You gave me a set of peridot ear-rings for my birthday when I was in my early teens. It was easy to remember each other's birthdays year after year for yours was just two days before mine. I think I wore the ear-rings only a few times as they were costume jewelry and caused an infection after a while. Still, the thought was there and I remember that I kept them away in my drawer, for they were a nice reminder, a gift from my favourite uncle. I found out then -- at that young age -- that peridot was my birthstone even though I also remember that I wished it had been blue instead of green as blue was my favourite colour. I was hoping that the two could go together somehow. But alas, it was not to be.

There was also the delicate gold chain that you gave me for another birthday, when I was older. It was simple and pretty but I felt that it was a little too fragile to hold my cross so I put it away. Mum wanted to borrow it one time so I let her wear it but unfortunately, it was so delicate that she had difficulty removing it and ended up snapping the chain in two. I was disappointed, of course, as I never even had a chance to wear it. And especially as it was a gift from you. But accidents happen. Such is life.

Then there was the time you visited my husband and I. You and a friend were also travelling to the other states but it was nice that you made the effort to visit us as well, to see me as a married woman in my own home, no longer that shy young girl of long ago. Well, still somewhat shy, yes, but a little more adventurous, more willing to step out there. And you brought with you another gift: an artwork that you did -- for you were always creative that way -- a silhouette of a swordfish jumping out of the ocean beneath the glow of the sun. There are hues of orange, green and yellow. I'm not an art critic so I don't know the language that those in the art world would use. To me, it's simple yet dramatic, so exact, and well-defined. You were always an artist; I always knew that even as a young girl. And even now, I wished I had in my possession more of your art pieces. They would be precious to me, you know.

I never got to say good-bye. I wished I did. Mum told me that whilst visiting you at the hospital, she told you that I was coming to see you and even though she herself didn't see it, a visitor who was also at your bedside said, "He's smiling." And yes, that is something for me to hold on to. It helps me, you see.

When I actually think about it, there was nothing left unfinished between us, nothing to forgive. I did wish that I could have held your hand one last time or kissed your forehead. Or even say to you quietly that I had always felt safe with you. You were always my advocate, even from young. And even after you left home, you came back each Christmas to help us decorate the tree. I always looked forward to that.

We were fellow Leo's. Hey, peridot's your birthstone too, isn't it? Or is it different for men?

I miss you.

Death is Nothing at All

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
that we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without affect,
without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolutely unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you,
for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just around the corner.

All is well.

Henry Scott Holland (1847 - 1918)

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