Maggie

 This is one character’s feelings at the death of a loved one. To find out how the rest of the mourners felt buy the book here: https://www.creativeardaghcraftshop.com/shop/p/lethimliebook?rq=let%20him%20lie

This was a collaborative Novella by Longford Writer’s Group. The image is artwork by one of the members, Dan Flynn.

It’s not right. No one should bury their child. Of course if he had a bit of manners he would live as long as me but he never had any manners, my fault I suppose. I guess I spoiled him, my only son, my golden boy, my Emmet. The head shone on him with bright red fluff when he entered this world but there wasn’t much left of that lovely flame red hair when he died. His father held on to it longer. Where is he now? Why isn’t he here at his own son’s funeral?

     “Patricia, where is that big bollox gone off to now? Never around when he should be, the thick lump! Big Head, Big Red.”

What’s she shushing me for. The cheek of her and I her mother. I didn’t say anything wrong, it’s all true. What are they all staring at me for? Did I do something wrong? Which neighbour is dead now? Why am I up here with Patricia and Imelda? Where’s Emmet? He usually brings me to the funerals and whispers in my ear all I need to know so they won’t find out I’m getting a bit mithered. Sure who doesn’t forget things when they are old and me ancient. What am I? 100 or thereabouts.

      “What age am I Patricia, am I 100 yet? No , no you’re right I’m only 92 sure there’s years in me yet. You’ll be lucky if you reach it what with all your fretting about everyone. If Emmett gave up the old drink now he has a chance. Where is he anyway and why isn’t he here instead of you? You never come to the funerals, nearly missed your old fathers for all your swannin’ after him like he was God. Emmett? Emmett?”

What’s that woman shushing me for? Who the hell is she anyway? There’s that amadán of a priest spouting off again, didn’t he say enough in the church, has to pontificate here in the graveyard too. Never shuts up. Look at him pretending he cares about whatever gobshite neighbour we’re burying. Sure he only cares about Emmett and that twit Patricia married. Gobshites the lot of them.

    “Gobshites! Bloody men, all gobshites! Where is the big arrogant gobshite now? Ha, dance on his grave, Big Red is dead! Dead in his bed.There’s a rhyme for you. Who is dead now? Emmett, where is Emmett? Emmett tell me who are we burying now?”

    “Get your hands offa me! Who do you think you are? Patricia, you’re not Patricia. You’re too old. Where is she? Where is Kathleen? Ah, there’s my Kathleen coming in the gate, look at her, so elegant, so pretty, pretty Kate. Must keep her away from that gobshite she is fawning over these days, no good for her at all, she needs to get out of here and travel. Isn’t she lovely?”

    “Ah, Emmett? Is that you Emmett? Gary? Who is Gary? Stop pretending, messing with me, you little divil. Here hold on to me now and tell me who is it we’re planting today? Ok, ok I’ll be quiet, shush boy don’t be mean to your mammy who dotes on you still.”

I better be quiet, Emmett is none too pleased with me, you’d think I was Ambrose the way he is shushing me. He won’t even tell me who is dead. Big Red is Dead. Dead in his bed. Took him long enough the arrogant bollox, waited until I was no good for anyone else the fecker, ha, at least he thought so. Kathleen looks lovely in that hat, I think I’ll go over to her. Oh I better whisper to Emmet, have to be quiet, that ould gossip Betty Macginty is hovering, always hovering, waiting to see what I’ll reveal to her. Nothing, I’ll tell her nothing. Certainly won’t be telling her about my antics with our local publican while that fecker Big Red was off plotting and scheming against the Queen. His son was a chip off the old block, had an eye on that young one, Emmett’s friend, oh what was her name, she ran off to England, her parents were devastated. Emmett was heartbroken too, often thought he had a thing for her.

    “Emmett, link me a bit and bring me over to Kate. Gary Smary, will you stop your nonsense. Where is Patricia? That old lady is not Patricia,  And I’ve no idea who she is. What do you mean Kathleen isn’t here, isn’t she standing before me? Look at her, sweet Kate  in the hat looking lovely, made for the stage. I was on the stage you know when your father swept me away from my dreams. I had a lovely voice. He pursued me and wore me down. I went to London to become a famous actress and singer not to marry a big arrogant lump of an Irish man and be dragged home to bring up children in this backward hole of a country. Ah but you were worth it, my lovely children. Look at Kate how pretty she is and is that Patricia over there?  Sheila? Who is Sheila? That’s my Patricia sure I would know her anywhere. I’m so lucky you stayed at home with me Emmett, my little gosun. Any sign of you getting married at all?”

    “Oh my God, that wind would cut through you. Look at that gobshite of a brother of mine lighting up, no respect at his own nephew’s funeral. I put manners on him last night though didn’t I Gary? You should probably keep an eye on him. Will you let me sit in the car. I can’t handle this cold and I can’t handle this place. My heart is broken, nobody should bury their son, should they Gary? You look like him you know, you’re the spit of Emmett. Hope you inherited the good bits. He was so good to me. The girls will put me in a home now, I know well they will, sure Kathleen is sick and Patricia away staring into the eyes of that bollox Charlie all her life, oh wait, isn’t he dead? Maybe she’ll have me, no, we’d murder each other. Imelda will want me gone, I’m not her mother. She has the patience of a saint, and all she put up with Emmett and his drinking but I can’t expect her to mind me now he’s gone, she did enough of minding other people’s burdens. No offence, but I found it hard enough to mind my own, can’t imagine taking others in.”

It’s cold here and I don’t know why I’m here or who this nice young man is but I better smile or they’ll put me away. 


    “What do you mean the car is over there? Whose car? That’s not your car. Emmett stay with me. What? Yes, it is cold and I would rather go home. Will you take me.Yes, let’s go home.”

    “First time I felt warm all day. Thank you Gary, you’re a great young fellow aren’t you now? What are you laughing at? What do you mean used to be a real lady. Sure I’m always a lady me. Gary I can’t handle this at all. Why did he leave me? My Emmett, my baby boy. It’s not right. No one to mind me now. No, no I won’t be going to Dublin. This is my home and this is where I’ll be staying, not for much longer I’m thinking. I’m 92 and time I went. I suppose I’m great for my age alright but I get a bit scattered, and the pains and aches are killing me. You might do me a favour when we get home and get my tablets for me. I think I’ll go to bed and you can head back for the meal. They’ll be missing you. Sheila will be missing you. Don’t look surprised. Dotes on you the poor crature.”

It’s funny how you notice the beauty around you when you’re more aware of mortality, the vibrant oranges and reds of Samhain. A good time to die, Samhain. I think I’ll slip away tonight and join my Emmett. This poor innocent can help me on, sure he hasn’t a clue. It’s time I left, I’ll be a burden to no one. Big Red will be waiting for me anyway along with the many others he must have met by now. He must be raging, turning in his grave the ould bollox. Emmett took after me it seems, they all think I don’t know who that young one was at the funeral. I’m no eejit, wasn’t born yesterday. Indeed born too long. I’ll get him to up my dose sure he hasn’t a clue and a fine big whiskey and I’ll be off. Sure none of them will be back for ages. The deed will be done and all will be well with the world.

    “Are we here already? I was admiring Autumn. There’s something lovely in the way the trees celebrate their leaves falling by giving them so much colour. What do you mean like me? Oh, full of colour? Thought you were putting me in my grave early there Gary. Like my old self am I? Ah, maybe I’m havin’ a moment of clarity. Few and far between nowadays. Come in and have a hot one with me. I’ll get the whiskey and you reach up there to that high cabinet and get my tablets for me. How many? Oh I need 6 at night to help me sleep sure the pains are dreadful. Yes, yes 6.  What? It says 2 in the morning? Well, it’s only 2 in the morning but night time it’s 6, even 8 sometimes. Yeah I’m all cold and sore, maybe I’ll take 8 and then I’ll sleep like a baby. Here now is the whiskey, make me a good big one, I’m freezing. We’ll drink to my Emmett. I know you miss him too. Emmett made me great big hot ones, I know he had more of course while he made it but I turned a blind eye. I probably shouldn’t have. I’ll get ready for my bed while you make them.”

Thank God I don’t need help dressing. It won’t be long now til that will be taken from me too, well not if I can help it. No need for me to hang around anymore and sure it’s not suicide if someone else gives me the pills now is it? I’ll say my Rosary and go off to meet my maker. No doubt purgatory will be waiting for me, I was no Angel. Though I think I’ve done my time by now. There now, in my bed and safe and sound.

      “Gary you can bring that in here. I’m all set for the night now. Thank you, I’ll take them now. Good man. They’ll help me sleep like a little baby. Why do they say that? God, none of my babies ever slept. Sure stay with me and drink your whiskey and won’t you let me nod off before you go? I don’t like being alone really, though I am a while now. It won’t be long now, I’m awful tired.”

    “Emmett, love is that you? You look great. Younger, Such a handsome boy. Dear God is that your father behind you with the angry ould head on him. What do you mean you want to have some words with me, ya ould bollox, sure hadn’t I you to put up with?”