She peers through the black lace roses veiling her face and her grief, as tears, as big as pearls, roll down her face. She looks around the Byzantine church and cannot see the ikons through the tears and lace. Nothing is recognisable anymore. She examines the faces as the procession parades past her. Who are these people? How had they known her husband?
Hundreds of candles and Frankincense fumes overpower her. She sways as she tries to hold on to her son’s hand. Her knees give way and she crumples to the ground as her son screams out and mourners gather around her.
She was alone now and without a safety net. How would she go on without him? When would she smile again? What would she say to the children? How would she find the strength to stand up and face life without him?
Her mother rushes to her side and offers to take the infant. “Here, let me take him. Are you okay? Do you want some air? Let me help you,” says her long suffering mother, herself a widow. She lets her take the boy and she slides down into the seat.
She scans the church, embarrassed that everyone has witnessed her falling apart. Two of her Aunts shake their heads, tsk, tsk and whisper, “How will she ever cope on her own? How will she keep the house now?”
She looks down at her black lace dress with its interlocking roses linked by an opalescent snail trail and wonders if she’ll ever wear white lace again. She remembers the white French Chantilly lace she’d worn only seven years ago with a bittersweet smile. Now she was lost in a forest of black roses, holding her back and wrapping her up in the net that bound her pain and suffering, scratching at her senses and pricking at her soul.
Everything she saw through the lace veil was covered in the roses: her children’s faces, the sky, the trees, everything. The world was wrapped up in lace mesh trapping her forever in a dark, dark world of never-ending mourning.
He was gone and now it was black.
He was gone and she was trapped in the dark net of widowdom.
He was gone and there would only be black lace for her now.