Important Things

There’s a poem about a dying poet who pleads for someone to gather all her verses into a book. It made me think of all the important things that dying leaves unsaid, and then it made me think of you, going through my things one day. How you might plead for guidance. So, here is a list of the important things:

Lupines by Vanessa McKiel
  1. That photograph, the one of you three, somehow all in Grammie’s lap, the last time that we all visited her.
  2. The smooth grey pebble from the Beaufort Sea. We hadn’t planned — the best things never are — but your father and I ended up at an old whaling station once. There were icebergs in the sea and a sauna on the shore, so we swam.
  3. Your poem, the one about stargazing with a friend, how insignificant you feel but how you matter to the person next to you. You were shy and only let me see it once.
  4. In my journal with the lupines on the cover, there’s a short passage about the wind coming on a walk with me. I wrote it after Grampie died. It was a comfort, that particular wind, and later I wrote something about wind being lonely and needing comfort too.
  5. The apple crisp recipe that I always looked at but never followed (I used less sugar). But it was written in mum’s hand. Whenever I made it, I remembered her hands peeling apples, her hands that had become my grandmother’s hands. I never told you, but when I was small, she used to refer to her mother as Grammie. That scared me because I thought that meant that one day, she too would become my grandmother. So silly. I know that you know that I’ll still be your mother, even when I’m gone. And when you get tired of going through my things, walk, and let the wind come with you.

Vanessa McKiel

Vanessa McKiel has worked as a tree-planter, an outward bound instructor,
and a family doctor. Now she is a printmaker and writer. Her work has previously
appeared in The South Shore Review, as well as Ravensperch and The Archive Project. She
lives in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.