The Shine Journal - The Light Left Behind

Journeys Through Grief and Beyond


Carol Smallwood

The ground was frozen so burial would be in the spring.

I pictured a man determining the cut-off date digging near the graves of my mother and father. When I went with Aunt Hester and Uncle Walt to my parents graves as a child, Uncle Walt would always sob. A kneeling angel with wings over its face held a scroll: "In Memory of My Beloved Brother and Wife. Erected 1942 by Walter Augustus Walter." The angel's wings were the first to crumble and each year the angel leaned forward further like some an aging boxer. I'd liked the chunky Dutch wooden windmills painted yellow and blue on graves.

I mostly avoided the cemetery because I didn't like seeing dying plants or the dying grass from newly dug graves-and the awful silence. And when the headstones were deep in snow, finality seemed to shout in the silence, and I'd flee their graves mumbling apologies, terrified they might've been buried alive.

Carol Smallwood began writing poetry and fiction after retirement when she took creative writing classes. She has founded and supports humane societies.This piece is an excerpt from Lily's Odyssey (print novel 2010) published with permission by All Things That Matter Press. Its first chapter was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award in Best New Writing.

Contact Editor: Pamela Tyree Griffin

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