Ponderings from a Procrastinating Prognosticator

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.

3 Responses to “GRIEF – Part 1”

  1. Thank you for sharing this. It’s not always easy to show things that kick this hard at something painful. Very moving. Thank you.

  2. Mere said

    This hurt to read. Which is a good sign. Or rather, a sign of goodness. Well done, indeed.

  3. samatwitch said

    Thank you both. It still hurts for me to read more than 24 years later.

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