Thursday, 29 March 2012

Flowering Redcurrant

Underneath the silver birch
They’d hang pink with pleasure,
Blushing blossoms
Full and frothing.
Beneath the birch’s lolling leaves
I’d read, or sing or dream.
And look through dappled light
To pale bare skies
Where contrails paint across the blue.
Small fingers fashioning necklaces
From a constellation
Of crimson-tinged daisies,
Dotted on the lawn.
The smell of earth, damp and raw,
Grass stained knees and the tantalising
Whispers of summer on the breeze.
I’d lie beneath those verdant boughs,
Embraced in their beauty.
And even today,
When years have passed,
I smell the flowering redcurrant
And remember.

Angela Barton

Monday, 5 March 2012

Learning Lessons The Hard Way

My second novel, In Hindsight, tells the story of a young woman called Rowan and her attempt at getting her life back on track after the unexpected death of her husband. Of course things don't go smoothly when she eventually re-surfaces to face the world again. She finds out that her husband wasn't the man she thought he was. But it's my take on grief in my novel which needs editing, now that I'm experiencing it in reality.

I had my heroine suffering with Hollywood angst but not possessing the ability to carry on with everyday tasks. I had her in floods of tears and being cared for by her best friend like a child. Since dad died in January, I've learned the lesson of writing about grief the hard way.

It's a deep clawing sadness. It's a feeling that everything in your life is different - but nothing in your life has changed. It's catching your breath when the image of their smile floods your thoughts. It's love, loss, anguish, silence and madness. It's alternating between silently begging and bargaining with God to be a better person if only He could make you wake up and find you'd had a nightmare; that dad was still here. It's staring into the middle distance but seeing nothing. It's about continuing with life but weaving your memory of them into every task. It's smiling - even laughing - but then feeling that sharp prick of guilt that you've done so. It's painful. It's about swollen eyes and bitten nails. It's about watching the red digits flashing 3am. It's longing, anger, futility and tears. It's about seeing their likeness in a stranger and for one desperate second wanting to call their name - until you remember. It's about gazing at their photograph and willing the touch of the paper to feel warm like their skin; for the image to breathe once more. It's about holding your family closer. It's about clutching their clothing as if it were them. It's about standing silently in their bedroom and feeling their spirit about you.

It's the hardest thing I've ever done.