The two chairs still sit together on their verandah:
his and hers;
the grandparents I never met.
Following a decade of health problems, all had assumed that he would be the first to go.
But it was my grandmother who quietly surrendered:
the unexpected loss of a son, too much to bear.
Life’s meaning was lost.
My grandfather turned his face to the wall.
In a matter of days he followed her.
“Thy hand, Belinda, darkness shades me,
On thy bosom let me rest,
More I would, but Death invades me;
Death is now a welcome guest.
When I am laid, am laid in earth, May my wrongs create
No trouble, no trouble in thy breast;
Remember me, remember me, but ah! forget my fate.
Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.”
From Dido and Aeneas
Music: Henry Purcell
Libretto: Nahum Tate
Picture of the verandah in our family’s home, which my grandfather built, and where my father lived as a child and young man.