You were a matron, aged 60; the mother of sons; the estranged wife of one man; a sister; a colleague; a friend. On a Spring night at ten p.m. an undisclosed person shot you; three times in the back and stomach. You were left in the rutted driveway. Your small body in ruins; you felt your life-blood seep away into the earth under you; you were in pain and disbelief at what had happened to you. Did you recognize a potential assailant and make a run for safety only to find yourself fallen, broken, in pain both physical and psychic?
Your estranged husband, found over your splayed body, answered in monosyllabic grunts to the police who came, to the paramedics who tenderly collected your broken body. You were taken to hospital; he was locked up in jail and charged with manslaughter. Your bereft children went through the motions of their lives, afterward, in shock, sadness and dismay. Your siblings, extended family, work colleagues and many friends learned of this tragedy, in increments of information and misinformation and conjecture.
You died in your hospital bed days later, never having recovered consciousness after surgeries. The welcomed death in old age has not been your lot. We all grieve the circumstances of your passage from this life. What is left behind is confusion, sadness with the vagaries of lived life and of the unexpected. What none of us think is possible or probable; the unthinkable violent tearing one from life’s stream.
We grieve for you and for your unexperienced passages of life still to be. We grieve for your children; for the unendurable confusion for them which results from the manner of your death.
Your smile and characteristic wave in greeting is not what we will ever experience again in our lifetimes. The cadence of your speech, the shrug of your shoulder, your energy and enthusiasms have passed into the house of memories in which you now occupy one room. If we put our ear to the door, it seems we can hear your voice, raised in conversation, laughter, quiet complaint. In our imaginations we can conceive your planning a trip, signing documents, singing in your car with its open windows and the stereo blaring, selecting clothes for an outing which make a statement of your adventurousness. We can almost hear you encouraging your children to grab life by the scruff of the neck and live it. We hope they will always hear you, remember you on those years-ago sunset evenings as you all weeded your vegetable garden.
Rest in peace, my friend.