Ponderings from a Procrastinating Prognosticator

Archive for November 19th, 2011

GRIEF – Part 1

Posted by samatwitch on November 19, 2011

Some of my writing is very personal – especially ones I’ve written about death. This is a poem I wrote after my mother died which I entered in international poetry contest and for which I won an Honourable Mention.


Wet, salty,
Running down my face,
Silently, leaving red eyes,

Some people can cry quietly,
Delicately, even daintily.

Not me.
Even as a child,
Just being close to tears
Would leave my cheeks red & blotchy,
My eyes swollen,
My nose plugged up.

I cry easily over little things –
An ad on TV, a family reuniting,
A lost cat –
But other times I hold the tears in
Until finally they gush out in a torrent
Of unstoppable weeping,
Loud sobs wracking my body until I am exhausted.

I cried for several days for each of my cats –
Miss Molly who was killed by a car,
Matilda who was killed by a racoon,
and most of all for my oldest cat, Samantha.
I cried when I made the decision
To have her put to sleep,
And I cried until she died in my arms.
Sometimes I still cry for the loss
Of my twenty-two year companion.

After my mother’s memorial service,
I didn’t cry for her for three years.
Not until my favourite uncle,
My mother’s youngest brother,
Also died of cancer.

Then one night, I was listening
To my tape of Les Miserables
Before I went to sleep.
When Fantine sang her death song,
I started to cry and couldn’t stop.

I cried for the loss of my mother,
For the loss of my uncle,
For the grandchildren my mother
Would never see.
I cried for my loneliness and fear
That I would always be alone,
Never having someone to share my joy and pain with.

In my dreams I would shout angrily
At my mother,
Going through all the aspects of grieving
That I did not – and could not –
Allow myself to do while she was dying.

During that time, she told me I was her rock,
The one person who would not fall apart on her.
And I fulfilled my purpose,
Sharing intimate moments
In the darkness of the night.
Not true darkness, for it is never truly dark
In a hospital,
And never truly quiet.

There are always noises to be heard,
Some identifiable –
The soft padding as a nurse walks by,
The squeaky wheel on the meds tray,
The ding of a patient’s call button,
The muted ringing of the phone at the nurses’ station.

Then there are the unidentified noises –
Strange creaks and groans,
Swishes, thumps and bangs,
As I lay on the narrow cot,
Trying not to move,
Trying not to make my own noise –
That loud crackling of the plastic cover
On the hospital’s mattress pad –
While I lay awake,
Trying not to think
Of what life would be like when this was over,
And succeeding only because it was
The only option.

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