She  came  to me  again  in my  dreams. An  ethereal  floating  image  of raven-haired  beauty,  silky-smooth  skin  and  unsullied  eyes,  gleaming between  the  tresses of her hair. The  intense emotions my dreams gave me left  me  with  a  tender  heart  even  after  all  these  months  of  her  untimely demise.

Tania had departed this life a year and a half back, stricken down by a cruel illness, burning up her body from within without warning. Three months of endless agony, pleading, and a host of questions unanswered.

We knew  right  then why  she was barren. We had never managed  to conceive  a  child  due  to  this  evil  growth.  I  could  not  comprehend why God had punished us thus. Hadn’t we always been good people? Hadn’t we always loved  each  other  tirelessly? Why  did  this  have  to  happen  to  us?  So many questions  that  will  forever  be  at  the  forefront  of  human  questioning.  We began to doubt the existence of a supreme being.

As if  in a dream, I began to reminisce about one of the last times we had been  together.  I  recall  that  it was a warm early autumn night, and we had just arrived home after a nice long walk along the promenade. We loved the old town just after summer ended , not too many people around, and so tranquil. Our quiet little home had always been our haven. Small cosy rooms, mostly  candle-lit  at  night,  to  create  the warmth  and  togetherness we  both craved. We had made  long passionate  love all through the night, basking  in the afterglow that only a healthy relationship could provide.

It was  the  last  time we  had  been whole  as  husband  and wife. Soon after,  the  tiredness  began  creeping  in.  At  first we  thought  it  was  just  the doldrums of a long winding summer in which we both had worked hard. But the  fatigue  would  last  for  days. Professional  help  both  allayed  our  fears  to what was happening. This was the signal  that the world was about to come crashing around us both.

Endless  tests, agony and  crying  could not, would not, stop the inexorable progress of the demon inside Tania.  Her eyes remained defiant, challenging the very same illness, trying to battle through, but to no avail.

She died peacefully in her sleep on a Sunday morning, a day dear to her. The dawn light was grey and misty, as if wanting to hide this terrible deed from the world. As the doctor stepped outside and offered his condolences, I was thankful for the downpour.

Nobody sees your tears when you’re crying in the rain.

An endless procession of well-wishing  relatives did nothing  to  relieve the heaviness that had settled  like a stone on my heart. I refused to host a wake, not wanting  to sully my house with people who were as strangers  to me.

The days following the funeral were the worst in my life. I would spend days just going to her grave beneath the willow adjacent to the creek just up a nearby path. I would kneel at her headstone, talking. About the new batch of kittens our cat had produced. About  the poultry  that was  thriving. About the stream that was now burgeoning at the banks with the coming of autumn.

Autumn. The  season  that  is  most  paralleled  to  the  slowing  down  of  life, before  the  onset  of winter would make  our  hair  grow white  and make  our souls stronger together.

For Tania  there was no such season as autumn. She was  taken  from me in the brightest period of our years together, during her summer zenith.

A  year  and  a  half  has  now  passed,  and  the  endless  nights  have  only  been relieved by the presence of Roy, my faithful setter, who has intelligently seen to my every need by simply being there. A year and a half of mourning.

Tomorrow is another day. Spring has crept on to us in a rush, and new shoots  are  springing  out  from  every  corner  in  the  fields,  under  the  trees, around Tania’s grave, bringing new hope to the needy and the hurt.

Yes enough time has passed  for me to catch up with  life again. Many times I have thought about ending my suffering, but I knew that this was not what Tania would have wanted. She would have  liked me  to go on and be strong. Yes, to mourn, and to move ahead. Not forget, but move on.

Yes, tomorrow is another day that is a further step in healing…

…and another day in Paradise for Tania.

The End

Copyright 2008 – Christopher Grillo – grillomalta@gmail.com

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