught me to play football and cricket so I was a match for most of the boys in my year.
For a time, just after Mum died, this all stopped. I don’t think I even noticed then. I don’t know what we did in those days, or weeks, after she had gone. Eventually, after the funeral, we had to go back to our work/school routine.”