We collect coral from the sands of Lalomanu in Samoa where she died. We collect shells and pebbles from the beaches we visit – like this pink pebble from Ocean Beach near Strahan, Tasmania. We collect rocks from our bushwalks together.
We buy things as well – a red coral ring from Mexico – which I wear every day. Sometimes I bury items pushing them down into the ground to be with Clea – some cheap pearls we were given in Singapore – or I sprinkle silvery love heart shapes over her.
Some of these treasures we place around Clea’s photograph on top of the kitchen cupboard watching over us as we eat our breakfast, lunch or dinner. Mostly, we take the treasures to the cemetery.
We take these offerings to her grave along with the flowers her father grows for her in our garden. We scatter the petals from last week over her before placing the new flowers in the brass vase. We leave offerings of Easter eggs, birthday cupcakes and special loveheart-shaped ‘Clea’ biscuits with her on our weekly visits to the cemetery.
We all do it, not just me, not just Jorge but her brothers do it as well. They find things for Clea and take them to the cemetery. A rock painted silver in the shape of a heart which their psychologist gave them to grip onto and to keep them ‘grounded’.
Clea’s friends and cousins take her things as well – a Santa statue, Easter eggs, a toy cow. Clea’s friend, Laura, collects pinwheels which haven’t been very successful. They keep blowing away or being mown down by the cemetery gardeners. Now, she tells me she is collecting wind-socks. She has one ready.