Monday, 16 October 2017

Smiffie



I’ll never forget Jean or ‘Smiffie’ as she was affectionately known.  There was little knowledge of her past bar that she had been institutionalised at eleven, seemingly for promiscuous behaviour and spent the majority of her remaining life in a psychiatric hospital.  She came to us in her mid-fifties and was instantly adored by staff and fellow residents alike.  

She was damaged of course and had frantically hung on to a certain kind of sanity by inventing a husband whom she talked to often.  She also adored cats and loving her as I did; I gave her a cat ornament that was very special to me, but she was more special. 

I will never forget her funeral.  Having no relatives her burial was provided by the city.  Torrential rain had created a puddle into which her casket was lowered, even death held no dignity for her, and I was heartbroken.

Sky full of sadness,
rains a cascade of teardrops,
a sorrowful parting.

Anna :o]

Bjorn at dVerse has us writing a haibun, its theme being that of water and above is my offering.  Cheers Bjorn!

Image:  Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Author:    Pridatko Oleksandr

14 comments:

Frank Hubeny said...

That was a beautiful description of Jean, a nice remembrance.

Grace said...

A moving and loving tribute to your friend Anna. Sorry about your loss. I can understand about that sky full of sadness.

Glenn Buttkus said...

The image of her sad casket being lowered into a flooded grave is powerful. Symbolically, she came from fluid, as we all came from the sea, and returned to the water immediately; positive spin, smile.

kaykuala said...

Most poignant and most sad Anna! She had not had a 'home' which was a pity. Even the weather pursued her right to the end. Great writing!

Hank

brudberg said...

This for me tells a story of how you lock some people away.., imagine what that can do to someone at the age of eleven... not even in death she would be spared.

Vivian Zems said...

So sad. Your haiku defined the emotion of your story.

ADDY said...

How sad. It always distresses me that people were institutionalised for what we would nowadays consider the wrong thing to do. Single mothers for example were locked away in asylums for decades, whereas nowadays they get a council house and benefits! Such a sad ending for Jean too. Or maybe the heavens wept for her.

MNL (Cactus Haiku) said...

Very sad. Lovely haiku and what you wrote about her. My favorite bit is the cat ornament and that she is remembered. From what you write, she did not become an angry bitter person which so many would have under those circumstances. She became someone who was "adored" by the few people who could meet and know her. That says a lot about her.

annell said...

This is a sad story, but she was loved.

colleen Looseleafnotes said...

The world weeping. I feel it.

Nosaint said...

You give Smiffie dignity by your remembrance of her. I found this to be a very compelling read- what a great character she would be to build on for a short story!

Sabio Lantz said...

indeed, a sad, sorrowFULL departing. Sad but real (and probably common) picture.

Sara McNulty said...

Such a sad life. She was lucky to have people like you to soften it somewhat.

Martin said...

I feel with you, and it is honourable that you immortalise her with your words.
And, in a way, death can be dignity.