Since my father-in-law's death, we've needed to cut back on the farm's herd. It's too much to handle, with the pub and auctioneer biz. So today the husband delivered cattle to the mart, to be sold this afternoon. He returned, melancholy, dejected even. Washing the muck off his wellies, he commented, "The end of an era." Later the sister-in-law responded to my WhatsApp message: "I cried on the drive to school thinking about it." When the cows are sold and the receipts scrutinised, the mother-in-law said, "Ah, the poor aul bull is gone."
I think of Sam, Tommy, Dad. The regret of things not done in time. To have gone down to Sam before he was injured. To attempt another conversation, stilted and awkward, with Tommy, in the hope of understanding each other. To hear Dad's voice again. To fix things so as to improve the story of our lives together. Altruistic? Probably not. I might only be seeking to alleviate my guilt.