They stood, a father and a son, the distance separating them used to be filled by a woman and now she was gone.
He had been the bread-winner leaving the parenting to her. He had worked 2 jobs so they could survive and have their small home by the beach. She stayed at home to raise their son. He loved him, but he knew so little about him, even less about how to be his father and mother rolled into one.
He stood there, wondering if his father could fill the gap his mother's death had left. His dad was always at work, and his mum had been the one to tend his scrapes, to read him stories, to put him to bed. She was the one that woke him with a song in the morning, making him breakfast long after his father had left for work.
They both looked out to sea, the place where she loved to come, to swim, to relax. How many times had she streaked out into the water leaving them both to watch from the shore - each near each other but not connected.
She was the one that made the family unit complete, and now she was gone.
And so they stood, next to each other but not together. Each deep in their thoughts, each missing her in their own way.
He missed her completing his whole, he missed her in his bed, he missed her advice and support.
He missed her completing his whole, he missed her putting him to bed, he missed her caring and support.
The two of them so much alike, missing her so much and afraid to reach out to the other because she was no longer there to connect them.
As the sun set, the father finally reached out his hand and it was grasped by his son. They turned their backs on the beautiful sunset, her ashes had long washed out to sea, and they walked back to their house by the beach.
She smiled, knowing that each of them had it within themselves to make this work. She longed to be with them still, but looking down, she knew that she was the glue that would keep them together even though she was no longer here.