This lunchtime, my sister and I went down to the Thames, near her work, to take some flowers to her first-born child. He died, in an accident, when he was 22. He would have been 40 today.
It was sad, and lovely, to send him flowers on the Thames, to watch them float away downriver, with our love, taking our love and that of his siblings and his wider family with them.
We threw sunflowers down into the water. Son-flowers.
It was nice to be with my sister, to hold her warm hand.
As I walked home, got the tube, the overground, walked around the park to come back to work, I looked at the people I was passing, passing me, and remembered again, as I have done on other memorial days, death days, anniversaries of loss, actuality of loss, that it is never just us, just me. That the chances are, especially in a city like London, I am rubbing shoulders with someone in love, someone newly diagnosed with illness, someone pregnant with hope and life, someone dying, someone living, someone grieving. That all of us carry around our own private griefs and losses, daily, and that – not least because we live in a world that finds commiserating hard work, prefers to celebrate – often those griefs, those losses are held in, and make us feel more alone.
My holding my sister’s hand diminishes her loss not at all. But I hope that my more gentle manner in the tube, on the overground, in the park, my mindfulness as I journeyed back to my desk, might have made a difference to someone else, also having a hard day.
I shall try to remember that tomorrow too.