╨╧рб▒с>■  GI■   F                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ье┴7 Ё┐кPbjbjUU "Z7|7|кL      l▄▄▄▄▄▄▄Ё8888 DЁ ddddddddА В В В В В В $ ) nж ▄dddddж ╪▄▄dd╗ ╪╪╪dn▄d▄dА ╪dА ╪и╪А ▄▄А dX @A&ZэW╞ЁH8╥А А ╤ 0 А Ч ╪Ч А ╪ЁЁ▄▄▄▄┘ Saturday, June 21, 1919 I watch, mesmerized, as ink drops from my pen onto the tablecloth, sending out black tentacles, reaching, engulfing, devouring the white with its dark stain. I cannot begin to write this, for if I doЕ If I put words upon paper. My mind rebels and my hand refuses to obey. Brian isЕ.. My Brian isЕ Oh, God in heaven make this be some nightmare of the most horrible kind. Make it not true that my beloved Brian lies in the next room, not movingЕ Not breathing. It just cannot be and yetЕ I can find no way out of this, but I must find a way out of this, must find my way to Brian. I keep going back in my mind to this morning and wondering how I stepped through the wrong door that brought Brian to where he is. I am certain that if I could only get us back to that hour in our garden that I could make this horror disappear. I see myself, weeding my little corner, dirt on my fingers, the earth cool and moist, my hair escaping its pins about my face and tickling my nose. It was a bright and glorious morning, sky clear and blue with only those whips of mists that linger about the mountaintops. And I was happy, so happy. Brian was resting in a hammock that he and Malcolm had strung between our cottage and the metal pole of the clothesline. It was so peaceful. When Brian called out, asking me to come to him, God forgive me, I told him to wait, that I was almost through. He called again, and I impatiently again said in a minute. The third time his voice was faint and before I turned, I heard a thud. Brian had fallen to the ground, his body nestled in the soft green grass. I ran to him, falling to my knees at his side, pulling his head into my lap, calling his name over and over again. When I began to rise to get help, he laid his hand upon my arm and whispered, Уnae stay with meФ. He told me he loved me and that I had made him very happy but he was sorry, he had to leave. He repeated over and over he was sorry. I stared at him, my entire body grown cold and numb, my brain frozen, unable to comprehend what he was saying. Then he asked me to kiss him. I could not move. He reached up to take my face, but his hand was too feeble and it fell back to the earth. I leaned down and kissed his dear, sweet lips one last time. Then I held him to me, fiercely, begging him not to go, telling him he promised me he would get well, that he promised me there was healing at our cottage in the glen, but Brian did not speak and I will never again hear his voice. It cannot be. I cannot have the last word. Brian always has the last word so it must not be true. But those eyes, those eyes that I love, those eyes I first saw on the ship crossing the channel no longer saw me. I believe I cried out or perhaps I did not. After some minutes, days, perhaps even years, I could not tell, I realized I was holding his body to my breast, rocking back and forth. His body that no longer held his life. I sat there frozen, unable to move or think when I heard a rustling, the sound of someone moving slowly along the path through the orchard that leads to our cottage. Coming to the opening, BrianТs mother said, Сhe be daied thenТ. It was not a question; it was as if she knew. Then she cried out in lament, and coming to BrianТs other side, she took him from me and held him to her, weeping and crying out over and over, Сoh, ma bairn, ma bonnie, bonnie bairnТ. She looked to me and told me to find Andrew. I do not know how I rose and walked the path, asking Malcolm in the barnyard where was BrianТs father, how I walked to the field down the lane where I found him mowing hay. I believe I laid my hand on his arm and told him to come to our garden, before turning and walking back, sitting on the stone bench near Brian until he came, his wife reaching to him through her tears and between them, they held their son. Time ceased to exist. It still ceases to exist. Everything has ceased to exist. Before rising, Andrew reached over and closed BrianТs eyelids. Then I know I screamed out. He just could not hide those eyes from me forever. It was too cruel. He tried to comfort me, but I pushed past him and fell back to BrianТs side, laying my head upon his chest as my entire body began to tremble and quake. BrianТs father said, Сnow lass, dinna take on saeТ, but his mother just stood and said they were going to find Malcolm and some other men to carry Brian inside. At least I believe that is what transpired. I do not know. All I know is that I held my husband in my arms, his body warm to my touch, but he was not there. He had left meЕ Again. Had again gone somewhere where I could not follow. When they came back, someone, I believe it was Malcolm, lifted me to my feet and I found myself being held by Margaret as they lifted him, Andrew saying to carry him to the house. From somewhere afar I heard my voice, strangely calm though my shaking lips say, Уno, bring him into his cottageФ. They laid him upon the bed we had never removed from the sitting room. His parents are with him now. I knew I must let them have time with him. She told me to sleep. Sleep. As if I would sleep while Brian still lies above the ground, as if I could sleep and lose one last precious minute with him. From somewhere I hear a bagpipe playing a lament, mournful and slow. Perhaps it is Malcolm. Oh, Brian, how could you leave us? How could you leave me? You promised you would find healing here. You promised me. You promised. I do not know what time it is, late, for it seems to have been dark forever. I wonder if the sun will even bother to rise in the morning. Malcolm is still here as are BrianТs parents. Malcolm sent Nora along home quite some time ago, knowing she needed to rest. I sit at the table in our kitchen, waiting impatiently until I can once again sit beside my husband. I am jealous of every minute I must surrender that chair beside him, for others loved him as well. BrianТs mother came to me a while ago, saying, УLass ye havena yet wept fir ma bonnie lad. Ye must, ye ken, it be the ainly wey tae cuil the hurt that birns in ye.Ф Cool the hurt, oh, if that were only possible. For my heart is slowly being consumed by red-hot embers and my eyes burn as if scorched sand had been blown into them. Aye, tears may bring relief, however, tears are not mine to shed. I canna. Morning did come and BrianТs father and Malcolm have left to see to the animals. Margaret is resting in our room. I almost refused her the use of our bed, the bed that only the night before this one most desperate, Brian and I shared. As it was I took our pillows and blankets off and stuffed them in the clothes press, placing fresh ones on top for her to use so that I will not lose the scent of Brian from his pillow. I sit here, finally alone with Brian. His hair curls upon the pillow, his sweet lips slightly upturned as if his last thoughts were of joy. Oh, I want to believe that to be true. He is dressed in the coat and kilt he wore to the kirk every Sunday. Someone had wanted to lay him out in his wedding suit, but I refused. It is difficult enough to give up his Sunday green tweed. There were times when he was in France I would wear this jacket, just to feel close to him. Perhaps I chose wrong. Perhaps I should have allowed him to be buried in his wedding clothes. I do not want to part with anything more. I look upon his dear face, seeing that little scar below his chin and on his forehead that I saw in that horrible dream I used to have. I hold his hand, making little circles as he did that first night we spent together in the garden and now that all else are gone, I talk to him, telling him of my love for him, as he did in the garden. I reminisce on all our days together; pictures so vivid flood my mind. I have even found myself laughing out loud and saying Сdo you remember whenЕТ Then I look down and see Brian does not laugh with me, for he cannot. It is strange when his mother and I prepared him for burial, it was the first time I had really seen the scar on his thigh he had received early in the war. As long as he was alive I never really saw it, and it is only now in death that it is apparent to me. Soon the people will come and I am dreading it. Reverend McLaren will be here to make the arrangements. Arrangements. As if Brian were a package to be delivered. My mind recoils from the thought of him being placed in the ground. I do not believe I can bear it. And I cannot think of it now. For, for one more day, Brian will be with me. The people have come. It is set. Tomorrow at noon Brian will be carried from our cottage to the kirk. I allowed Andrew and Margaret to make the arrangements as I do not know their customs and the funeral will be more for their benefit than mine. I cannot understand why these people who fill our cottage feel they must cling to me. I do not gain comfort from them, but from the moments with Brian. They never leave me alone, someone always glued to my side as if I were a child and they the adult. And they say such inane things, УAye, he was a goud husband to ye.Ф As if I would not have known that unless they told me. God, make them go away. All I want is time with Brian, then again that is all I have ever wanted. I wish these people would leave, but they just keep coming, bringing food, offering condolences to me and comfort to BrianТs parents. DonegalТs entire family came. Suannoch is a young woman and Keath a young man of fifteen. Glenna and Clennan are eight now. I cannot believe they are the two bonny bairns Brian and I took up the mountainside that Sunday when I first came. Many of the others milling about are unknown to me, for though I have lived in Scotland for six years, we rarely traveled beyond this farm. There was no need. Everything I wanted was here. I am finding the talking, the СbletherТ going on in the room where Brian lay to be more than I can bear and I frequently leave to keep from shouting at them all to leave us in peace. It is only the knowledge that this is bringing comfort to BrianТs mother that stills my tongue. Nora has been here all day, attempting to bring me comfort, as has Bessie. Why cannot anyone understand there is no comfort to be found? Only the tiniest of peace in time alone with my husband. Malcolm is the only one I can bear to be about, for I believe he understands. Before, Malcolm and I went out in the garden and sat upon the bench Brian made and Malcolm talked, telling me of Brian as he did when Brian was still in France. He needed to speak the words and I needed to hear them. That is the only comfort to be found. If these people do not soon leave our cottage, I will go mad. However, they keep coming. The invasion began after church and now, at six, it shows no sign of letting up, they just keep coming. Earlier, I walked into the room, carrying a plate of strawberry sandwiches NoraТs mother sent, remembering the time I first tasted these and how kind Brian had been when I was so homesick. Lost in the reverie of BrianТs gentleness, it was like a shock of cold water to hear two women, standing near Brian, discussing how well the corpse looked. As if he were placed there upon display for their consideration and as if what he looked like was of the least importance. I could not control myself, I spoke from where I stood in the doorway, clear and loud that no, he did not look well, he looked dead and that this was my husband they were so callously discussing, not an ornament placed here for their review. Their mouths fell open and I am afraid I might have said more if Andrew had not unobtrusively taken my elbow and steered me outside. We went to the back of the cottage and he quietly took his pipe from his pocket and unhurriedly lit it, taking a few puffs before commenting he never understood this practice of commenting upon the dead as if they were a piece of lamb either and if I wished to go for a walk or lie down up at the house, I should go ahead and do it. Only the tremor if his hand revealed the impact of his sonТs death on this dear man. And Brian had so wanted to relieve him of his burdens. Kissing him on the cheek, I did as he suggested, detouring first into the bedroom for my diary, before climbing up to the high pasture. The heart of my beloved. Having written this out, I am beginning to feel the slightest of release. Is it perhaps a gift from Brian, given to me here in his place? If it were mine to decide, I would have him buried here. But, then again, he most likely would not have wished for that, as this place was, for him, about life, not death. My beloved, my dear, dear beloved. Why could you not have taken me with you? There is a motorcar pulling up to the house. It must be from the hotel in Strathpeffer. It is Pauline and Tom Gordon. I wonder who sent word to them. I must go down. The other vultures should be going soon. Perhaps with only the Gordons and family about it will not be quite soЕ raw. It is three oТclock in the morning and all are gone except Brian and I. Many wished to stay, however, I finally convinced them the greatest kindness they could do me was to leave me alone with Brian. Only nine more hours. The thought fills me with such a panic, I long to lock and bar the doors and windows so as to keep those who would take him from me at bay. Instead, I concentrate on the past hours. When all but family finally cleared out, Pauline and Jeane brought in some food and Mr. Gordon the drink. Under the influence of the whisky, the menТs tongues loosened and more stories came flooding out, many of the times Brian, Malcolm and Bertie visited DonegalТs. They were stories I had not heard before and it did my heart good to be reminded how full of life Brian had been. That though his days were all too short, those he was blessed with were a joy not only to himself, but to others as well. Why does God take the best and leave those like my father to live to old age? At one point I left the room to go to the kitchen for a few moments alone for the trembling had come over me once again and I knew I must find a way to control it before anyone noticed and started fussing at me. Sitting there, with my hands clenched upon the table, I willed my muscles to cease their involuntary movement. Unknown to me, Margaret slipped into the kitchen and asked if I would like a cup of tea. I realized, I had not had anything to eat or drink since Saturday morning. Nodding, I watched as she poured the warm water from the kettle into the teapot. Suddenly, I remembered her standing on the garden path, and how she had said, Brian is dead. How had she known? Before I could ask her, she took two cups from the cupboard and poured the tea, taking the seat across from me. УAye, Elizabeth. I ken he was gone. Ye ken Brian used tae tease me aboot ma second sicht? Well, it be true, I have been sae cursed. I have seen things that would make yer blood run cold, an yit, the harderst thing I ever saw was on the day ma bonnie bairn was born tae me. When they first laid him in ma arms, I had a vision, sae clear an vivid I screamed oot. I saw ma bonnie barin, grown tae manhood, ma Brian, lying with the grass aboot his face, his eyes unseeing in deathФ. At this she stopped and shivered, pulling her tartan closer about her shoulders before going on. УSae, I ken from the firsten that he wouldna become an auld man. But, I hoped, I aways hoped.Ф And then she wept. It is now close to four and I am trying so jealously to grasp tight to these fleeting minutes, these minutes that are flying past me. I have sat here with my head laid upon BrianТs chest, no longer warm to my touch, but not yet cold. I cannot think of any more to say. I have been thinking of the silkies and how Brian sang to them. We were planning to go to the sea and try again, the night of the day he died. Writing he is dead is becoming easier, believing it impossible. I must think what I have left unsaid for the others will soon be here and I am afraid I will have no more time alone with my husband. I cannot bear it. They cannot take him from me and place him in the cold, cruel ground, separated forever from me. It is strange, but in my despair, I heard Brian singing, low and sweet, as if from afar. Singing a song gentle as a lullaby, singing as he did to the silkies and it calmed my spirit, just as his touch upon my hair always soothed my mind. If I could only believe he would be with me as such, then perhaps I could bear this. I can hear them coming down the path. It is raining, a saft dreezle, the type of soft rain Brian used to love to walk about in. I can see him grab the tartan he used to wear about his head on days such as this and his walking stick, asking me with eyes crinkling to take a wee daunder with him. And I used to tell him I would not, that at least one of us had enough sense to come in out of the rain. Oh, Brian, ask me again. I will go with you. I am glad the skies will weep for him. A bright day would have hurt too much. Malcolm and Keath carried in the coffin with them and it lay there upon the floor, a gruesome reminder that in only an hour they will take my Brian from me. There will be no wagon, no funeral hearse to carry him to the kirk. Brian was so loved, so respected; that the men of the glen have come forward with offers to carry him upon their shoulders that last mile of his earthly journey. Pauline has been here all morning trying to get me to eat something. Why? It will only prolong my life and I wish to die. I see them all looking at me, talking about me. Why cannot they leave me to my grief? It is eleven-forty five. Now, I must ask all to leave me with Brian one last time. It is dark and I am alone in my own bed. How I got here, I do not know. Upon waking, I reached for Brian, and then it all came back to me as a crushing blow to my chest that left me gasping for breath. The walking to the kirkЕ Reverend McLarenТs words over the child he had baptized and marriedЕ Then, BrianТs final journey to the kirkyard, to a hole gaping hungrily in the earthЕ Prepared to receive my husband in its cold and cruel embrace. I remember standing there in the rain, a bagpipe droning a mournful lament masking the thuds as great clods of dirt landed upon my beloved. Removing him forever from me. I stood there, dry eyed, aware of others about me, but unable to feel their touch. People were talking to me, offering condolences I suppose, I do not know. I believe BrianТs family said it was time to leave, but again, I am not sure. All was as a dream where I was an observer. Eventually all were gone but the Gordons and Malcolm. Someone took my arm as to lead me away, however, I shook them off. From somewhere I think I heard Pauline say to leave me be and then, finally there was silence, except for the bagpipes, which I continued to hear from afar. I hear them even now. That is the last I remember, standing, or perhaps I sunk to my knees, by BrianТs grave, unable to cry, unable to find release, unable to seek peace. I remember my cloak becoming waterlogged and the wet and cold seeping past it and into my clothing. I remember being glad. Glad, that I too would take the cough and die. That is all I remember. Someone must have brought me back here. I hate them. I hate whoever took me from Brian. I hate these dry clothes, warm bed, glowing fire. I hate life. God, if you have any mercy, allow me to die. ╠IйPкPЎЄ6Б]Б6БCJOJQJ]Б&'Э;n╦ЧШkо!K$д%е%Ю&4(ў)х-ц-╓366$7;у@┴C┬Cєєєєєєєєєєєєєєєєєєєєєєєєєєєє $Д╨dр`Д╨a$кP¤┬CEE╔FGGаHбH╦I╠IкPєєєєєєєєєё $Д╨dр`Д╨a$ 1Рh░╨/ ░р=!░"░#Ра$Ра%░ i8@ё 8 NormalCJ_HaJmH sH tH <A@Є б< Default Paragraph Font2B`Є2 Body Text CJ(OJQJкLZ    &'Э ;n╦ЧШkоK д!е!Ю"4$ў%х)ц)╓/22$37у<┴?┬?AA╔BCCаDбD╦E╠EмLЪ@0ААЪ@0АмЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0АмЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0АмЪ@0ААЪ@0АмЪ@0ААЪ@0ААЪ@0АмЪ@0ААЪ@0АмЪ@0ААЪ@0Ам 0кP)┬CкP*,кP++.w | L Q e j ьё·¤гйтчшыЁЇ ЦЪЕ М " "═#╤#%%$%,%B%G%k%r%л%▒%M2Y2э2Ї2Є4ў4╛5╟5l:q:|:Б:в:е:╥:╒:щ:ь:Є:·:%;*;q;t;П;Т;е;к;▐;у;o<r<Г<К<У<Ъ<└<┼<>>Y@`@?ACADAKAB%B&C+CЎC·CмF░F╝F┼FG$GvI}IмLЬеЄ AF┴├u Ы t v Fy№ 8"D"▀$%┼*╩*_0w0│1╒1ю34=6Д6░8▒8Н:П:{;};е;к;┼I╔I`LgLмL333333333333333333333  Laurie L. PiascikHC:\Documents and Settings\Laurie\My Documents\Saturday June 21, 1919.docLaurie L. 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