I tried, but I cannot write another thing until this man who meant so much to me is heard: a man called John who has left this earth for a better place but who gave my heart a safe place to heal, when I needed a friend, like a father when my own was absent.
My words are frozen, you see, trapped in a sea of ice. No longer in flow but solid and harsh, at once unbreakable with no sign of melt.
I thought my muse had abandoned me.
Then…hush! As I look forlornly through my kitchen window at the untouched bird feeders hanging in the tree at the end of the garden, a sudden flit of colour zips into view. I take a sharp intake of breath and gasp.
What is this? Can it be…?
Why yes, it is a gift from God above – my Sweet Robin, for he has returned to me!
Oh dear John! How I wish I could share this news with you, this celebration of the pleasure of such gifts.
I remember how much you enjoyed my photographs of Sweet Robin flitting merrily from branch to branch in my garden one snowy morn.
There I was, fancying myself as some sort of nature photographer, speaking, yes speaking to my robin. And how he posed so handsomely, allowing me to creep ever closer, snapping away at his puffed-up breast and mischievous, coal-black eyes.
And my heart soared with joy at such a sight.
For you in your delight, so thrilled to share with me your own little garden robin, your constant visitor, that long, white winter.
Walking through the grounds of Forde Abbey this late November season, there, in the autumn-glass reflection on the lake I imagined a slide-show of all the places you visited with my family.
November’s rush of breeze enticed the trees to bare their branches for winter’s rest, and in its whisper there I turned, to the call of your laughter carried on the air.
Remember the time when you took us all to London? You knew well my crazy obsession with that old fox Henry VIII as we toured the Tower of London and we giggled like school children in the museum at the sight of the size of his regalia – what a man! – yet shivered at the thought of what he did to his poor wives.
Well, dear John, guess who I got to hang out with this weekend at Barrington Court’s Christmas Fayre? And I managed to keep my head…
But there is so much more than this: broken too many times, you reached out in your gentle and wise ways and helped put me back together again by showing my family nothing but love and affection and help where needed.
We travelled many paths together along the way.
Birthdays, university graduations, milestones, holidays, my wedding – all of them, you were there.
I did not know what to write, the words disappeared and nothing made sense. Even now, I am not so sure of my expression. But what I do know is this: today my robin returned and my heart is full of thanksgiving for my dear and beloved friend John.