May 31, 2017 by Petrea
Wilma Wednesday: Sticks
“Can I have a stick?” Wilma asks.
“Sure. How’s this one?”
I hand it to her. She takes it in her teeth, then sits.
“Aren’t you going to chew it?”
“Nngo.” (Her mouth is full.)
“What do you want it for?”
“Oor ny nenorial. Wk Mzz.”
I understand, and if she didn’t have a stick in her mouth, you would, too. She wants the stick for her memorial. She doesn’t know what that is, but she wants a memorial because Boz has one.
When Boz died—I can hardly believe it’s been three and a half years—a friend gave me some prayer flags. I tied them onto an old bench in the yard. Because Boz liked to chew sticks I would toss a stick onto the bench whenever I found one. I still do. The bench has become Boz’s memorial. As the pile grows and the flags fade, the bench is breaking down with the weight. You could say it’s the weight of memory and grief, but it’s good. As I throw the sadness off myself and onto the pile, grief goes. Memory stays. So we have a memorial to Boz that doesn’t make us sad.
“Wilma, you don’t like sticks, do you?”
“Boz has a memorial because he’s gone. You’re here, so you don’t need a memorial.”
Relieved, Wilma spits out her stick with a “cack.” Then she trots away in pursuit of something, it doesn’t matter what.