Soiled blessings

Raffie and I load up his little yellow cart with the dirty washing and he pushes it around the verandah to the laundry with me, humming the way he doe , feet splayed like Charlie Chaplin, tottering on his chubby thirteen-month-old legs.

Photo of Raffie walkingI turn on the washing machine and let the water run, bending down to give him a big green peg. He smiles at me like I have just given him the crown jewels and crawls to find the hose nozzle, another of his jewels. A bird flits through the trees, catching his eye. He turns, using the clotheshorse to haul himself up, waving his treasure for the bird to admire - standing unsupported, a new trick. I smile and crouch down, urging him to walk toward me and he seizes the moment, tottering with glee, like a drunkard, making for my outspread arms. He falls into my embrace and wraps his arms around my neck and we melt into one another, his head nestling onto my shoulder, his silken crop of blond hair grazing my cheek, his body cuddling the length of my torso. We sway like that for a minute or two. And so great is my joy, I whisper a thank you to God and James and to the universe. I drink him in: his weight, his smell. I hum back his small sounds of pleasure.

This is the gift of Layla’s passing - knowing how precious this moment is. I close my eyes and feel it all. The loss, the sadness of her three-and-a-half year absence, and the deep, deep joy at what is here, now.

He pulls away from our embrace, because he’s a busy boy, and I stand and sort the whites and the colours, because there’s laundry to be done. I glance over to where he is ‘watering’ the potplant with the hose and smile, dropping the bibs and washers and playsuits into the machine like small, soiled blessings.

Photo of Raphael
Photo by Ryan Coates

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The Thin Pink Line


Journal - October 2000

Commemorating Loss