Losing Kath

Love lost, read and found

Kathy’s Cross

Most people are so continually conditioned to be fixated on what’s black or white, that they never think or want to talk about all the colours of the spectrum that live in between, and I wonder if this observation kind of sums up more shades than we know? What happens to the colours of the rainbow after its glow?Life has a start and an end that both seem to take up the most significance, and then perhaps, we try to fit in a few things of note in the in between. Do we do in our lives as we mean?

The devil in the detail is not what we always care to consider, until the time has come upon us when the detail’s too late! We can shape what we are and not leave it to fate! Tomorrow won’t come if you’re too willing to wait!

The colours that paint us are unspoken and all shades of grey, that occasionally though, are lit up clear as the day, but their radiance is rarer than rainbows. As rare as it may seem, stars can somehow momentarily align, and you are able to break through and connect strongly on the tiny shades that matter, the ones that make up true colours. Someone stops and climbs through, and every colour of our day to day living rainbow is shared in their vibrant full colour!

We all know in our hearts and our minds, there is so much more than living and dying in just two colours, it is only the conditioned habit of human nature that make us sign off in just black and white!

The tending of Kath’s grave has been done in all the seasons changing colours, and under each type of sky, and in the constant changing of weather whatever the wide range of temperature, and her grave has stayed in perfect devoted shape because of the full scope of my ever present moods and the emotional colour they paint my soul with.

Kath’s resting place relies totally on me, to keep it looking dignified and worthy of her!

It was early in the fifth spring, stood over where she came to permanently lay, and it was under grey skies and in the cool winds that blew through the overhead canopy of the tall Lombardy Popular trees, the centurion ones that stand patiently guarding the graves in the cemetery, but on that day it felt more like a cosy shade of early summer that kept me company while I tended to my wife’s grave keeping duties. It is just what I have always felt I must do, though most times I kind of forget but find myself turning up there anyway, like any lonely routine you just keep on doing it.

I was tending Kath’s grave, when quite by messaging chance, I got into a texting conversation whilst still in the process.

The conversation we had was prompted I guess by way of a casual comment and reaction to my latest online blog post about Losing Kath, from one of her very closest friends, someone who I rarely see mainly to the distant of residences between us, but we have stayed in regular close contact anyway.

I might not have necessarily chosen to reveal to her, where I was or what I was doing during our messaging chat, had it been anyone else that I was happening to talk to, but as I was stood right by beside Katherine’s grave, it felt kind of wrong to omit it. Instead quite without thinking, i sent her a picture of me stood at the grave, to give her some kind of nostalgic notice of the timely coincidence in the splendour of life’s changing colours, in this moment that she had chosen to contact me.

On seeing my location and photo, and quite out of any shade of the blue, she commented; “Awww Where is this Kevin?”, and on noticing the finer details on show, she added “oh you’re in the graveyard. I love Kathy’s cross!”.

Before I could even reply she added; “It’s beautiful! Is it permanent?

All I ever seem to hear from people about Kath’s grave, is people asking me ’when are you going to put a headstone up?’ So it was really nice to hear someone finally recognising the beauty of her wooden cross marker without demeaning it’s relevance by the implied suggestion that it’s not quite permanent. I told her how nice it was to hear her appreciation of the cross and she added, “I think it’s gorgeous!” And then she asked me if I minded to take a photo of the whole of the cross for her to see.

So the conversation went on in a similar theme and I told her that I had always planned in the back of my mind that I would not erect a headstone for at least five years to let the earth beneath it truly settle, but secretly this was just as much to get people off my back in the constantly asking, and people wanting to influence what took immediate shape over Katherine’s grave.

The truth however is that I have always loved Katherine’s cross just as much myself, and I can’t quite bear the thought of replacing the soft warm organic nature of her resting place and grave marker, with something harsh, cold, hard and made of permanent stone! Something where the years can roll past and still be left mostly alone!

She went on to say “ there is something so… trying to think of the word… understatedly beautiful about it!” and that I should try to replicate that quality if and when I opted to go for a headstone, and that Kathy was so beautiful without having to mess with her natural look. “That’s why the simplicity of her cross suits so much!”

The cemetery is filled with all shades of grey and lots of cold black and white stone, and in the few places those colours are missing, there is nothing but fresh mounded dirty clay, waiting for someone to label the ground is now settled. A gravestone is the final prison that entombed our loved ones and sets us obligation free. Isn’t that all we hope we can be?

Except that I want to embrace everyone but any of those permanent colours!

I can’t count the hundreds of times I have stood over Kath’s grave maintaining the cut edges and soft planted tenderness of the soil she lay’s sleeping under, but only one other time did I connect with a friend while I was doing so, and that was on Katherine’s first birthday after her passing, when my daughters and I were sat having a birthday picnic with their resting mother graveside. It was our first time alone on her birthday without her where she was able to blow out candles and have cake, though we sat only six feet away from where we had permanently left her.

The colours have changed many times and many days, but the harsh stone around me reminds me of only grey!

Kath’s cross is so understated and I know it is just like her and what she really would have wanted, and her nurtured grave is warm, growing and so very living, in a place where everything else has long turned to stone. A gravestone is a lasting legacy that outlives anyone caring or even visiting. It is the final send off to set us free and doesn’t need anyone there who’s even living.

I like the fact that Katherine’s grave depends on me, and that I keep it as a place that’s always living. It fills each visit with so many vibrant colours in a place where things all turn to stone.

Kathy’s cross doesn’t just mark the space where we laid her and date she died, it marks in colours the way that she’s still living!

Happy birthday Katherine 13th June 2017

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