After my death, I lingered on in the shadow of my family’s lives. My father came home an hour after my death, and found Robert and Caroline trying to hide my body in the folds of the covers in my comfortable cage. He was so angry that his face was a fiery red in a split second. My ashamed siblings headed for the door, but the powerful influence of my father blocked their passage.
He told them to get out and never come back into the vicinity of Leicestershire for the remainder of their days. How he would enforce this was beyond my knowledge, but just the instruction made them run for their lives. I was surprised that my father didn’t strike them, but he was always a reasonable man. He would never add injury to any situation, even though his whole family had deserted him in the space of 6 months.
He was the only spectator at my funeral, and I was buried next to my mother, in the shadow of a Silver Birch planted behind my headstone, which read “William James Browning, 6 months, 1885” The tree was planted in my honour, as it would live longer than I ever did.
He never re-married, my father, as he was always loyal to his departed wife. When he finally passed away, aged 65, he was buried on the other side of me, so that my parents were protecting me after death.
My siblings, however, fled to London to spend the rest of their lives in poverty. My brother was a conscript and died at the Somme. My sister, unable to pay for a proper headstone, had his initials carved on one. She died 2 years later, and was buried in the same plot, so the gravestone now reads “R.B., C.B.”.We are all united, as we are buried in my hometown of Quorndon, but my siblings plot is far away from mine. I only truly died when Caroline did, as there was no longer a family for me to shadow.