Anniversary Poems - Poems For Anniversary
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Moving On - Poem by NAYYAR SHABBIR AHMAD
After considerable deliberation
I e/mailed my estranged husband
and invited him round - anytime that was
convenient to him, to dinner.
We hadn't met in over a year
and, I was uncertain as to whether
or not, he'd answer.
We had separated in hostility - I'll admit
But, when I come to think of it- neither of
us were able to cope with what life suddenly
threw our way, at that particular time
Prior to that, our existence had been chugging along
on an even keel
I saw no cloud whatsoever that would mar our
Then life dealt us the most crushing blow of
But, let me start at the beginning
It was a Saturday morning. I was out shopping
with my three year old daughter
Tim had agreed to pick us up at ‘Deal's'
vast car park at twelve o'clock.
Nearer the time, I glanced at my watch,
then looked for my little girl.
Anna...? Anna...? I spotted her behind the
She was busy peering at jars of lollypop
Oh, there you are...
She gave me a startled look
Come darling...Mummy's finished
She came rather reluctantly. There was
so much for her to see and explore in
that vast Superstore
Let's go and see if Daddy's waiting outside
She took one last look at some trinkets
Then tore her eyes away and nodded,
timidly. Okay, she said
I got behind my jam-packed trolley
She positioned herself beside me
as she always did
Good girl, I appreciated and off we
trundled out of that humid cavern and
into the fresh air
As if on cue Tim rounded the corner
and, tooted a cautionary blast from his
car horn to alert a slow-moving shopper
Before I knew what was happening, Anna
had left my side and darted off to greet him
Wait! I yelped, when I realised.
But, she was already in the path of
a reversing car.
Driver watch-out! I hollered
abandoning the trolley and charging
That unpardonable Driver finally came to a
What can I say...? I was forced to
witness in paralyzed horror as my
blood splattered baby, lay dying before
I unfastened my legs and ran to her
I cradled her in my arms
Somebody help! Please help!
Tim -where are you?
Here, he gulped, breathing hard - Here!
He crouched down beside his daughter
Tim! I called blindly
Stay calm, he uttered in a panic
The immediate aftermath is a blur. I'm sorry -
but it is.
Pandemonium. Me paralysed and beside myself
Accursed culprit Driver very shocked and
Tim, incoherent with grief on cell phone when
summoning the ambulance
Anna's doll lying face down in the drain
Both of us crouching helplessly at our
baby's side babbling endearments to her
as we waited anxiously for the Ambulance
Crowds in semi-circle
More crowds gathering
Expressions of remorse and regret in hushed
by everyone to no one in particular and to each
Repetition of explanations when ambulance
That fiendish Driver reruns his lament to any
This Lady's little girl shot behind my car
Right out of my line of vision - I didn't see her
Tragic...! all agreed
Meanwhile, the paramedics tried and tried to
revive her - but, my baby died in my arms
Tim and I were absolutely devastated
Is this a horrible dream? he asked of me
whilst the spectators looked on in sympathy
Not really taking in the instructions of the
we accompanied them in mute silence
as they rushed Annas body to the hospital
We hoped against hope for a miracle.
By this time I was inconsolable
Poor Tim kept watch over his daughter
Admist the bedlam and confusion of Emergency
the Doctor only confirmed what we already knew.
I'm very sorry.
Can't you...? I tried.
I'm sorry, he repeated, shaking his head
Surely....Tim began - and couldn't carry on.
It's too late, sympathised the Doctor
His pager buzzed. He took it out of
his breast pocket. Please, excuse me...
he said. Then, wandered off.
A thoughtful Nurse steered us into a private cubicle
where we clutched and hugged and kissed our little girl
one last time
Later, Tim told me that the Nurse and he had to coax me to
give Anna up
I remember that vaguely
But, I'll always be eternally grateful that
I was given a chance to hold my sweet, sweet baby
one last time in my arms
And bid her a proper ‘goodbye.'
It meant so very much to me
Once she had gone
Tim and I stared at each other
and, drank in the others misery,
shock, and disbelief
The light of our lives has been extinguished
Tim uttered, brokenly
I nodded, not trusting myself to speak
All we wanted at the time
was to fall into each others arms
and, comfort one another
Just then, a distraction caused me to look over
and spot my distressed and distraught In- Laws
vending their way towards us
Your Parents are here! I gulped, trying to quell my
Where? he croaked, attempting to suppress his
This way. I grabbed hold of his arm. Come on. We joined
Their eyes were puffy and red rimmed - just as ours
Son, we came as soon as you called, Dad uttered.
We're so very sorry, rushed Mother
We fell into each others arms and commiserated
I can't recall anything much of what was said
except that, Tim kept bemoaning the fact that he
had blown his car horn, and, attracted his little
Darlings attention. If I hadn't done that - my
unthinking baby would still be with us
Meanwhile, I kept insisting
I should have been holding her hand in mine
My Mother-in-law being a deeply religious person
entertained a theory of her own
It was cast in stone: she pontificated and castigated
both son and daughter-in-law:
Neither of you should blame yourselves
It was God's will. If she was meant to live
no power on earth would have been able to
Tim and I strongly disagreed
But, we were far too exhausted to argue
Instead, we appeared to be listening to her
while, most of the time, shut down and completely
consumed by our own desolation
the enormity of which was - only now beginning to hit us
in ever increasing bursts
Eventually, my Father-in-law cut her short
by saying: Mother-these two are too broken
to hear your lectures-for God's sake! There's a time
and place for everything!
Yes. I'm sorry! apologised Mother claming up.
Father turned to us. Why not go home and rest?
We'll take care of anything that needs to get done, here.
Go - There's nothing more you can do.
Yes-go., Mother, agreed hastily We'll talk further,
in the morning
My tortured husband exchanged a look of relief
It had been a long - confusing... and, very crowded
Yes-okay, he muttered
We kissed, Mother, dutifully
Bade Dad, `goodbye'
And beat a hasty retreat
We drove home in silence
our bodies racked with anguish
our souls lost and bereft
We felt badly cheated
and life, itself
By the time we got home, flowers, cards and toys
were already beginning to grace our doorstep
We overstepped them all and entered
It's unusual quietness hit me like a body
Thank God, the lull was soon shattered
by the persistent ring of the phone
Both, Tim and I ignored it
We were thoroughly drained
and, utterly, utterly exhausted
We didn't want to talk to anyone
Anna's toys were everywhere
on the ground, on the stairs
Tim, unconsciously stepped on her
rubber duck. It squeaked. We looked
sorrowfully at each other
then, burst into uncontrollable sobs and tears
Somehow we made it up the stairs
sank onto the bed
and clung to each other
for - perhaps - an hour
Then, Tim suddenly said
Before I unplug the phone - speak to your Parents
as my thoughts turned to them
Both were now elderly and frail
neither of them kept very well
And, for them to have to live to hear me tell them....
Tim! I delivered shrilly, I can't break their hearts. You tell
Calm down, darling - calm down, said he, holding me, tight
They'll want to hear it from you
No, I cried, no.
Take a deep breath...I'm dialing the number for you - I'll hold
What do I say?
Just tell them straight...
It's ringing, I gulped. I hope, I don't break down
You won't! You won't! assured my husband
I concentrated so hard on not breaking down or becoming
That, I'm afraid, I pelted out the bare facts rather too routinely
My poor parents
But, with that burden out of the way -
we cried and cried through the night amid fitful
bouts of sleep
The fast-paced events of the day hadn't left
either of us time to think
We had moved like zombies
and, done whatever was required of
us - mechanically
But, now that we were alone, and, able to let
our guard down we ran through the last family
movie of The three of us, together
as many times as we wished
And, gave full vent to our grief and anguish
My sympathetic sister came over the next morn
and, took over
She answered the constantly ringing phone
She ushered in the neighbours
She saw them off
She answered the door
She saw to the cooking
while we stayed cloistered upstairs
completely switched off from everyone
and, just, comforted each other
at a round table conference with Tim's parents
the funeral was set for Saturday
Tim and I hadn't discussed anything
I assumed whatever decisions were to
be made would be made together
So, imagine my terrible shock and distress
when my husband announced: The funeral
service for Anna must take place at All Saint's
What? I spat, almost spilling my coffee cup
Why ever not?
What do you mean-why ever not..? I objected
I cut him short. Its associated with two of the
most joyous days of my life
I know, he nodded calmly. We got married
Anna was baptised there, too, I reminded quietly.
Or, have you forgotten?
I haven't forgotten anything, he derided. How
could I forget...? But, my connection with
All Saints began during my Grandfather's time.
Every significant event in my life has been
recorded there. I want Anna to be buried
beside Granddad. He'll make sure, she stays
safe and sound.
I was speechless
I looked at my in-Laws for support
Son, ventured Mother. You really must give
this decision of yours another thought
Yes-ofcourse! supported Father. Besides, you
must take Anne's opinions into account.
Anne will come round to my way of thinking!
huffed Tim with confidence, as he stalked
out of the room.
Because, she's so very in love with you,
muttered Father, rounding on me. Why,
on earth do you give in so easily to whatever
Why don't you - for once in your life, put up
more of a fight with him?
Saturday is going to be the most stressful day of
your life - if you object to the venue-insist on getting
it changed - why must you suffer in silence?
Aren't I right, Mother?
Yes, change it. Why pile on more stress in your
life? You have enough on your plate, as it is.
Mum-Dad, thanks.....I claimed. I'll get by. I'll be alright.
I'll try to rein in my emotions, somehow, but...
...but, you're son's been terribly, terribly unhappy -
I ignored Dad's question, and continued...and if
he derives comfort from his links to this particular
Church- I guess, I'll just have to give in to him.
Yet, again! grimaced Father.
That's very wonderful of you, darling, commented
Mother. But, you must consider...She suddenly fell
Tim had walked in with a bouquet of flowers
I wonder, who they're from? he uttered, handing
them over to me.
There's a note's hidden inside, said I, fishing
it out, as everyone else looked on curiously.
Lady, down the road, I announced, pointing
in the general direction.
Very nice of her, acknowledged Tim sliding
into the chair he had recently vacated.
Could I have another cup of tea? he asked,
proffering his cup to me
Sure, darling, I uttered as I took it
Meanwhile, Mum picked up a list
Son, are you sure you've got these
Instead of answering, he blurted
It's just not fair
What isn't? asked Mum
We should have enjoyed our daughter growing up...
...She should have been the one to bury us, insisted
Tim - Not the other way around
Yes, Son. But....
Sure, I know, snapped he. Don't challenge God's wishes!
Precisely, what I was going to say
Huh! He dismissed
In the words of the Anglican Priest - George Herbert....
I could do without sermons, right this minute! raged Tim,
rising and leaving.
What did I say? questioned his Mum of us. Tell me what
Just, dropp it, Mum! I requested, hoping to close the subject
But, Father wanted to provoke her
Whatever it was you were going to say, it would
have been - tacky or tactless!
Excuse me! she cried, in fury. Whatever you to say, is
perfect. But, when I speak, its considered, tacky or
tactless, she groused as she stamped out of the room.
I cleared the table in near tears. Instead of the family
coming together at such a time, it was falling
My own Parents arrived the day before the funeral
Jane went and picked them up from the station
They were the complete opposite of Tim's parents
Very strait-laced, reserved and quiet
Whatever their own grief
they were here to provide solace and comfort
And, Tim and I really appreciated it
They, truly were the epitome of compassion and relief
And, so, the dreaded day dawned
I went through the motions as though I
were living a dream, or, should I say, nightmare?
Tim, pale and quiet' stood beside me
at all times, and looked as though he
were sleep walking too
I couldn't help noticing, though
what a simply bright and sunny day it was
London, often had cloudy and sultry skies
It had rained on our wedding day
But, now, as I stepped out of the house
I could have done without the glare of
Bleak is how I felt
And, bleak, the day - should rightly have
Instead, the flowers were blooming
I glanced at the children across the street
They were laughing and joking
and, playing hop-scotch
Whereas, they should, at least have been subdued
We got into my Father-in-laws car
Mum sat crying, uncontrollably, beside him
But, I sat dry eyed, behind
I had done with tears for the time being
Tim sat immobile beside me
clutching hold of my hand
I squeezed his tenderly. At least, I had him
my one and only consolation
My parents sat at the back
grief-striken but dry eyed too
They were probably amazed and embarrassed
by my Mother-in-law's unsuppressed display
The vehicle fell into line behind the hearse
and, we drove through the busy streets of
London to my little girl's final destination
(That thought was a real gut wrenching
Was I unbound by the cars
or, the melee of activity around me?
is what I was
Life has to go on
Fight it as much as one might
Unfortunately - there is no other choice
As I looked around me
All I can say is
humanity seemed extraordinarily happy
As though it were completely immune from death or
Soon, the beautiful little medieval Church
complete with its cold grey stone
hidden neath a mass of climbing roses
came into view
How we drove up the gravel drive
I'll never know
But, bare snippets of that day will stay with
The same Deacon, the same Priest from
happier days were on hand, to usher us in
The Bier had already been placed close to the alter
We waited for our guests to take their
Candles were lit amongst an overwhelming
number of flowers
Then, a requiem mass was said
Part of the Gospel read
Did I hear Psalm 23...? :
I will fear no evil.
For thou art with me. Thy rod and thy
staff, they comfort me....
The sprinkling of holy water
I nearly passed out at the sight of the newly
Steady on! directed Tim gripping me firmly by
Jane and Mother were on hand to help prop me up
This time, the sermon was brief - thank God
I kept my eyes averted from the gaping grave,
All I remember was the Priest reading:
Grant this mercy, O Lord, we beseech Thee,
to Thy servant departed...
Family and friends gathered in our house that
evening for what I thought was going to be a
Instead, my Father-in-law, who tends to be
full of sentiment insisted on giving a lengthy
speech about Annas all too short life
Tim objected. Dad-no!
But, his Dad was determined. Don't worry, Son
We're amongst friends. They're genuinely
interested in what I have to say about my
little Grand daughter
Poor Tim - He slunk away to the far end of the
My parents looked none too happy, either
but, sat aside, politely - to suffer Dad, in silence
I too, determined not to listen
withdrew into the sanctuary of the kitchen
When it came to thinking of God - I thought little.
But, now I chided him.
God, why are you doing this to us? Haven't we
I won't hear this, I swore
I'm determined not to hear any of it
My sister followed me and insisted on helping
out, without saying, listening to my Father-in-law
was much too distressing for her, too.
We busied ourselves unpacking extra glasses
Chilling wine - crushing ice
And, arranging tidbits to nibble at on plates
Jane and I returned to the sitting room bearing
trays of wine
And, just in time to hear Dad say: She was a
very bright little girl- as all of you know. She
could recite the whole of Twinkle,
twinkle, little star - unaided, mind you - long
before she was two years old..
Everyone murmured appreciation
Look! Look! whispered someone....It's so
heart-breaking. Poor Tim. He's crying
Along with the others I looked. There was
Tim being comforted by his ex- girlfriend
(my rival, who - i knew for a fact - still
had designs on him!)
I gave Jane a despairing look and dived
right back into the recesses of the kitchen
Who was I to him? I griped
Couldn't he have blubbered all over me
Instead of making a spectacle of himself
with that woman - of all women? !
And, did he have to make my grief - even
more complete? !
Jane re-entered to say: Some of your friends
are ready to leave
Okay-thanks! I said. Dried away my tears of rage
and followed her out with false bravado
I think, I put on a reasonable show after that
Well.... at least, until we saw everyone off
Then my plastered smile disappeared
and my face crumbled in an instant
My mind was free to unleash thoughts of
Jane had spent a week with us
But, now, she was leaving
Over breakfast, Tim and I thanked her
profusely for all her help and support
Not at all, she beamed
Without you running things - nothing would
have gone so smoothly, swore Tim.
Thanks, darling, I laughed, as I
agreed with him.
Is there anything else I could do for
you, two? insisted Jane. I've finished
Nothing, said Tim
Nothing-thanks reiterated I.
Perhaps, she hesitated, I could pack away
Annas things -
What? spared Tim. His face growing dark in
I-err- mean, .continued Jane, nervously.
You'll do no such thing! thundered he, rising
from the table.
I-didn't mean to hurt you-or-or
She isn't even cold in her grave, yet -
I didn't mean, my sister tried to repeat
- and, you want to get rid of every last
semblance of her?
I'm sure, she didn't mean that, dear. (But,
I was ignored.)
Ofcourse not! assured Jane. I thought...
You, thought you'd tell us what
was best for us!
Jane was shaking her head and in
near tears. No, I...
Tim! Please, darling, I pleaded as I rose to
comfort her. I'll put away her things, I whispered
as I embraced her.
I only offered, she explained, turning to Tim,
because I know how painful it'll be later - for you
and my sister.
He glared at her. When he spoke, his voice was
full of emotion. You'll never, ever, know, how
painful it is-and, always will be
The force of that made me flinch
I didn't mean to upset you - she said quietly.
I'm sorry. She left for her room.
When she was out of earshot I
couldn't resist, Tim, how could you?
He gave me a wounded look. I suppose
you've never known frustration or unhappiness
in your entire life?
I almost fell back on my chair at that blow.
Don't be cruel to me Tim. You know, I can't take any
more, right now!
Sorry, he uttered, suddenly embracing me.
After a pause, I managed. We've both been
shot through, darling. Please, don't take It out
on her. What can she do?
He nodded, sighed heavily
rubbed the tears out of his eyes
and drifted away
How quickly mirth turns to sorrow
From that day on, Tim virtually stopped speaking
If he spoke at all it was a rare occassion. And, even
then his response was usually a mono syllabic:
Please or no.
Otherwise, If I announced: Dinner's ready. He'd
nod, leave what he was doing and follow me into
the kitchen where we'd partake in a silent meal
Come to think of it, in those very grim and dark
days I didn't have much to say to him - or, to any
body else, either
So, I mustn't be unfair to him. I was an equal culprit
When Tim suddenly took himself off - without consulting
me - to sleep in the Guest room
it didn't matter much
We had grown so far apart
Gradually, if we met at all, it was purely by chance
in - somewhere like, the kitchen, the staircase,
the sitting room, the hall, garage or driveway
Otherwise it was either when our friends or my
No one saw the turmoil our lives were confronting.
No one cottoned on to the fact that I - or, probably
both of us were battling our way through prolonged
bouts of searing depression (both in gaping view of
one another. But both, too woefully inadequate, and
too incapable of reaching out to the other.)
True, we were very careful to give the impression
that - despite, everything - life had to go on.
It wasn't difficult for Tim to deceive his Mum and
Dad. They were our most frequent visitors
As soon as Tim heard their car on the drive
he'd clatter down the steps and greet them,
outdoors, with: Hullo! Hullo!
His Mum would disembark and kiss him: Hullo, son.
Nice of you to come all this way.
The traffic was horrendous Father invariably said....
Anyway, you look well.
So, do you two-Tim would return. Let's go indoors.
On her way, downstairs, Tim would say with confidence.
Within minutes, I'd go and join them
Hullo, Mother. Hullo, Father. Smiles allover.
Hullo. Hullo, dear. Kisses dispensed with.
Preliminaries over. Drinks and snacks offered.
we'd pass the time in convivial mode
When friends came over, I'd greet them amiably:
Justin-Susan, come in-come in.
We were just passing, Susan would begin.
And, we thought we'd dropp in, on the off-
chance, Justin would end.
You're very welcome, I'd say, leading
them into the sitting room.
On his PC.
Then, perhaps.......Susan would hesitate..
I'll just call him, I'd say. Please excuse me,
I'd excuse, leaving the room, and calling up - Tim!
Come downstairs, darling. We have guests.
Coming, he'd sally pleasantly.
I'd return to our guests and confirm. He's coming.
Everyone left our house satisfied that although
Anna had left us, we still had each other
How very nice!
However, as soon as our guests were out of sight
the temperature changed. Tim and I went our separate
way - him, to his room - and me, to mine.
The date to commemorate Anna's death
anniversary was nearing
I waited on our driveway to collar Tim, as soon
as he came home from work. There was so much
to discuss with him.
The obligatory Thanksgiving ceremony. Invitations
But, before all that - there was another delicate
matter to confront
(Pack away Anna's things and store them away
in the attic.)
I dreaded Tim throwing a fit. I didn't like it either.
But, somebody had to do it. And, the longer we
put it off...
I didn't see Tim's car arrive till it was almost
Anything wrong? asked a worried looking husband
No, nothing! I assured. I just wanted to have a few
words with you before you went upstairs.
See you in the sitting room.
I went indoors and began to deliberate as I waited
What was I going to say?
Take a deep breath
and plunge right into it - I decided
Because there is absolutely no alternative
Why are you looking so worried? quizzed
Tim as soon as he came into the sitting room
Because, you're not going to like what I'm going
But, you're going to say it, anyway? said he, lightly, as
he went and sat down in his comfy chair.
So, fire away, he invited. Don't mind me?
I hesitated. In a few weeks time, it'll be Annas
Do you have to remind me? he shot, with
I ploughed on. I want to pack away her things.
No! ! he interrupted, violently, and got to his feet.
We'll never move on- I tried to convince-as long as -
Move on to what? he questioned with venom.
What's the use? You're like a hollow piece of wood!
O-thank you, very much!
There's no way, whatever I can relate to you
Darling, I pleaded gently. I, so much want us to -
But, he rejected me completely
And, don't you dare blame Anna's `things', lying around,
for your own shortcomings!
I had no intentions of doing that, I defended. I was
I visit her room every night, he explained, quietly.
I don't want you to move a thing...
I almost feel her presence there, he said sadly. She
gives me such peace...such peace-Believe me, she
How come, you never go to her room?
I don't need to go to her room.
She's constantly inside my entire being.
I could have kicked myself for having said that.
Tim gave me a striken look. He was silent
a moment. Then, he struggled to say: She's
constantly within me, too.
He left the room. I looked after him.
Then realised - we hadn't resolved anything
I hurried after him. Tim - I haven't finished.
He was already halfway up the stairs. He
turned and gave me an irritated look.
I want to discuss Anna's death anniversary.
Why? His back was up. We're not marking the
Please, I cajoled. Just a small commemoration?
There's no need, he insisted.
Just the two of us -
- and our parents?
At her graveside?
I hate such occasions, he said, refusing.
Please? He shook his head, again. It'll be
very brief? My parents are coming here especially to -
He sighed. Do whatever you like.
But, count me out. He turned to resume his
flight up the steps. Then, stopped, and turned.
In fact, I find this whole setup stifling.
This whole setup, he repeated, violently,
flinging his arms about- I find it absolutely
It was obvious what he meant
but, I wanted it spelled out
You mean, you find me stifling?
Yes! He said, without hesitation.
Then, say that!
I'm going upstairs to pack. And, I'm leaving
this house, tonight!
I nodded sadly. I had been expecting it.
He seemed intrigued. You're not even going to try
to stop me?
I shook my head. What good would that do?
You'd only have started telling me again about
how hollow and wooden I've become-
- things we both know to be true. Whats the point of
harping on it...? Nothings going to change, overnight!
No, nothing, he agreed
And, by the way, I could say similar derogatory
things about you.
That I've become hollow and wooden?
Then, say it? he goaded, coming down the steps, and
gearing for a fight. Why, don't you?
Because, I prefer discussion and compromise-
Huh! Discussion and compromise - he derided.
Laugh, if you like - But, that's what I
W\e eyed each other seriously. I told you, unless
you changed your attitude...Unless you were
prepared to, `think' about your immediate
past- there would be no salvation for you....
And, no healing, either!
I nodded sadly as I squared up to him and,
repeated: I told you, my memories are still far
too raw to `think anything through'
I'm not as, ‘ all together', as you are-I'm sorry.
I'm not, ‘all together', either, he admitted. But,
at least, I try.
I know, I don't try hard enough, I said, feeling
sorry for myself.
By now he was close enough to touch me.
The question is, would he?
I waited, in hope
He hesitated, Oh! Whats the use? he uttered,
shrugging wearily - as, he began to retrace
I wanted him to stay. But - he didn't stop - I
request you not to leave. At least, stay, until the
Commemoration takes place. You needn't
attend it, I added with haste... Do what you
like, after that...? Tim...? Tim....?
He finally turned to face me at the head of the
stairs. Please! he said, patiently but firmly
I'll commemorate my daughter's brief life,
in my own way. Not with a graveside comm-
emoration Not with anybody's commiserations
Just quietly. In my own way. Is that clear?
You can't do this to your parents-or, mine?
Call me a coward! he suddenly harangued.
Go, tell them, when they ask.....Your Son is
a coward.. Because, that's exactly what I am.
No, you're not!
An unmitigated coward! he insisted. Not, only am I going
to let my Parents down, I'm going to let my wife and her
Parents down, too!
So saying, he was gone.
I had got into the habit of staring into space for hours
chasing a litany of erstwhile
So, whenever the phone rang
It took me an age to resurface
and rejoin civilization
T'was on just such a day that I answered
an incessant ring
Darling - said Mother. I seem to have dragged you away
from something Important
No - I was just-err-reading,
I blinked. Actually, I was flicking through a
I see., she read. And, how are you?
How could I tell her, I hadn't seen him in a while?
He's fine, too, I cruised. I've just sent him out on an
Give him our fondest regards
I will - And, how are you and Father?
I'm fine. But, Father.. she hesitated
Yes? I worried
...Remember - Father and I were meant to condole with you
two, on Sunday?
Father strained his back, last night.
Oh, no! I sympathized.
He can't do very much for himself
Tch! Poor darling...
Obviously, I can't leave him, and -
No-no. Ofcourse not.
He's totally dependant on me.
Mother, you look after Father. Don't worry about
Tim and me. We're both determined, people - and
we're totally, totally unsinkable
Bless you, darling...
Anyway, the upshot of that conversation was
further proof that
Since life as I knew it had prematurely ended
I could expect no more cheer from it - ever!
And, in the end, there was no Service of
Just a simple visit to Anna's graveside
with my In-Laws
T hat was all I could manage without Tim
My Father-in-law was furious with him:
He's always been like this -
Now, now, Herbert...
Don't think of defending him, her husband
interrupted. He's selfish - He only
thinks of himself. Not his wife. Not his parents.
No, Father, actually - I tried to defend...
There's no need for you to say anything,
either! First, his Mother spoilt him -
I didn't! She defended, stoutly. But, just
remember, he's also been through a
hell of a lot.
Let's make some concessions towards
him.- for a change... Not just - recriminations!
Hmm, conceded Dad, thoughtfully.
Come on - we're going to see him right now.
Suits me, accepted Dad, unenthusiastically
Mother kissed me. Goodbye, Darling
Thanks for everything, Mum
Bye dear - said Dad, giving me a peck
on my cheek. Take care.
You too, Dad - I uttered. fondly. Bye.
Once they had gone I returned to my
After much persuasion I had consented
to visit my parents
I had wanted to visit them ages ago
But, thus far, certain memories -
memories I had absolutely no control
had prevented me
Tim used to love going there with me
And, after Anna birth - to my Parents
delight - we drove over regularly
Unfortunately, that came to an abrupt end
And, my elderly Parents had to come up to
London to commiserate with us.
We hadn't met in a long while and I really missed
Besides, , I considered
If I don't reign in my thoughts - my feelings -
and my emotions, now
tackling them at a later date would be
next to impossible
So, I got out my suitcase with determination
placed it on the bed, and started packing
While doing so I couldn't help opening my
dressing table drawer
removing a diamond encrusted trinket
that was safely ensconced in a corner
Lifting its lid
picking up the precious treasure within
removing its packaging
and feasting my eyes on tt's contents
I gently lifted up the small triangular
that held my eyes so mesmerized
And, inspected its smooth and shiny
surface-and, its brownish irradiating rays
From the corner of my eye I could see
myself taking a video of my baby, holding
Tim's hand and taking faltering
steps towards me
All of us were laughing
Look, at me, baby, I called.
Oopps! sang Tim
Not so close, baby - I said, hastily putting
away my video
Mama, she repeated stretching out her hand, to
present me with the shell
How beautiful, darling, I appreciated, as I studied
She gurgled with delight
She spotted it in the sand, beamed Tim
I picked her up and kissed her
The picture faded
It took me a moment to reflect that
my reaction hadn't been one of near hysteria
I hoped, I was beginning to accept life as it
And, not, what I fervently wanted it to be
I wanted everyone - especially my Parents
to see that I was coming to terms with my loss
I had to be positive and cheerful in their
presence - no matter what happened
I kissed the shell - rewrapped it carefully,
returned it to its box and put the box back
exactly where it had been before....
nestled beneath my slips and nighties
I drove down the A30
And, the out of the way Shopping Centre
Into a clear stretch of road
Green fields as far as the eye could see
Clumps of trees
Turn right at the traffic island
And, here we are -
In the realm of Celtic culture
Wide rolling hills
An endless expanse of clear blue sea
And, finally - my destination
I wasn't born here
But, here's where I grew up
My parents adopted us - Jane and me -
rather late in life - When in their fifties
We love them dearly, ofcourse
They're the most wonderful human beings
I'll ever know
I stopped my car on the ridge, got out
and, admired my surrounds
There! I pointed before me, is, Mounts Bay
And, there - in the distance -
on a hill jutting out of the sea
is St. Michael's Mount
The panoramic views
Breathtaking - aren't they?
St. Michael's Church is where Tim and I first
My parents worked in the capacity of warders
and, I happened to be home on holiday
I smiled as I recalled our first meeting:
One morning, I unbolted the Chapel door
in answer to a persistent knock on the knocker
I'm sorry to disturb you - but, isn't this place
supposed to be open? asked an impatient
I looked about me for help.. I don't know... Is it?
Look here! he said, indicating a sign
board. It says here clearly - 10am to 5pm...
Yes, I see.
He displayed his watch. Its now 10.30
Then, I guess, I said, stepping aside,
you had better come in
Thank you, he smiled, as he entered
Not only did I end up showing him the
three famous alabaster panels behind the
Alter, but, I gave him a Personal tour of the entire place
He kept me talking for roughly three hours
Or did I keep him talking?
I honestly can't remember...
Anyway, he rang me up the next day
I checked my wristwatch - Is that the time....?
Before I get carried away - I'll continue some
I returned to my car, started it up
and hurried on, home.
As I said, I was really looking forward to meeting
Ever since Anna's death I had begun to feel more
and more, just how much it must mean to them to
see Jane and me
Really, I contemplated, I must come down here
By the time my car trundled up the drive
my Parents had meandered outdoors to greet me
Hullo, darling, hailed Father
Hullo, I waved as I parked the car.
Mother glanced at her watch. You made it in good time
Not, much traffic, today, I noted, getting down
and embracing them in turn
You've become so thin, she complained.
You always think that, I tried to brush off as I kissed
She's right you know, he said gravely
I was determined to keep it light. But, you look well
Actually... he began, ready to give me a list of his
But, Mother had other ideas. First, come indoors,
she ushered. Father can tell you all about his
ailments over tea. She turned to Father and teased.
Your daughter will be most Interested, once she sits
down and relaxes.
Right! he agreed with a laugh; as. he, put his arm
around me and walked me indoors. .
I had put off informing my Parents about Tim's
departure from the nest until practically
the very last minute.
Why cause them extra worry and anxiety?
But, I expected his name to come up at some point.
My Parents were very fond of him.
Still, I dreaded it.
They choose mid-dinner to quizz me
How‘s Tim? questioned Father.
I have no idea, I admitted frankly. I haven't
seen him, in-ah-over a year.
Over a year? he asked with a start.
Hmmm, Father considered as he chewed his food
But, you have mutual friends, observed Mother. Surely,
one of them mentioned him...? ...
No! I said, shaking my head vigorously. No one mentions
him to me. He could be living with another woman -
No! exclaimed Mother.
But, I ploughed on...for all I know.
My Parents exchanged looks of distress
I instantly regretted having given them the
impression that Tim was so shallow.
So I quickly added, Sorry. I didn't mean to slander
The clock on the wall of the dining room chimed as my
Parents waited for me to complete my sentence.
....I'm just hurt because-because he left me in the
lurch when-I needed him to stand by me.....
Perhaps, reasoned Mother, he was trying to get over
his own grief and couldn't help you.
Perhaps... Anyway, I completed lamely - I keep to myself. I
hardly see any friends..
O Darling, disapproved Father
Sweetheart, I know, its difficult...began Mother, but, you
really must try to face life...
I try. I'm trying, all the time, Ma. I argued. I swear, I am
I'm sure, you are, accepted Mother.
I even got myself a job.
Really. I nodded. When?
A few months ago.
Then, you don't expect Tim, back? asked Father,
Well...I shrugged....a year ago, I tried to persuade him that a period of
reflection - on both sides - rather than an outright divorce -
(There was a sharp intake of breath from my Mother
I couldn't look at her)
-which would be difficult to reverse, if ever we wanted to
get back, together...was what was called for. But, the longer he
stays away...I doubt, he'll return.
If he does return, advised Father, please make concessions to him?
I nodded. If, is all I said.
I don't think, my kind Parents wanted to probe further.
At any rate, they changed the subject
Could you pass me the salt, please? asked Father
Sure, returned Mother, handing over the salt seller
While I choked back my own tears and chased a potato
round my plate
It was late before I returned to my sanctuary
I looked around it
How I loved this room
It held, O so many happy memories of my childhood
And, later, on
I considered thoughtfully
Some tender - some, poignant moments too
I began to unpack and fill up the already, cluttered
drawers of my bureau
I deposited my toiletries in the bathroom
Took out the family album
And settled down to leaf through it
Mother - Father - On their wedding day -
Family members-I think. I recognise some of them
My parents on holiday - oh no - this picture is fading
That's Jane. She was a baby when we were adopted
That's me. I was about three
Something fluttered out of the album and landed on the floor
I looked at it, and, nearly - froze
It was the most precious memento I will ever possess
I scooped it up and studied it
It was a deep pink bougainvillea flower
encased in its transparent sheath
I flipped over some pages of the album, feverishly
as I sought to match my flower with a certain picture
Here we are. As I poured over the images of us three
the scene rose before me:
Tim in casuals and trademark polo neck
carrying Anna in her Princess dress
whilst holding me - with this flower in my hair-
close to him
It was taken inside the restaurant. All of us
were laughing -
For almost the very last time
Another scene replaced it
The one preceding this:
The three of us were pottering around in my Parents
when Tim suddenly suggested: Lets go and eat out today?
We'll invite your parents as well.
Fine. Let me go and invite them...I'll fetch Anna a jersey too. Its
getting rather chilly.
Don't be long
I won't. I went indoors.
When I returned Tim was showing Anna the bougainvillea tree
He broke a flower and asked her
Should we ask Mummy to wear this in her hair?
Anna was very enthusiastic.. Yes, Daddy
You give it to her, he said, proffering the flower.
She took it in her chubby hand. Looked at it. Mummy, she said,
giving it to me.
Thank you, darling, I appreciated. I kissed her and kissed my
I don't know how long I sat and reminisced
But, a sudden knock on the door shook me out of my reverie
Mother entered. Darling - it's late.
I rose. I was just going to bed.
She took the album out of my hand and glanced through
a few pages, absently.
She hesitated in such a way
I knew, she wanted to say something to me. I waited.
She suddenly said, Anne, I've been waiting for a chance
to say this to you -
She looked at me gravely. Darling - all Father and I pray
for - if God hasn't granted it to you, already - that is - all
we pray for is, that He grants you - plenty of - resilience
Wasn't that a lovely thing to say? I was so moved. I wanted
to burst into tears.
Instead, I kissed her. Don't worry about me, Mother. I'll be
alright, I assured.
She hesitated. And, you're on the mend?
I smiled at her
I could fairly honestly, nod and say. I think so.
She embraced me. That's what I've longed to hear. Her eyes
were wet. I'll say, goodnight, my sweetheart
She shut the door, noiselessly, behind her.
And, I was left to brush aside a tear and consider the
exact meaning of resilience and fortitude.
We were at the breakfast table
discussing whether a trip together to St. Michael's Mount was
feasible or not
If you don't want to walk, we could wait for high tide. Then, go
by boat? I suggested.
My Father shook his head. I couldn't face that steep climb, later.
Oh, yes, I forgot.
We spent nearly thirty-five years, there, reminded Mother. We-
neither of us want to go back there. Memories are enough..
But, you go ahead, encouraged Father.
Yes, agreed Mother. Don't let us stop you
So I walked down the causeway with the Tourists
and made my way up to the top of the hill
I stopped to survey the place
Nothing had changed in the two years since I had last
But, while I was growing up change kept coming and
going with regularity
If it wasn't the pub changing hands
It was something like a souvinier shop coming into
The one permanent fixture used to be my Mother's
tea shop - My cousin took over where she left off
I scanned the place to see if she was in
Thank God, she wasn't
I was in no mood to see anyone
Alone with my thoughts is where I wanted to be
I entered the Castle, walked down its passage
and entered the Map room
then, withdrew-and walked into the Chevy Chase
It was packed with tourists studying its plaster frieze
portraying various hunting scenes
I took in, its stained-glass windows
But really, it's familiarity didn't charm me
And, I was soon out on the terrace
What had I come here, looking for...?
Whatever it was, I didn't find it
All I'm going home with
is a bitter sweet taste
It's a grave mistake to go to old haunts-in search of...
I don't know what-exactly
One, only comes up against a blank wall...But, do
any of us, ever listen...?
I gave a hollow laugh
Because, we still search and search....but, rarely
do we find-anything
I looked down the craggy hill and, it's sub-tropical garden
My Father had been the head Gardner here once
Come to think of it, he wore many hats
He was the door keeper when required
The alter boy
I got lost in the Crowd returning to town
And after saying goodbye to my parents
drove back to London
on my return home after a most satisfying day at work
I parked the car in front of the house
Got out and took a good look at my environs
I quite liked what I saw
Hmmm, I considered. My life isn't as rudderless as I
once, thought it was..
It finally has direction
I still feel as though my life has been wrenched out
of my body
I'll always feel torn to pieces
I can't help it
But, I'm resigned
.....What else can I be?
I went up the steps and let myself in
Switched on the hall light
Sent the aforementioned email to Tim
While I awaited his reply
I marched up to Anna's room with resolve
I stood outside, hand on door and hesitated
Ofcourse, I had been there several times before
either, to dust or air the room
But, not to think
Never to think
If I thought at all, whilst there
I always made a concerted effort to think of something else
and, always made sure I left the place as it was on Anna's
last day -
But, this time I was determined to pack her
things and store them away in the attic
After a moment, I plucked up the courage to turn the handle,
switch on the light, and survey the room
A family picture was sitting on her bedside table
waiting to greet me
I didn't flinch. But, I was keen for it not to let it effect me
so I swiftly appraised another spot
Unfortunately, it happened to be the - now abandoned
crib she used to sleep in, whilst in our room
I went over and touched it
My fingers lingered on her little quilt
and, I remembered:
One day, she cried and cried
I was carrying her and trying to calm her down
Tim was on the computer. What's she crying for? he asked
I don't know, I insisted as I patted her.
He moved over to the record player. I've got just the
tonic for her, he announced
He looked for a particular record and put it on
I remember the scene so well
Falling silent and finally sleeping to someone
You are so beautiful to me/You are so beautiful to me/
Can't you see/You're everything I hoped for/Everything
I need/You are so beautiful to me....
Tim took her out of my arms and returned her to her crib.
We tucked her in, then, stood back in one anothers arms
full of admiration of her.
We embraced and kissed and thanked our lucky stars for
our beautiful, beautiful little miracle
The picture faded as I considered
Nevermore would I lull my baby to sleep
Nevermore would we watch Teletubbies together
Nevermore would I read to her
I think the tears rolling down my cheeks
alerted me to the fact that: going down memory
lane only meant intense grief and pain
I sat down abruptly on Anna's bed and reflected
If I don't want the past to consume me, I must
try to consume it!
Yes, thats what I must do
I dried my eyes as I rose
Decided that tonight was not the night
to put away Anna's things
If they had waited this long
another day or two wouldn't matter
I turned off the light
clicked the door shut
and was halfway down the stairs
when the doorbell rang
I quick-stepped it to the porch light in the hall
and switched it on
Glanced at myself in the mirror
then, opened the door
Tim! I exclaimed in surprise
Hullo! He returned giving me an uncertain smile
I just sent you an e-mail. I didn't expect -
An e-mail? he asked in surprise. When?
I glanced at my watch. About an hour ago.
He shook his head. I've just got in from Paris
I must have looked nonplussed, because he added,
I was just passing. I-err thought, I'd dropp in -
to see how you were...?
It didn't occur to me to move.
Ofcourse, if it's inconvenient - I'll err -
I remembered to step aside, Please, come in
He went ahead of me into the sitting room
And, as I followed, I chided the Heavens:
Did he have to come today?
Did he absolutely have to come today?
Couldn't he have come another day?
And, did I have to go into Anna's room, today-of all days?
Look at my face! It must be all botched up!
And, look at my hair!
What does it matter?
We can barely look directly at one another
When I entered the sitting room
He was standing awkwardly in the centre of it
I eyed him, somewhat, resentfully. Please, be seated
Thank you, he said, formally - and sat down
I sat down, primly - opposite
Now what? I wondered
You haven't been using our joint account?
I have, I promised. All the Standing Orders go out of
But, you used to go shopping -
I nodded. To buy useless things-
Yes, but -
-according to you
Yes, but - you loved going on holiday...
Somehow those things hardly matter very much,
No-no, of course, not. They don't! he acknowledged
After a moment, I rose
because I wanted him to go
I hope, I answered your question, satisfactorily?
He rose too
Are you asking me to leave?
I looked at him full in the face
Tim, why did you really come...?
He suddenly flared up. I knew, you'd behave like this.
Like what? I asked calmly.
Make it absolutely impossible for me to approach you.
In what way, do I make it impossible? I asked infuriatingly.
He tried to stay calm - I'll give him that.
I know, you're still angry with this coward.... I let you down.
Instead of standing by you - I'm sorry. I can't apologise,
Tim - dropp it!
I can't! Because, I haven't been forgiven.
Tim, I said....!
What did you eventually do on Anna's death anniversary?
I winced and looked away. Then looked back and defied:
What good does it do to rake up the second most painful
episode in my life - that can never be erased?
Tim bit his lip. He looked very shaken
Please Tim - Don't let me hurt you.
And, I don't want to talk about Anna right now.
I've just come home from work - and, I'm rather tired.
I'm sorry, he apologised, and, made to leave. I'll leave
Tim, I began, coming forward.
....I'll come some other time
I placed my hand on his arm and tried steering him back
to his seat.... We could both do with a drink...Sit, down.
Thanks, he said, without looking at me - and, sat down
You must be very tired, yourself, I said, opening the
Yes, I am. I've been working hard, all week
I poured two bourbons and gave him, his.
Thanks. Did you say, you sent me an e-mail?
Yes, I replied, re-seating myself before him.
What did it say?
I invited you to dinner-at your convenience
Dinner, huh? he commented vaguely. And, you also
said, you had just come back from work?
I didn't know you worked.
\I must keep myself busy.
Yes, of course! But, what exactly, do you do?
After a silence. Tim managed, I keep busy too. I don't see any
of our old friends. Do you?
He got up abruptly. Its late....
I rose too.
...I have a lot to do, tomorrow.
So, do I.
He hesitated. Before I go - unless you've made a bonfire of
I haven't! I smiled with him, for the first time, in a long time.
...I want to check out a suit...?
Sure. Your clothes are still hanging in the guestroom.
I returned the bottle to the cabinet as soon as he left
I scooped up the glasses.
Things have to be spic and span for me as quickly as possible
I can't stand unwashed cutlery and crockery lying around
after having any kind of fare.
Sorry, I can't help being finicky. I'm like that....
Impossible to live with....According to Tim!
I entered the kitchen
and, put the glasses in the sink
I looked in the fridge
without really knowing what I was looking for
I spotted this half drunk bottle of wine
Took it out and sat it down on the kitchen table
I'm too tense. I must loosen up, I told myself getting a
glass out of the cupboard
I sat down with the intention of polishing
the bottle off
Tim entered the kitchen carrying a suit
I looked at him
Nothing's changed, upstairs.
But, you were threatening to pack up Annas things
and store them away in the attic?
I know, but....
I thought of an explanation as I toyed with the bottle
....I must be a coward like you.- I tried several times -
He put his hand over mine. I was genuinely startled. I
wasn't expecting it.
He smiled into my eyes and said: Why don't we
two-cowards both, get back together and fight our cowardice?
I looked at him searchingly
After so much misery - was I really being offered a fresh start?
Please darling, he cajoled, we're in this together - We'll
always be in it, together....forever and ever?
We can rekindle the light - can't we...?
After a moment, I rose and embraced him.
Comments about Moving On by NAYYAR SHABBIR AHMAD
Poems About Anniversary
- 451. Moving On , NAYYAR SHABBIR AHMAD
- 452. Hypothetically (Starting New Love) , Randy Bullocks
- 453. Happy Birthday, Mother , Cat Tiger
- 454. Happy Anniversary , Niken Kusuma Wardani
- 455. Unforgivable Forgetfulness , Yor Nella
- 456. Gold , Holly Jamestone
- 457. This Ring , Lamar Ingraham, Sr.
- 458. Pa And Ma, A Tribute , Lilibeth Sacmar Apat
- 459. Happy Anniversary , Lawerence Mize, Sr.
- 460. Dandy Andi , Maria Diaz
- 461. Zzz 6. First Anniversary , Mason Maestro
- 462. Gangsta Whispher..There Anniversary , kiki KEYKEY amador
- 463. 'X' Change Vows.. , TheBigThinkg Human
- 464. Starstruck , Karen Touzalin
- 465. As I Did , Sydney Rose
- 466. Cards With No Meaning , Sapphire Gordon
New Anniversary Poems
- Stanzas Unknown, Joel Roderick Bisson
- (haiku) – Forget-Me-Nots, Bill Galvin
- (haiku) – May 7,1983, Bill Galvin
- A Different Anniversary, Raymond A Foss
- Twenty Six Years Of Marriage, Reagan A. Latumbo
- A Wedding Anniversary, DEEPAK KUMAR PATTANAYAK
- 25th Marriage Anniversary, SWETA LEENA PANDA
- The Anniversary, Lyn Paul
- Bouquests Of Flowers For You, Bapu On Yo.., Bijay Kant Dubey
- Anniversary, David Boyce
- carpe diem