The Last Gift



She looked round the empty flat. A paper tissue lay under the table. It would have to stay there, with her arthritis she couldn’t reach the floor. The flat really needed cleaned. But it was all she could manage moving out into the bed-sit – the one overlooking woodland she and her husband had first looked at when they moved from London. She shrugged. She would leave the bond. The landlord had been good and he deserved it.

The first week was strange. She felt calm, a bit out of this world. An image of her husband when she had first met him twenty years before seemed to hang in the air in front of her – smiling, young and strong, but now as if a golden aura hung around him. The image went, she couldn’t exactly identify when . But the feeling of peace, of safety lingered for weeks afterwards.

It was strange. In the early days she spent little time thinking about him, as if he was still there. But a year and a half later she felt normal again.  And the memories started. Their holiday in Rome, when she had taken a photo of him in the Coliseum, the circular walls and the labyrinth of rooms at the base. He looked at home there. As if he had stepped into the modern age from another time.

Small flashes of memory punctuated her day. Sitting in a corner of the library reading, a coffee at his side. When he was ill driving to the airport in the early morning, for a flight to Malta. Lots of memories of holidays. The coach tour to Scotland, where after a shower, they saw one rainbow after another, lighting the sky over the  bleak moors and brooding hills.

Bringing her a cup of tea with a slab of chocolate cake, with a smile.

“Where are you now, my love?”

The rose dies, but the scent lingers on, or in their case, lavender. Her husband loved lavender. Especially when she gave him a foot massage, and rubbed lavender cream into his feet.

Funny. A tough man, with tender feet.

The time they walked together, hand in hand, along the beach at Shanklin.

Driving her mother around Strangford Lough, a rare outing for the old lady in her eighties. She slept the whole way but later said she enjoyed it.

Everywhere she turned a memory lay in wait to ambush with a chuckle, a smile, a thoughtful moment, and  tears.

She was surrounded by books. Since his death she had built up a small library. But in her head was a library of memories given to her by her husband.  His last gift and the sweetest gift of all.


Copyright 2014 Prayerwarriorpsychicnot

Tribute William Andrew McCleary 1943-2013