In the photo, my father's standing tall and handsome, young still, dark haired, clean shaven. He's wearing a suit. He looks down towards the ground. One arm holds a tiny white coffin on his shoulder. The other lifts to steady it. He's walking, one foot is in front of the other.
I know the place - Oscott Cemetery. I know the walk from the car park, under the trees, along the gravel path, then between the rows of graves.
I imagine his lonely walk to the open grave - the new grave, bought for this day - lonely steps. Shouldering his grief.
The year, I think, is 1957, maybe '58. My father would have been in his twenties - maybe 27. My mother was still in hospital, unconscious for days after the birth. My oldest brother just two years old.
It's years since I last saw the old black and white photo, but it came to me in a rush tonight. Feeling his steps. All that is lost carried in a small white box.