I watched the others slowly fade away. Then my attention was drawn back to the graveside. I was now alone.

The headstone was immaculate, in stark contrast to the grave which was not. But, it would soon look cleaner, neater, I was sure of that.

I mourned the loss of my child. I’d spend hours just looking. The 6ft of soil was all but a barrier to me, as I was sure it was to her, too. Though, I so wished she was there; right beside me.

When I first saw the casket, it reminded me of the conversation I’d had with her.

‘When I die,’ she had said, ‘I want the coffin to be as dark as the soil in which it will lie. Inside it must be as light and as soft as your complexion.’

I’d been angry with her at first.

‘Never, ever speak that way.’ The intensity in her eyes had frightened me.

Soon, though, we were laughing together at my serious tone. We agreed that she would never speak of it again.

Her face was obscured by the darkness swathed around her. But I will always be able to see it. It wouldn’t fade as easily as the other’s had.

I wanted to reach out to her; to tell her that everything was okay. That we would be together again very soon. You see, I knew something that she didn’t. That one thing she never could see. It was ironic really. The one person who could always see, couldn’t that day.

It was time for me to leave. I could feel the tears building up but they would not come. I hid my face, anyway. I had so much to say but no words would come either.

As I turned away, I tried to protect myself from the sense of loss, and the chill that settled in my bones.

My only solace was the knowledge that she would be here with me again, underneath the dirt.

I would make sure of that.

Copyright Tina Collins 2017