Read introduction

A death of a parent, especially a mother is obviously one of life's big experiences. The separation I felt from my mother once she died unexpectedly seemed to mirror a sense of coldness in my own experience of being a child alone in my grandmother's house in Manchester.
I was frightened of my grandmother although she was family and I was frightened when I lost my mother in the same way. By then, she also was a grandmother - but a much warmer one than mine.

Dead

Pz-avatarby Hannah Richardson10 Jul 2014

The clock stopped dead when that grey, waxy head
hit the cold stone floor.
A chill draft shot me back
to icy cotton sheets.
Toes swaddling together in a cold granite bed.
It’s my grandmother’s heatless house
Where no one listened
In the pre-Christmas dark.
Only my breath lifts my chest,
Turning the condensation crystalline on the pane.
A strip of light frames the dark, closed door.
It never widens to let in a warm hand.
Mahogany, polyester, ceramic and steel.
Dainty figurines and cut glass decanters that
Children aren’t allowed to touch.
The powder puff maybe soft, but the stale smell suffocates.

The paramedics’ knock brings me back.
I remember my toddler son is in the room.
“She’s upstairs in the bathroom. I can’t get the door open,”
I tell the paramedics.
They push it back to reach the now waxwork body.
She’s long cold, but the radiator has worked to keep her warm.
Death’s indignity leaves her underwear around her ankles.
“She was probably going to the toilet when it happened,”
they say - tidying her up.
“She wouldn’t have felt a thing”.
(Cliched hand on my shoulder).
Feelings are for those of us left behind.
It’ll be Christmas again soon
but the presents won’t be coming.