For the first time in my life I went on to Whitby beach on my own, I have always had a companion, Sally. Even when I went for a run, Sally would be there with the dogs, waiting for my return.
This run was different, very different. I had a rucksack. The contents were very special. Sally’s ashes.
At 4pm, on a very windy and near deserted beach, I sent Sally’s ashes on their final journey. On the incoming tide line, I said my last goodbye, the wind carried her ashes along the beach towards Whitby, the waves washing over them.
This was the place we walked on our last visit, we talked at length of our future together. I proposed, again, and as before, Sally said yes. The intention was to marry in 2015, the year of our sixtieth birthdays.
We spoke of our love for each other, our children, grandchildren, possible grandchildren, parents, siblings and life. We always talked.
The tears flowed, as the rain started to fall, a light rain but blown on the gusting wind. It was time to head back to Whitby, I was starting to feel the cold.
Back to the empty house, her picture on the wall, her memory in my heart, I thanked her for the time together, for the love we shared and for welcoming me into her life.
After a hot bath I carried out another wish, that I should have a gin and tonic for her at The Moon and Sixpence. A Whitby tradition. The empty seat beside me brought the tears, of loss, of happiness and of the joy of having spent an all to brief time with such a beautiful person.
Whitby will never, can never, be the same.
The following Sunday was cool and the evening saw the wind drop, I decided to carry out the second part of my farewell to Sally. It was time to light the garden fire pit and burn the cardboard tube containing the last of her ashes. I could not bare the thought of putting the tube in the recycling bin. As the flames rose, I raised my glass to her, yes it was gin and tonic time again, it was a Sunday after all. I sat under the garden shelter and watched as the fire subsided and the embers glowed in the dark. More tears, more than the previous week, much more. This was our place, our shelter, our garden, our fire pit. Our life together. I cried like a baby. The dogs sensed there was something wrong, both came and sat with me. Audrey jumped up onto my lap, quivering. My little companion. We sat for hours.
Another week, another Sunday. Time to scatter the ashes from the fire pit round the garden. Another gin and tonic, naturally. This time I sat on our bench and looked at the fruits of our work, the full borders, productive fruit trees and a relaxing place to be in. Emotional waves washed over me, as always when I think of Sally. I wondered what she would make of my ideas for the future of the garden, the plans for the outside store, my decisions on what to plant next year. I looked at the summer house, her summer house, the summer house she never saw. It was where she wanted to sit and spend her last days, looking at the garden, sadly it was not to be. It was delivered and erected on the day she died.
So, we continue. The garden still needs attention, produce to harvest, grass to cut. All so bitter sweet. Empty. Quiet.
Her roses bloom. For as long as they flower I will keep cutting them and placing the fresh blooms by her picture.