Another day without you.

Bitter, the absence of you, the taste of loss in my mouth.

Missing you so it feels my soul will break apart.

Just a box of you on the mantle in the living room,

a trace of you, but not.

I don’t know yet how to mine the beauty of your life,

to find the traces of silver,

threaded through the bedrock of your suffering.

That, at least, is over now my love.

The mourning dove sings from the rooftop,

while crows caw and chase away the night.

The memory of you cuts deeply,

etched into the landscape of my being.

Another day without you has begun.

 

Wanting mind

The wanting mind, always present, always asking

for things, so many things.

Intricately entwined in our DNA, our genes,

part of survival, instinctual, incessant.

Comprehending it is relatively simple,

but hearing it, the ceaseless nagging of it,

wears away at any state of contentment.

That is it’s job, to keep asking and asking

for things it can and cannot have.

And ours to deny it, to soothe it like a troubled child

and to sometimes say “Yes,” this time, “yes.”

Solitude

IMG_2163.jpgSome grief requires solitude.

An interval to withdraw from social norms and attempt to heal in silence the breech carved through you.

Words, speech, even listening is hard. The effort required to perform simple tasks, to risk reaching out, even to your most trusted loved ones is unbearable. Because they know.

They know your heart is ripped open, gushing sorrow. Their compassion and love make it even more real.

For their hearts are also broken. They too have lost a beloved.

Love, how the ache of it’s loss can overpower you. The longing for it so deep and impenetrable. The absence that will forever be a companion for us now.

A part of me that was good and true, has vanished, but the memories of it, of you, Dan, are all around me.

Please forgive me my dear ones if you find me mute. My body needs time to regenerate, to weave a soft spot to fill the hole promised to me all those years ago. You know that I love you, that I know you are also in pain and with what remains of my tattered heart I am with you.

What dreams?

What dreams trouble your rest, dear heart?

Are you dreaming of the spinal tap, so long ago? The endless needle sticks for labs and iv’s? Of the Lifeflights, the ambulance rides? Are you dreaming of the surgeries and the long recoveries? The gasping for breath, reaching out your hands for air you could no longer pull into your lungs alone?

Wait. You sighed.

Maybe you are at Disney World, still able to walk. Or are you in your go-kart? (The one your brother always stole) Are you feeling Albert and Annie snuggled near you in your beds? Three darling, little ones tucked into a corner bedroom. Or maybe you are sleeping on Melissa’s shoulder on a long car trip, or being pushed on the swings by Megan? You could be sitting on your Dad’s shoulders as the fireworks in Estes Park cascade over the mountains. Or maybe you are gaming with Kevin or you know he is guarding over you in your room at the hospital?

What dreams weave through your slumber?

I lay awake and wonder, awash in memories, keeping watch.

Defying gravity

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The tide of your breath rises and falls; the ventilator, the moon, that gathers and  releases it.

Another night in the hospital. Me by your bed, gazing at you and remembering, as you lay sleeping and dreaming your dreams.

Memories come to me in silken images. You; in navy, rubber rain boots, the blue power ranger to your brother’s red, your sister’s yellow. You; walking and jumping in puddles, or sitting in your older sisters’ laps for story time and snuggles.  You; running to the end of the field and back on cool summer evenings, a price for burping at the table.  Ring tone radio, Make-A-Wish, school and yoga.

There is so much to tell of your life my dear one. Everyone loves you for your sweet disposition, your biting sarcasm, and your kind, kind heart; for your whimsical art, your love of superheroes (favorite – Wolverine), and wicked gaming skills; for the light of your smile.

It is our last night in the hospital sweetheart.  I will finally keep my promise to take you home after this long, difficult year. You have chosen not to come back to this place where we’ve spent so much of your life. I am humbled by your courage, in awe of your strength.

Your birth into this world was at home, surrounded by your family. Without knowing, we knew. No hospital. Too many months there to come, too many years. And now, again, no hospital. Your decision this time, but too soon my love, too soon.

Twenty years times twenty would not be enough time with you. My Daniel, my beloved child,

Engraved on my heart is the feel of you in my arms; as a baby, a toddler, a teen and a man. Always my son, always, my son. Defying time, defying space, defying gravity.

Beauty

And still there is beauty.

The blue white light of the moon slowly fading.

as the warm, yellow sun rises.

Walking out with my three companions,

the snow freezes my toes.

Thinking of my mother’s face,

reflected in those of my sisters and brother,

Her love carrying us like a wave,

into another day on this precious earth.

I bow my head in gratitude,

for all that has been given to me,

and as she would say,

for all that has been taken.

About grief

It is a grief that feels too deep for tears, and yet they fall anyway.  It is a grief so long in coming, so often felt around the edges, but now drags down the dawn into a seemingly endless darkness.  One moment agony, another apathy.  In this empty house where everything is a reminder of his absence, I pace, purposeless.  Here where he used to run across the grass, where he jumped on a trampoline, where we read him bedtime stories and kissed him goodnight.  Now he waits, in a hospital an hour away, where he has spent too much of his life, to decide how the time he has left will be spent.

We know the depth of the ocean.  We know the distance to the moon.  We know so many things,  but the enormity of this grief, this sorrow, seems as unknowable as the size of the universe.  It is equal to the infinite love I felt the first time I saw his precious face.  None of it can be quantified, the love or the loss.  There is time yet, to be with him, as he struggles for breath, the machine breathing him.  It is that time, that nurturing I might still provide, that sheds a light on this endless night.