I had to pack away my father’s clothes today. The experience compelled me to write but my words came in a surprising form. Grief is expressed in various forms. Mine is through writing. Today it is poetry. I stand by my previous sentiments that grief is beautiful. Hope you like it.
On my arrival, I had no possessions to my name but one;
It was a perfectly clean jacket.
I carried it everywhere I went.
When I stumbled and fell it got covered in mud
The stains were clearly visible and made me ashamed
Then my mother showed me how to soak the jacket in a special solution, which loosened the mud and lifted the stains.
My jacket was clean once more and I walked around with a sense of relief and a promise to take better care of it.
But one day I heard a joke that made me laugh so hard I snorted my drink, which spilt, onto my collar.
I was the object of laughter and once again my cheeks flushed with shame.
I remembered what my mother taught me and soaked my jacket and washed it. The stains were lifted again.
As the years passed by, the colour of my jacket started to fade, the soft material was rough now from being repeatedly cleaned. If you looked carefully, you could see the stitches along the seams, which had frayed a little.
I stared in wonder at the little old lady sitting in the chair in front of the mirror, she stared curiously back at me in her rocking chair.
Resting in her lap was a very weathered jacket. She was holding a needle with some thread to make another repair. The jacket was worn so much it was barely recognizable from its original state.
Even after all these years, she held onto that jacket, I suddenly had the urge to get up and make my leave. The old lady smiled at me through the mirror. I took my jacket and laid it gently over the back of my chair. I didn’t need it anymore.
Some time passed and my curious mind had me thinking about that jacket. I returned to the place I had left it to find a cloakroom.
The rows and rows of coat hooks ran further than my eyes could see. Each coat hook supported a jacket.
Some looked new, barely worn
Other’s looked weathered, like mine was
Some were missing an arm or a pocket
All of them were unique.
To my utter amazement, I was suddenly aware of a woman who was knelt on the ground.
She smelled of fresh bloom and had a clutch of flowers in her lap. I noticed the stems were wet as tears flowed from her cheeks.
I walked towards this familiar woman and smiled sadly as she started talking to my old jacket.
I couldn’t comfort her because her sadness appeared to cloud her senses. She could not see nor hear me. So I took my arms and gave her a gentle hug to let her know she was not alone.
She gasped and whispered,
“I love you”
I felt need to leave again, but not before I whispered back,
“Don’t cry sweetheart, it’s only a jacket.”
Laura Burton 2018