Tag Archives: sadness

My Grandfather Who Lingers Still

grandfather

At breakfast he sits just across

from the coffee cups and pats of butter,

elbows propped on either side of an empty

placemat while I flip through a magazine.

 

And then I am winding down with the

sun that hugs me through our bay window,

while he is swaying hello from the maple tree

with the shade that falls in and out like an eager child.

 

He turns down the bed and tells me

the same story of his childhood while I

brush my teeth and close the curtains,

routinely kiss the photo of him on the nightstand.

 

He touches my face, my grandfather

who lingers still, and I don’t feel it but I can.  

Either way there is a warmth I can’t explain;

he leaves me love letters in my dreams.

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This is How You Grieve Him

With aging photos, phone calls planning dinner,

with the same story of the same diner pancakes

on countless Sundays that you never finished, but

were allowed to order anyway.

 

With your great aunt in the hospital hallway

being selfish as usual, with your father in the

hospital hallway with circles under his eyes

the size of dinner plates, dirt in the brim of

his baseball cap, sipping coffee and watching

his father die.

 

You grieve him with the counting of his breath

like the anticipation between lightning and thunder,

with laughter you managed to scrape from the very

bottom of your lungs.

 

With yoga, with a glass of milk, with quick,

quiet crying in the cereal aisle of the supermarket.

 

You line up sympathy cards like paper trinkets

on the mantel, and you grieve because they grieve for you.

 

You grieve without sadness too, the first time you’re able

to say you lost him without hunching your shoulders.

 

With every look at your rounding belly,

the shape of some new world without him in it

except he is, in the still unknown face of your son.

 

Over coffee, over breakfast, over a good book,

watching your favorite television show, paying

for an ice cream, kissing your husband goodnight,

brushing your hair.

 

You grieve him in any way, in every way, in light and dark,

your grandfather.

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Heirlooms

You left us quietly,
    an open window, a love note, a door ajar.

Mother called and I was already waking
from a half-sleep, when she said it I tried to
keep from biting down on the bathroom tile.

I won’t know how long it took you
    but it was
         two minutes
for my hair to all turn gray,
my bones to turn to ash in the sheets,
my husband to sift through the mess and find me,
pull me close.

I curled like paper to a flame,
    tied a silk ribbon around my lungs and
tried my best to keep the night quiet.

I was searching the ceiling expecting to see you there
like some death novel, a holy farewell before
you were smoked out like a criminal.

In the hospital I held your face
                  like an heirloom.

You kissed my cheek
like I’d done good and I felt
me grow a little older.

I am wearing at my fingers
    like skipping stones from our mountain days
so I won’t forget
how your skin felt in my hands
with life still behind it.

I’ll keep busy,
learning to tie knots in my heart
                         to fill the void,
                         to keep from aging.

Promise me

you’ll pour a glass and
open the curtain
     from time to time
if only to check,
if only to whisper hello
with a smile.

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my gorgeous sanity

well

 

 

life had once been defined by linears and absolutes,

.                                                                                             those

oh

so

determined

swatches of        time .

 

stacked like   esteemed leaders

in golds and blues

 

once, i’d been able to

drag them to the

middle

of the living room,

fan them out like

beautiful tarot cards,

.                                        close my eyes,

choose some wonderful thing

at random.

 

then one morning the

sun

came

up

but everything           was

.                                        dull,

gray like rain,

still as death,

and i was                 barren.

 

i ran to the closet

.                                   in the hall

tore past

coats

board games

orange rain boots .

 

but they were already         gone

my gorgeous sanity

 

those delicate

patterns

of some life.

 

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Ridin’ the Rollercoaster

I keep finding it – or, rediscovering it – for periods of time, only to have it ripped from my grasp once again. I’m finding it in the tiniest of things this week: a hot shower, my favorite lotion that smells of cherry blossoms, a favorite television show, a kiss on the forehead. When it comes to me, I struggle to keep my arms wrapped tightly around it, but it always squirms and gets away again.

I’m focusing now on happy thoughts; of a future filled to the brim with love.

How does one wake up one morning and look in the mirror, only to barely recognize the person staring back at them? I’ve been avoiding mirrors lately. I never was one for confrontation.

The person I was – I am – is trying to push through this. She wants to continue on with the wonderful life she has in front of her. She wants to exercise, and write, and laugh and smile. This alternate being that has replaced her barely ever has a smile on its face. It is the polar opposite of the sunny person it currently overshadows.

I’ve started to give myself pep talks. Has anyone else ever done this? When I can bare to stare into the mirror for longer than 10 seconds, or when I am alone in the car or elsewhere, I list, out-loud, all of the positive things in my life, as well as positive things about myself.

A few examples:

1. You are blessed with a man that loves you. Cherishes you. Would throw a lasso around the moon for you. Is handsome and funny and deeply, deeply caring. Don’t ever forget it.

2. You have lost weight, you have come a long way, you should be proud of your accomplishments. And – even when you’d rather stay in bed, get your butt to the gym and sweat it out. Don’t forget how stress-relieving a good workout can be. It may be the solution you’re searching for.

3. Eat. You. Must. Eat. Praise yourself for each meal you give to your body. It will reward you with comfort and less stress.

4. You are not alone. You are not crazy! Others – as you have seen and been told – have gone through this before. Do not be afraid, or be laden with guilt. Guilt will only make you feel much worse. You’ve done nothing to feel guilty about.

5. You are caring. You are needed. You are wanted and loved. You are capable of making others happy, and making yourself happy, and being a full blown adult. Do not let your past creep up on you. It is simply that: the past. You are an adult making adult decisions. Things are different. So very, very different. (In a good way.)

Sadness, depression, anxiety…they make some want to go into a childlike mode, which is what it has been doing to me. You crave a parental force-field to lift you up out of whatever nonsense is going on in your head. And hearing your own mother tell you “it’s normal” can make a big difference.

I’m still trying, but I’m getting better. Surrounding myself with family is the best gig for me right now. It’s still a struggle to leave the house, but soon I’ll be able to do it without wanting to run right back inside. It’s like rediscovering how to make your way in the world. Scary stuff.

Thank you to everyone for the support. It’s put a real smile on my face.

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