Still in my heart retain her wonted place

Yet is remembrance of those virtues dear,
   Yet fresh the memory of that beauteous face;
Still they call forth my warm affection’s tear,
   Still in my heart retain their wonted place.

In the eastern outskirts of Athens, there is a neighbourhood named after Lord Byron. On the eponymous cemetery, my wife lays buried. I have always found it fitting that the final resting place of the woman who taught me to love poetry is named after a poet.

The cemetery is a happy place, where the hills and trees look after her and the stray cats keep her company. I don’t go there very often, but when I do, standing next to her grave always does more to me than I expected.

Today, a service was held to commemorate the anniversary of her passing. She didn’t die until the 18th, but as she took almost six days to die, any day of that week would have done. This just worked out best.

As I entered the church and saw her photo on the altar ─ the one in which she laughs a very happy laugh ─ I suddenly got overwhelmed with emotions and cried louder that I think I have done since last summer.

It was great.

I felt very connected to her in a way that I haven’t always done in the past year. I missed that connection when I was trying to live an easy, care-free life, or when I was pretending to myself to be further ahead than I really was.

Now I realised that as long as I remain true to myself, I will always be connected to her, wherever in the world I am and whatever happens in my life.

I will always carry her in my heart.

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