On turning 38


Bontempi (Photo credit: Jacob Whittaker)

The last thing you need on a post-birthday hangover are the strains of a child’s Bontempi organ bouncing off your eardrums.

However this morning my daughter has rediscovered the cursed instrument which has hitherto been hidden in a cupboard for months.

It has been in the cupboard for reasons other than her inability to play a note. There is a demo tune on it which takes me whirling back to a moment in time that I’m trying hard to forget – specifically, six days after M died.

The woman from The Humanist Society had just arrived to talk to us about M’s funeral service. Did we have any stories we wanted to include? What sort of man was my husband? Their son? Her brother?

My daughter, still high on the constant stream of visitors and piles of placatory sweets from the past six days, was corralled in the living room with my sister and the Bontempi. They spent the half an hour or so making up a daft dance to the demo that she is playing now, on a loop, downstairs. When we had finished with The Humanist we emerged from the kitchen, wrung out and catatonic, and had to sit and watch the dance. Over and over again.

I’m tired of this. Tired of the reminders of what I have lost and the traumas I have had to face. I spend my time finding distractions, but I am tired of waking up without Him, not remembering going to bed.

I’ve just turned thirty-eight. I shouldn’t be this weary.