The time came for the Child to know loss and then grief became his constant companion. For many long nights, it tore at his throat, howled through his sleep and whispered endlessly into his waking moments. At times The Old Man held him and rocked him through his pain. At other times he stood by and waited patiently as the Child hit out against him and screamed at him in hatred.
Finally the Child lay, spent and empty, on the rocks of the lonely road. The Old Man lay down beside him and wrapped the Child's broken body in strong arms. Through the turning of many tides, they stayed there until, finally, the Child began to speak.
“What if I forget?” he whispered. “What if I stop remembering her? What if her voice isn’t the first thing I think of when I wake up? What if the smell of her stops clinging to my skin? What I can’t find her anymore?”
“My Child,” The Old Man replied, “Her body is gone and for the rest of your time on this path, you will not hold her again. But look around you; she is not far away. Whenever you play with your children, you will find the laughter you shared. Whenever you find stillness at the end of a busy day, she will come to sit with you. Whenever you search deep inside yourself for your courage and your faith, you will see that she is woven into the fabric of your being. Child, she is part of you; you will never have far to go to find her.”
The Old Man sat the Child on the roadside and together they looked at the path stretching before them.
“See Child,” said the Old Man, “This path is long; there are many mountains to climb and the going will be hard. The rocks will make you fall and the darkness will hide the way forward from you. But look far ahead; what do you see?”
The Child looked far into the distance, far past the rocks and valleys to the mountains reaching towards the sky. He could see the snow on the tops stained with yellow light.
“I see the beginning of a new day.” He answered.
The Old Man smiled.
“This is where we are going,” he said. “And once we are there, you will find peace. For now, however, this is your path and you must walk it. As time passes, you will find your steps easier and the ground will work with you. Until then, Child, I will carry you.”
And with that, the Old Man gathered the Child in his arms and together they set off towards where the new born sun was grasping the sky.