In my sorting of John’s many miscellaneous boxes of stuff, I generally find they are 99% old newspapers and catalogues and bank statements etc, which can all be thrown out, but usually one or two precious things per box, like an old birthday or Valentine’s card from him, or something poignant or funny in his own handwriting.

Today’s such treasure is a typed piece of writing in a plastic pocket.  Now it’s not signed so I don’t know whether he wrote it, or if it’s a quote.  It’s also not dated but strikes me as very old.  If he did write it, I don’t even know in what context, because it was him who was bereaved early in his life (by the death of his parents during his teens), so why is it about someone else joining him in death?  (Unless maybe he just wrote it when he was walking the Pennine Way and I was his ‘backup’, and I’m just reading the symbolism into it.)

Was it written with me in mind?  I’ll never know.

Anyway – in the current context – it’s just about the most moving and significant thing I’ve found, and near the top of the list of most precious treasures.  It’s like message from him to me, from beyond the grave.

I am with you now,

I am sitting in the lee

Of a large rock, in a high place,

On a warm and windy day.

Can’t you see me waving?

From where I am I can see you clearly –

You are not so far away,

But your eyes are looking at the ground.

I have a flask of tea

To share with you.

It’s inside my coat, next to my heart,

Keeping warm.

I call to you,

I call to you –

But my voice is carried off into the hills

Still, I do not fret…

You are climbing closer all the time,

And soon we will be together again.


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