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Speaking to the dead

Do you speak to the dead?
Have conversations in your head?
Tell them things you've done today?
Wish they hadn't gone away?

Do you say: "Hi Roz" when you handle a sea shell that reminds you of her?
Do you say: "Something a bit special," when buying a plant that Molly would have loved?

Do you remember them, not in big ways, but in little ones. Shared memories, little habits, things you wear?

"Rosalie would have loved that dress," I think, though it's more than a decade since my sister died. Her children are separate people to me now.  Loved for their own sake's rather than for her.  They don't remember, apart from tiny fragments - they were too young when she died.  Aunty Gillian holds memories for them: photographs, stories, a mother who loved them.

Oswin, Molly's great-granddaugher, won't remember her either, though she toddled through Molly's home and paddled in the stream in her garden. 

Yet, sometimes, she asks me "Whose was that?" and I know I must have told that this flower and that came from Molly's garden.

She plays with the miniature tortoises that Molly collected, and if, one should get lost or broken, I shall regard it as a small price if these things come to be loved by another generation.

Time flows in one direction only, but sometimes, we can dam a corner of the stream and preserve a little memory here and there.

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Judith Proctor

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