She always took the photos, I did the riding and the words. It kind of worked, even if I thought she looked better in front of the camera, and wrote better words than I did. 

She's not here anymore, so I took the photos. They weren't as good as she would get, neither technically, nor with the eye for beauty in the small things. I uploaded them to my laptop, finally maxing out its meagre memory thanks to a lazy  "maybe tomorrow" approach to file management.

I dug out the external drive. Still neatly split into "TOM" and "JENN". Jenn's half packed full of pictures and words, all neatly tucked away in their very own electronic home. Tom's half as ordered as my physical memory feels sometimes. So many moments that I'm not ready to file away, swirling around, within touch, but further away than ever. 

I open a folder, "personal". Within it sits little notes from when we first met, full of optimism, fear, a future. A future we enjoyed, that was everything it should have been, that was meant to be so much more than we were given. The words cut deep and clean. Tears flow like blood. Warm, viscous, vicious. It hits. I miss looking forward. I miss those first few months... learning about each other, each day an indulgent adventure in sharing ourselves. I miss the last few months, bonds stronger than ever, a shared history if not a shared future anymore. 

I open one more file. "Wedding". As the title suggests, they are a short extract we asked my Dad to read at our wedding ceremony. They were from a book by Jim Perrin; West. It is simply a beautiful, moving and poetic description of loss and mourning. One which Jenn encouraged me to read. One which left me disarmed and gave me solace. It was a book that had pencil underlining, little scribbles and asterisks. It called for a second or third reading, for dwelling on single sentences or words as well as the picture they painted. I looked for it after Jenn had died. I could picture the spine sitting on our higgledy-piggledy shelves, sagging under the weight of letters, words, paragraphs, chapters. There was no order in the chaos. We liked it that way. The book wasn't there. I searched some more, until I eventually had to accept it was lost, for now at least. Maybe it wasn't the right time. Maybe I wasn't yet ready. 

This was the extract we chose. I'm trying to cling on to the small moments and simple things.

If I were to attempt to describe every one of the experiences we shared in the natural world during this spring season, it would become like an illuminated psalter, each account a hymn to some new aspect of natural beauty, and to her beauty as it reflected there. The ease and the joy were a continual rapture. We came to a state of such mutual ease that there was seldom need for words. Her hand was in mine, and the world was perfect.

How can something be “perfect” if it is to end prematurely and in sadness? Love takes the ordinary and turns it into something precious and worthwhile.

Even the shortest path has many steps along it and the easiest climb has many increments. If it doesn’t seem that there are enough feet in an ascent to satisfy, then think in inches - and in fractions of inches if that is what it takes to find the wonder.

Every one of these moments has the potential to give us something amazing - and that is what makes life perfect, even when it seems to be anything but.

Find beauty in the smallest moments and the simplest things: sunlight on wet rooftops, washing dishes, garden birds, familiar gestures passed from father to son. Hold hands often, give kisses willingly. Start every day the same, no matter how turbulent or mind-numbing the hours to come promise to be; tea in one cup, coffee in another, hugs and biscuits if there are some left in the tin, just hugs if there are not. Always be open to the idea of an adventure, however large or small. And, above all, feel lucky. Life - and love - is incredible, even - and perhaps especially - when it hurts.
— Jim Perrin - West: A Journey Through the Landscapes of Loss


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