Tiaan had already handed me his favourite matchbox car - "For Pappa to play with in heaven". Anja drew a picture. It's a few colourful lines, but it's her goodbye and I carefully fold it before putting it in the pocket of his shirt. Alani is too small. She can't know yet how to say goodbye, what to offer. Instead I cut a small curly, the curls he loved so much, and put it in an envelope also tucked in his pocket.
I find it strange that I am even doing this. Words fill the page. Words of love and tears fall there too, as I do my best to express my love for the one I lost on a small sheet of paper. Strange that I now don't remember what I said except for knowing that it was all that I could offer at the time.
Earlier that day I had ironed his shirt for the last time and now I placed all these goodbyes in the top pocket before sending it to the morgue. Lastly I add a photo of the kids taken at Christmas.
These things, tokens, were buried with him. Held in the pocket over his heart. I know, with my head, that they don't matter. This body is now but an empty shell. But my heart is comforted that we did something, something, to say goodbye.
I woke this morning with this memory, fresh like it was only yesterday. I wonder why today. I don't know, but today it matters again that in the craziness of that week with dozens of people pouring into the house, we still took the time to do something to say goodbye.