He was playing on the floor at work this week, engrossed in two plastic cars off the stock shelves and a box of shredded paper. Perfect play fodder for a little boy.
Cars and mess.
We were both smiling at him and watching him play.
Distracted, he looked up and reached for a different toy.
He pulled a monkey from a box.
Just a monkey. A musical monkey.
Looked up at us with pleasure.
Had picked up the brother of the monkey Max and I gave Freddie. The only gift, save our love and a gentle death, we ever gave him.
The monkey we donate in handfuls to SCBU each year.
Smiling, he held it out to Max.
Max pulled the string and the music played.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
And then… then… Bene kissed the monkey gently on the lips.
That my friends, is how grief and loss can still find me sobbing gently against a mental shelf, hidden in a corner of a toy shop, three years on.
A monkey. A song. A kiss.
A twist of universal irony to stab a heart all over again.
I’ve joined the team of writers at Glow In The Woods, writing about grief after the loss of a child. If you have need of them, if you ever find yourself aching for the child your arms cannot hold, Glow will bring you comfort.