The sun is high and bright and burning, it glints off the river, like mirror, like stars. It’s almost impossible to take photos, you can’t see, you just point and shoot and hope you frame something good. I’m visiting Libby for the last day of the year and I’ve brought my middle son, PVP (aka Karate Boy). This is his first time at Platypus Rock. I’ve been protective of it, the path, the Rock, the edges where Libby’s ashes once lay like snow.
When I spoke to my boy on the way home about Platypus Rock being a bit of a sacred space for me he said, ‘You didn’t want me to desecrate it.’
I said, ‘Yeah, desecrate. Good word, matey.’
And he said, ‘TV’.
Good old TV.
Some people don’t look at life year to year, my husband for instance. He doesn’t put much emphasis on years rolling by, he isn’t into making a compartment of one year, stowing it, so he can get ready for the next. I’m not going to lie. For all the learning, and knowing, and finding out I have done this year, it has been hard, and it has sucked. I’ve been dragging myself to this day, New Year’s Eve, desperate to turn the final corner of Twenty-Thirteen. Even last year, the year Libby died, was more fun than this one.
Next year has got to be better.
I’ll be three hundred and sixty five days wiser tomorrow, right?
So middle son and me climb down to the three-person rock and I suggest he takes his shoes off and roll up his pants. He paddles about in the river, slipping on stones, holding my hand for support, and I take a big breath as he steps on a drift of white speckles in the mud. His size-two footprint on my sister.
Yeah, she is physically here. There are parts of bone and body, what she was wearing, her teddy bear, in the river, becoming one with the bank, some on their way to Antarctica probably. She is there. But she’s in our hearts more, our memories, in the way we speak of her, in watching her favourite movies and singing her favourite songs.
I play ‘Holiday’ while PVP splashes about. I listen to the words and sing along, all about having a celebration, taking time out, forgetting about the bad times, oh yeah.
Forget about the bad times. Don’t spend time on how soggy days can be. There’s a tension between being mindful and dwelling and I am still to get it right. Be in the moment. Listen. And let your black dog do her thing. Try to chain her to a fence tonight and leave her in 2013, but if she comes along for next year, don’t worry too much, go with it.
‘Mummy, it’s beautiful here.’
There are ducks on the other side of the river, the platypus hasn’t bobbed-up today, but we watch the spot in case. Butterflies, sunshine, cute little toes on cute little feet.
‘It is, darling, it is.’
My middle boy picks up a stick and floats it off. There it goes, out, a slow arc into the river. Off on it’s way to Antarctica.
This is letting go.
thank you for coming with me, PVP. i love you.