2 years ago
She was sitting on a bench in the local park wondering what she was ever going to say to her son Robert.
She raised her head to see a middle-aged woman looking down at her.
"Christine Wadey!" she cried. "It is you, I thought it was you. You’ve hardly changed since secondary school." She sat down next to her.
"I’m sorry, do I know you?" Christine asked, frowning deeply. She wanted to be alone with her grief.
"Samantha Turvey that was," she said. "We were in the same class together."
"Oh, yes." Christine remembered the name and tried to make a friendly response, but her mouth refused to smile.
"Gosh, it’s good to see you again. So how’s life treating you?" Samantha asked.
"Fine." She was lying, but it seemed easier to give a monosyllable answer than to try to put into words that life had taken away her only grandson. No, life for her and her son, Robert, definitely wasn’t fine at present. It was a real bitch, and it had bitten her family. Hard.
"Life’s good for me too," went on Samantha. "Grandchild number three is due end of this month."
Christine’s stomach churned and all her muscles tensed. "Oh." she managed. She chewed her bottom lip and looked down at the pathway. She didn’t want to know about grandchild number three when her one and only had just been so cruelly taken.
Samantha was talking and Christine could hear the love in her voice. No doubt Samantha’s eyes would be sparkling with happiness. Hers however, were sparkling with the water from her tears.
"Are you a Granny yet?" Samantha nudged at Christine’s arm and she jerked up. Her angry expression immediately wiped the smile off Samantha’s face. She hadn’t meant to hurt her feelings so she lifted her eyebrows, swallowed and said, "Nana. My grandson, Philip, used to call me Nana."
"Doesn’t he call you that anymore?"
Christine shook her head. "He was killed. It was an accident but I miss him so very much. I’d give anything just to hear him call me Nana one more time."
"I’m so, so sorry," whispered Samantha. "I don’t really know what to say."
"That’s exactly how I feel about my son," Christine said. "Robert lost his wife to cancer last year and now he’s lost his little boy too. When he was young and was hurting I knew exactly how to comfort him, but now I can’t seem to find the right words."
"Perhaps it’s because you are hurting too much yourself. And maybe because you didn’t have a proper chance to say goodbye." Samantha laid a hand on Christine’s arm. Christine looked back at her and saw the concern in her eyes. She nodded.
Samantha glanced at her watch and slowly removed her hand from Christine’s arm. Then she opened her bag and wrote something on a scrap of paper. "Here, this is my email. Keep in touch, won’t you?"
Christine took the slip. "I will," she promised.
Samantha stood up. "I have to go now, Christine. Try to stay positive about all this. Don’t dwell on... well don’t dwell on things too much. Try and think of the happy times."
So that’s what Christine did. She sat on the bench, smiling at the happy memories of bringing Philip to the park; pushing him on the swing.... Large drops of rain began to fall.
The park exit was past the children’s area. The rain was really coming down by the time Christine reached the playground. She thought there was no one about but then she saw a small figure on one of the swings. She went closer. The child looked so like Philip her heart pounded.
"Push me, Nana."
"Philip!" Christine burst into tears.
Her grandson jumped off the swing, ran over and hugged her. "It’s all right, Nana." And, deep down, for the very first time since that tragedy, she knew that it was.
"I have to go now, Mummy’s calling me. Bye bye, Nana."
"Goodbye, my darling."
Later that evening, when she got back to her son Robert’s house, Christine was able to take him in her arms and hold him close. “It’s going to be alright,” she was finally able to promise him.
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