Saw this document title in my letters and prose folder and for a moment thought it was something I’d written, then quickly remembered it was a picture of your sports coat, the one you wore the most. In the end, Colm picked another one, the lighter olive-ish coloured one – probably a better choice for living in Australia. The colour would be nice with his blonde hair, what’s left of it. Romy and Gerry have agreed to take it over on their much anticipated summer holiday in a few weeks’ time. I teamed it up with one of your dark blue, short-sleeved, checked shirts. I think Col’ will be swimmin’ in them really but it’s nice that he wanted something of yours, something so typically worn by you.
I have your grey flannel shirt – and some socks (your small feet have provided me with a fine stock of spares). Polly wanted socks too and one of your ‘terminal’ vests and maybe a couple of cardis, if there were some to spare that no-one else wanted. I looked, and there were loads. Then, I couldn’t choose. I thought I’d just leave it to her when she comes over in July – no need to rush the divvying up of your clothes. Mum and I talked about clearing your wardrobe; I talked about charity shops and the clothes recycling bin outside David’s shop in the village. Then I thought that I really ought to ask everyone if they wanted anything particular from your wardrobe. It would be one of the last things I might undertake before leaving Mum.
Katrin (from the band) and I discussed it over dinner and she thought it was a good idea. She had kept her dad’s pyjamas, elastic worn almost to breaking now and only used for good. It was a comfort to her. Then I imagined any of us trying to wear your XXL pjs – not sure if there’ll be any takers there! Apart from that, I thought that you would really approve of the wholesale palming off of all your goods and chattels as, we all know that, apart from acquiring lots of junk (ahem!) over the years, nothing pleased you more than having someone take if off your hands, preferably one of your children who might (at a very long stretch most times – though we didn’t say) appreciate it as a fantastic, amn’t-I-lucky-to-be-getting-this-bargain.
This time, I do feel lucky, lucky to have a little piece of you, a piece of something comforting next to my skin that was once next to yours, but only lucky because I have no choice in the matter and I must forever imagine those strong arms squeezing the life out of me with the hug we all loved, useless arms that you left behind in Milltown graveyard on a sunny breezy Tuesday in April this year, swopped for gossamer wings the breadth of the universe.