The troubles of the world as we know it, are now a constant in our life at present, with Covid and its new variant Delta sweeping the world, which will never be the same again. Gone are the things we have taken for granted all our lives, like getting on an aircraft and flying wherever we wish in the world to new and hereto unknown adventures! Now, I for one have a distinctly negative reaction to getting into an aluminium tube and flying for 22hrs with filtered potential Covid. This has in effect greatly reduced my desire to take up where I left off doing consultancy work around the world.
Chatting with a stranger is resisted; why would you take the risk whilst there are so many who chose not to protect themselves or others. It is easy to become totally distracted by the day to day matters which surround us and overlook some of the nice things in our life. To put this into perspective, it should be of concern that as family members, elders do tend to overlook the young enquiring minds of our children and in my case granddaughters. I have two small ones in New Zealand and two older granddaughters in Northern Ireland.
Madeleine my 16 year old in Northern Ireland is about to join a prestigious college in the UK, which dates back 450 years, created to help the less fortunate of those times to get an education, and now a seat of learning with a prestigious history. Madeleine has worked industriously to gain a place at the college following in her older sister’s footsteps and recently was tasked with writing a creative essay based on a provided photo as part of her English entry exam which allowed her 55 minutes to conceive and write.
I was fortunate to acquire a copy of her essay and I have decided to publish it in appreciation of a thoroughly modern 16 year old’s thought process and as a historic document to remind me just how fast young people grow up into thinking adults.
RED ROSES by Madeleine
Whistling. The wind swirls around me. My skin feels tight as the cold air bites me. My fingertips are numb, but I still clench onto the perfect red rose between my palms. Nothing in this world is sweet anymore, everything feels bitter, like biting into a sour lemon. I lean back onto the bench, as if it’s a crutch to support me. I look up to the sky and see the moon and all the stars lending me soft moonlight. A tear starts to form in the corner of my eye; I have to be strong, it’s what she would have wanted. As the rose starts to sway gently in the breeze, my memories rush back.
As I stepped closer to the end of the corridor, chills shivered down my spine. It had felt as if I was walking in a kaleidoscope. I felt dizzy and could see stars. The walls were moving closer to enclose me, like a fly in a Venus Fly Trap. I breathed in. As I exhaled the hallway stopped spinning and nearly everything was quiet, nearly everything. I could hear quiet, pitiful mumbles, the buzz of the air conditioning, and the constant bleeping of all the patient’s heart monitors. I couldn’t care less about any other patient’s lives, only my Rose’s. She was all that mattered.
I stepped over the threshold and immediately had felt a shockingly cool gust of air. I knew I was going to leave this room the same way I entered it; alone. Six or seven nurses were gathering around the bed panicking. There lay my Rose. My precious daughter. My world. As each nurse left her side, I received a sorrowful expression. ”Say your goodbyes”. My heart dropped into my stomach, until that moment I didn’t fully believe that this was the end. All voices around me started to echo, my brain couldn’t relax.
“Papa” Her voice was soft and soothing. My eyes were drawn to her weak hand, reaching out for me. Fingers like matchsticks, hands as white as sheets. She was shaking slightly. She had told me how scared she was, but I reassured her that she was going to be okay. My body filled with guilt as I knew I was lying. She looked up at me in pain, her dark brown eyes were bloodshot, under her eyes were dark and her face was gaunt. Within minutes her breaths became further and further apart. I clenched her hand, hers was sweating. I remembered wanting to reassure her but knowing nothing I did or said would change her fate. With her last dying breaths she whispered for me to open the window as she wanted to smell the flowers and earth outside. I stepped away to push open the glass pane. As I slowly turned back to her, she smiled and took a deep breath in. She exhaled slowly, her eyes closed and her body relaxed.
As I sat holding her limp body in my arms I sobbed. Rose was losing heat and her body became stiff. Her last wish was to smell the roses outside - but I couldn’t even do that for her.
Gently I brushed her silky brunette hair behind her ears, then softly kissed her sweet forehead. She looked peaceful for the first time in years; her petite, innocent eight-year old body was not strong enough to fight the cancerous disease. It wasn’t fair, I watched her for what felt like hours, wanting to believe she would wake up. But she didn’t. This evil illness had taken over my child’s body.
My eyes open. I breathe. My head is resting in my palms. I look up towards the beautiful two by four metre patch of red roses, still surviving in the frosty air. Six feet below lies my beautiful Rose, in a white satin dress, resting peacefully for all eternity. I look back at my rose in my hands. As a tiny tear rolls slowly down my cheek, a petal gently floats towards the cold frozen ground beneath my feet.
I hope you enjoyed RED ROSES as much as I did.
A very proud Grandpa.
Trevor Rogers is a former Member of Parliament, serving two terms from 1990 to 1996.