Monday, 20 June 2011

Caffè shakerato with my Aunt

As my publishing date comes nearer and I feel like running to the mountains, my Aunt has come to visit and my days have slowed. We sit under the grapevines in cane chairs enjoying the soft breeze. I think about watering the plants but don’t do it. Coffee materialises in our hands and the dogs snap at flies.

I think, It is summertime again, How did that happen?

When I was small I was afraid of my Aunt because she had a big voice and I never grew used to her. She lived abroad and we were a quiet family. She sang in an important choir, wore kaftans and didn’t care. She had a son with the bluest eyes and he used to cry when any of us plonked through Chopin on the piano.

One visit that I think we have all tried to erase from our hearts an accident happened and this boy’s life was taken away. At the time, we children were given improbable religious explanations, but the reason why this thing had to happen was not to be understood. We were told to go back to school while the adults sat around in shock, then clung to mourning.

Now, so many years on, when we have been drinking my aunt and I talk about how old her son would have been now, how handsome. I feel dizzy to think that my life travelled on, I grew up, I gave my parents grandkids. But I like to bring him into our talk. My Aunt is not sure whether to believe me, but this boy often comes to me, he is a man now, sending her comfort.


  1. I hope you and your openness in talking about your Aunt's son brings comfort to her. So often we don't know how to deal with death and end up closing ourselves off from it when, really, it just wants to be acknowledged. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'll never understand children taken away. It's one of the most horrible tragedies that exist.

  2. I cannot find where this quote comes from, but always remember was as if a young person had died. How true that feeling stands alone. I'm sorry for your loss too.

  3. Cat,
    That is just heartbreaking and all the worse because the grown ups just didn't know how to deal with such a thing.

    Not that I judge them on that...what can you say, how can you say when your own grief is so strong?

    She is fortunate to have you to reminisce with, to bring him into your talk must give her some solace and peace.

  4. The son of a dear friend was killed on his way home one night. It's been twenty years, but I still remember how she tried to pull him out of his coffin, how she cried at work every day for too many months to count. The death of a child is too cruel to ever truly accept, but I hope my friend has found some peace after all this time. I hope your aunt has, too.

  5. Wow, moving and intriguing. Thanks for sharing Catherine.

  6. Thanks Deb, terrible quote, makes everything go quiet.
    Thanks Lyra and thank you Averil. I think this is every mother's fear in the night.
    Well, much drinking has been done this week - wine, beer and whisky!
    Thanks Nuala for stopping by.

    best cat