Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I have held her off
too many days.
The banshee
crashes the gate,
slashing, burning,
prying my heart loose
I shed my life,
all I have been and known,
and shrink
to a tiny animal,
blind and mewling—
to a speck of a bug
before the looming universe.*

This is how it feels sometimes. Not right now, but last week. Not for days anymore, but for hours. Not often but occasionally, without warning, the whole big mess of a grief wave drags me under, back to the beginning. Only it’s not the beginning because I’ve lived with this loss now 17 months.

As time passes, I am overcome with the flat finality of the fact of my child’s death. With each new step or insight, I realize how much of my self has been shattered by his suicide. I thought I’d faced down much of the guilt and remorse for not being the mother my son needed as he grew into adulthood and became unmoored. I can accept now, better than before, that I was hampered in helping him not just by my own limitations but by his secretiveness and refusal to get help. I can see (at least in theory) how we survivors burden ourselves with guilt and an inflated view of our role in a desperate bid for a sense of control over disaster. But when a wave rolls in and knocks me over, it doesn’t take much to fall into the pit.

Last week, my husband was a steadying comfort. He knew just what I meant about feeling small. We are neither of us who we were 17 months ago.  We are bereft and diminished, with everything about our “assumptive worlds” called into question. To move forward and reconstruct that world takes everything I have ever known, and more.

*Note: All poetry on this blog is original unless attributed to others.


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