Sunday, 23 March 2014
The woman struggling with her dog, picking up poo, doesn't see the man in the car reading a map. Lost in the page, he doesn't see the joggers whizz by in their fluorescent Lycra. Eyes forward, they are blind to the teenager on the other side playing keep-up with the ball at the traffic lights.
The wind picks up, swirling a little light dust up into the Brazilian midday air. And it continues on.
The little girl, holding her mummy's hand across the road, is oblivious to the woman paying for the full tank of gas and a pack of mint chewing gum. She can't see the green parakeet land in a branch overhead, or the black cat running along a crumbling wall.
And none of them see me sitting in a grey car surrounded by traffic. Still. Invisible. Witnessing.
As I look around at the snapshot of the city, I begin to think about the billions of people all living under a single blue sky. Everything we can ever imagine is happening right at this very minute. People are loving and people are dying. People are laughing and people are trying. Moments of people's lives rush through my mind. Separate and connected.
A horn blasts up ahead and traffic begins to move once more.
The woman with her dog, the lost man, the footballer, the child, the chewing gum lady, parakeet and cat all disappear from sight, forever. The moment is over.
The city rushes by my window once more and I'm suddenly pulled into in a song that jumps out from the radio. As I begin to sing I can't help but wonder if someone is watching the man in the grey car, lost in the music, smiling and singing.
Tuesday, 18 March 2014
As we pulled up to the car park, a vision flashed through my mind. I saw him. In his chair being wheeled up the ramp inside, his beautiful auburn hair glistening in the sunlight.
I wondered what the memorial stone would look like.
After a warm welcome from one of the carers, she led us through the maze of rooms and out into the garden. Equipment adorned the playground and I imagined the little ones rolling and swinging and laughing.
And on we journeyed into the gardens. There was a stillness as we entered. The water that flowed down a gulley splashed gently into the rippling pond below. And that's when I noticed all the other stones, engraved with a name and birthday - the children somewhere else, always loved, never forgotten. As it was placed carefully into my hands, I felt its coolness, smooth and heavy in my palms. I wondered briefly if he was here with us standing next to the pond, watching, smiling.
A lump made its way up into my throat as I felt my eyes begin to well up. I watched the cradled stone enter the shallow water and find its way gently to the bottom. And there it would remain for years to come. Suddenly the light hit the water and reflected off the surface. I could see his engraved name shining through the reflection.
Then, in amongst the silence and quiet contemplation, I realised that letting go wasn't the same as losing. Sometimes in life we have to let go of people we love. But we never lose them. Their presence in our life makes us the person we are today and they will live forever in our hearts every step of the way...
In every sunset and every snowfall.