When I Leave You Behind



1. Unravel my knit sweaters, starting with the one Sam surprised me with on our honeymoon in the south of Ireland. Crochet the kinked wool into an enormous afghan, so he has something to hide himself under when the mourners are gone and life wants to return to normal.


2. Plant daffodil bulbs on the bedroom windowsill and butterfly amaryllis in the wine barrels outside the kitchen. When spring comes, their buds will pierce the soil and the cloud around Sam’s soul. In the summer, the edges of the fallen petals will compost with his sorrow.


3. Pre-order books filled with stories of survival and wanting, death and depression, so Sam knows he’s not alone. Highlight the phrases he needs to pay attention to–the words I’d yell, demand and whisper. The hard things nobody will have the balls to say to him in my absence.


4. Compile playlists of our favourite songs. Assemble each mix to follow the stages of grief in tempo and beat, ending on an upswing. Stash the iPod in Sam’s top drawer, along with the leftover bottles of wine from our impromptu road trip to Sonoma, so he’s able to cry without a cork to stop him.


5. Fill chest freezer with homemade bread, pumpkin chili and salted caramel ice cream. Fold short notes inside wax paper and tuck them throughout the food, so he never has to dine alone.


6. Carve our initials into the arbutus tree which the rope swing hung from in high school. The one Sam climbed when he asked me out for the first time, before falling into my arms below when I said yes.


7. Purchase memorial bench to place near the ocean’s edge, so Sam has somewhere to sit when visiting my ashes. Have a plaque engraved which says, I’ll Always Be Here When You Come Back and screw it to the planks.


8. Clean out the medicine cabinet, the glovebox and the basket on top of the fridge so Sam doesn’t try to follow me into the dark.




 Jennifer is a number nerd by day, word fiddler at night. She enjoys dark, salty chocolate and running top speed in the other direction.


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Cover Photo: www.ruffrootcreative.com