Wednesday, 25 October 2017

The Leaves Are Dead

"The leaves are dead, Mummy".

Sometimes on our walk home from school, Isaac would blurt those words out with sadness. It is autumn in England, the leaves on the trees are a cornucopia of colours and it only takes a gentle breeze to send them tumbling down to the wet ground.

How does a four-year-old know of such sadness?

Vince has died. He was Isaac's friend and playmate during our very long holiday in Spain, a gentle soul who took the little boy's side when it was needed. In return, Isaac showered him with plenty of cuddles and special treats that he enjoyed. In each other's company, they enjoyed long evening walks along the shore, watching the orange sunset fade over the horizon. They had sleepovers and barbecue parties at his grandparent's house. They marked countless lampposts, tree trunks and street corners, shamelessly, in Vince's attempts to help Isaac get rid of the nappies.

Their parting was a sorrowful affair but promises of short visits were made. Except now, Vince will not be there to meet us. His absence has left a deep void that will take some time to fill in the lives of those he has touched, among them a child who remembers him when he sees a falling leaf in autumn.

But I remind Isaac that the leaves will come out again in spring, when the air smells fresh, the fields turn green and the pink flowers bloom. Though no one will ever take the place that Vince holds in his heart, it can still grow bigger and learn to love another. And when he misses Vince, he can look up the sky where his four-legged friend watches over him, behind the clouds, with a smile.

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