Sometimes Grief

Sometimes grief slips out

When I am least aware.

Like when the person on the radio says something so relatable,

Or the book my child is reading makes a relevant point,

And I feel it well up inside of me.

Throat constricting, tears brimming, nose running.

Usually I feel it and think why?

Why should I care anymore, you have been gone so long?

I should be over this….

Even as the tears slide down my face, and I pretend like I still don’t care.

It doesn’t matter that you were not kind

That you had not the ability to be thoughtful

That you were too broken

To be a caring person

and

That we were not close those last years.

Estrangement does not loosen the grip of grief

Though it can make it difficult

To break down and walk through the stoney cold wall

That was built up for protection.

But every now and then it happens

The proper words, the forgotten song,

The right set and setting…

And only then the grief leaks out, in micro amounts.

A few tears spilling down my cheeks

Silent, heart aching, never ending

A quiet reminder

That you are still missed.

Only then, grief spills out.

 

 

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This is…

This is me, a baby crying in a crib

One night, all night…

It’s just a story, but somehow I remember

This is you, so relieved when it stops

I never cried out for you again.

*

This is me sitting in the dark space of my bedroom, after I called to see when you would be home

Counting minutes, 5:30, 5:31… 6:00 and you are not home

This is you, not knowing I was counting

Not knowing that 30 minutes of loneliness is just too many minutes.

*

This is you, going through great pain

And not knowing which direction to take

This is me, watching the family fall apart

And saying it was all okay with me

When the universe flung us away from each other, a family crumbling to pieces.

*

This is you, living a sort of new life

A new family, a new way of being in the world

This is me, coming home on weekends

Torn between an independent 15 year old’s life

And still wanting a family.

*

This is me, taking things too far

Dangerous behaviors in search of love

This is you, not answering my phone calls

Days, weeks without connecting

Not knowing if I remain in this world or somewhere else.

*

This is me, making myself sick, over and over again

Hopeless and anxious about the future

This is you, telling me to figure out

How hard can it be to take a bus somewhere and get help

For a deadly illness.

*

This is you coming back closer to me

Making amends

Trying to be the person I needed in that moment

This is me struggling to balance it all

Teetering on the edge.

*

This is you, saying goodbye to me

Who knew these would be the last real words face-face

This is me, running and pulling up my roots

Looking for someway out of the mess of the moment.

*

This is me, trying to connect with you

Phone calls unreturned

This is you, disowning me for an error not of making

Both of us preferring to not do the work to bring us back together.

*

This is me during our last phone call

Where I tell you I am pregnant and I want you in our lives

This is you two weeks later, on a ventilator

When the hospital calls to say your story is ending

And in minutes you take your last breath.

*

This is us, our last moments together in a physical space

Your body is already cold and your spirit has gone

See, yes, this is you

Flying away from me again, up to the heavens where you belong.

 

 

Of peace, war, fear, terror, and love

When I was a small child

and the bombs were flying and falling and bursting

I was not afraid.

That was, afterall, so far away

Also, my uncle was there

Dropping supplies from planes in Vietnam

And taking care of the world.

*

I grew up and was not afraid of the state of the world

I was too self involved

Until in high school, as we studied history, I began to see the reality of man.  I watched The Day After on TV, along with 100 million other people. Now I was afraid, for years to come I was terrified of nuclear war, and I would read about the what-if’s and the certain devastation. When the wall fell, well, those thoughts seemed to fall away a bit with that wall, torn apart by human hands. *After I graduated college,A certain President began the first middle east war, that I saw live on TV I would get drunk and high and try to understand itUntil I wrapped myself up in a ball of anxiety and fear”I will never bring children into a hate filled world”, where money and oil and consumerism fill our sad lives. He agreed with me. *And things escalate again some years later, they continue on, the things man does to manOklahoma bombings, 9-11, Iraq, AfghanistanSomewhere though along the way, I did want children, he did want childrenA family, to move toward peace, to share moments of joy, to create a new world. Children, the hope for a different future…. we can do this. *I shelter you now, your young brains, You know just a bit about the bombings, the killings, the shootingsYou hear on the radio and sometimes you see me cryBut you don’t watch, you never watch, you don’t see those imagesI take you to yoga, and pray for peace, and hold you tightly each nightOur own peaceful universe, one moment to the next. *I try not to worry, worry about you and the futureWorry about the world I will leave behind someday, for you to somehow manageI teach you about peace, and ease; I say these  words, spread that love, joy, friendship each dayWe are all just one familyAnd my faith in your prevails, to bring forth the peace and light into the world. There is no more choice to be afraid.

 

To the motherless

It’s going to be okay, my dear child

The wise woman whispered

Your mother is a part of you, and all around you

Just open your eyes to see her

See her everywhere.

Even if your mother is no longer,

No longer here in bodily form

Or was never there for you on this journey

You can see that she still is everywhere:

In the light that filters through the Spring leaves on the trees.

Twinkling from a star so far and yet so near.

In the wind that blows your hair around your head.

Between the musical notes of your favorite song.

In the eyes, nose, mouth that stare back at you from the mirror.

Through the way you laugh and smile when filled with joy.

In each wave crashing up from the ocean and landing briefly on the shore

Beaming brightly from a full rising moon

In every breath, as you breathe in the same oxygen molecules

that your mother inhaled while she carried you, safely, deep within her.

It’s all there, the mother you always wanted,

The mother you always needed.

She has been right here with you all along

She never left your side.

You may decide to no longer grieve this perceived loss of the mother

And you may decide to open your heart

To the beauty of the mother all around you.

Fear not, child, fear not

For you may decide to live

As if there is no such being

As a truly motherless child.

 

 

Will I Remember?

Sitting in this body

Trying on a different life

Slowly I remember

What it used to be like…

And I am not sure which is better or worse,

But I do know there are different ways to be.

I wonder if I can remember

Why I came here, where I am headed

What will I end up being

My impact on this earth.

I do remember that love and joy

Striving for peace

They are important, essential for all.

Will I remember

To put these into daily practice

To return again and again

Will I remember

That some things just don’t matter

As much as I think they do.

To love, live, find peace

To be with family and friends

To eat well and be loved

To enjoy this precious body.

These form the basis of remeberance

Of simple steps toward healing and growth.

So you may not remember me when I am gone

All I left done and undone

But I hope to leave behind

Some sort of memory of love

Of peace

Of joy

Of hope.

So that you might remember as well…

The child’s dark room

The box shaped room, it was so dark and empty

And yet the little girl went there day after day

Into that empty cold space of nothingness

And this is where she began to pray.

~

Dear God she would mumble

Please come and be with here with me

And she would cry while waiting

Wondering what she might see.

~

She had dreams of pink fairies, sweet lemonade

Contrasting frosty grey clouds with yellow sunny days

Green forests and emerald filled oceans

Her mind would journey in so many different ways.

~

The loneliness remained in the room, pervasive and real

And the girl how she suffered, sometimes withdrew

To question her existence, the gaping abyss

A child alone, loneliness being what she knew.

~

Though this time was quite painful

Seemingly an infinity, so disturbing and long

It was needed for her growth and change

It was the secret ingredient to her emerging song.

~

Don’t give in my dear lonely and lost children

Stuck in your empty, cold dark rooms

Don’t buy into the idea of the infinity of abyss

Don’t think of this as your own tomb.

~

I promise you now, if you can breathe and still learn

To sit, to be, to have infinite trust

That this deep darkness around you will pass

And into a life of light you will be thrust.

A cold and sunny day

It should be spring, a few days away

Bright sunshine burns

Through cold air

And lands on brown earth

~

And she lays on me, beside me

Breathing

Not breathing

She won’t be here on the equinox

~

But on this cold and sunny day

She lays quietly on a bed

In the sun

Covered in a towel

~

On this cold and sunny day

She is more then a cat to us

She is our baby, sister, daughter

She represents love, and cuddling

~

An angel, a messenger, dear friend

Who takes her last breath

And moves somewhere else

On this cold and sunny day.