Rain at midnight, and I lie awake listening to it: how, as a gardener, I have longed for the sound of rain.

And now, tonight, it speaks to me.

On this day a week ago I was scattering my brother’s ashes in a fine old midtown Toronto cemetery with many poignant memories for my family. I also scattered the ashes of my parents, which had been in safekeeping while my brother lived. I will never forget the weight or the whiteness, or that place, or the time. Throughout the night that followed, I was flying back to England. Strange for a Canadian to call England home, but after half my life, home is here.

And on this night, such profound solitude and grief. All that held me to the past is gone.

Dark night, dark rain, dark meditations. These are the lessons of life and death. Maybe it makes me a better writer. But the pupil is on her knees, and the lessons are harsh, so harsh.

Go in peace, beloved spirits.

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,
Nor the furious winter’s rages.
Thou thy worldly task has done.
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages.

Quiet consummation have, and renown’d be thy grave.


my father Frank, my mother Dorothy, Douglas, me, my brother Stan