On the 30th of April 1966

Some strange men carried dad’s coffin

We threw in some dirt and bricks

I was 13

You were 16

And Mum was going on 5

And Dad just died and left us

And none of the family survived.

There was nobody there to talk to

Nobody wanted to know

And we were two young girls flowering

But we lost the will to grow.

What do you do when there’s nobody there?

What do you do with your pain and despair?

You bang your head on a brick wall

And try to pull out your hair.

We were unprepared

And no one cared

We were dealing with Death

Under our breath.

Cos Death makes everyone scared.

Friends and relations studied the floor

Promised money and help

Then we heard no more.

Mum was a widow of status bereft

So they all had a drink and then they left.

A few days later the Vicar came to call

Mumbling something about sin and The Fall

He said “He could be saved but then he could be damned”

And Mum said, “Thanks very much”

And shook his hand.

And the anger rose and the anger fell

 Dad went to Heaven and we went to Hell

Cos there was nobody there to guide us

There was nobody knew who could tell.

And Death is a subject that nobody takes at school

I felt like a leper and sat on my own as a rule

Nobody likes a young girl whose dad’s just died

No one sits next to a young girl

When it’s Death that sits at her side.

And the anger raged and I let it grow

To cover my sorrow so no one would know

I was unprepared

And no one cared

I was dealing with Death

 Under my breath

Cos Death makes every-one scared.


Six long months it took him to die.

I withdrew my love so he wouldn’t see me cry

I hated his sight I hated the wait

I hated God I hated my fate.

And when he finally died

And I finally cried

I embraced the guilt

With a daughter’s pride.

I never once told him I loved him

And that was the cross I would bear

For now I could never tell any other man

Cos that just wouldn’t be fair!

Because of cognitive dissonance

It took me decades to see

That the reason I never told him

Is because he had never told me

There were no rites of passage –

No way we could ever move on

Dad just lay still in his coffin

And we cried and tried to sing a few songs.

And the anger returned day after day

To cover the sorrow that would not go away

We were unprepared

 And no one cared

We were dealing with Death

 Under our breath

Cos Death makes everyone scared.

On the 30th of April 1966

It was a day we would both remember

It was the day that our fate was fixed

For every valiant man who tried for our hand

We unconsciously pushed them away.

When you’ve seen Love and Death

Share the same breath

You’re shut out from the rites of May.

© Felicity Buirski 27th September 1992


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