My eyes flashed open this morning with the spinning thoughts of things I didn’t say eleven years ago. Even with time these things don’t go away. I’ve learned enough to know that all grief is different – that there is some similarity in the names to our emotions but that it isn’t experienced the same for everyone. I can tell you, for me, my family, and many members of the other families impacted that day, that time does not heal all wounds. The wounds do change, they do make room for new life (as I mentioned in my earlier post), but there are times where they still throb and ache. Today is one of those times. I allow myself to sob because I believe it helps cleanse the soul.
If you see my mom or my dad or my sister today please be extra kind. Please don’t make a big deal because that makes things uncomfortable, but just be extra kind. Or if you come across someone else that has suffered loss, has been the unfortunate victim of cruelty, or even someone whose story you don’t know, please just be extra kind today.
I used to write poetry in the early years of my grief. Not only was it my undergraduate major but a way of processing and releasing. I stopped writing poetry after we caught my sister’s murderer … I hope that changes one day. Below is a poem published in Carpe Articulum in 2011 that reminds me (and hopefully my family and the others) that there is still a piece of our loved ones with us always, and that death does not conquer life.
A Separated Existence
Intensity furrows the brow
that stares back from flat glass
and she is searching me searching her
for a sign of existence.
We sit staring at my dark circled eyes
and empty gaze
between the space before my breath
meets her glassy face.
Crouched across the countertop
I remember when the only image
that proved me
When we as little girls stared
into each other’s faces
and balanced the circles on our palms.
During nameless games we took off
running the opposite direction
and collided on the other side of the wall.
With our fingers wrapped
in each other’s we went running
to the back bedroom -
to dolls, to imagination.
And you and I would create
their fragile lives, and they would
complete each other
from day one till the end of time.
I search now this face
to look for dents from your forehead,
her eyes move with mine
and we cannot see you.
I can’t stare at her
lonely face anymore.
I can’t stare at eyes that reflect
a soul depleted from your absence.
So I crawl down from my countertop
and place these cold feet
on the carpet floor – as I am turning,
I see your expression cross my face.
And I am plastered to this glass
writing the story of how
we hung on past death.
* ps the artwork combined with these poems was really lovely and if I can figure out how to upload the photo (all rights reserved) I will do so.
Hi, I'm Tiffany. I believe in the power of stories to connect us to each other. I write about life after loss and all the love, longing, and learning that comes from it. Grief is big, love is bigger. My newest stories are about motherhood (after both infertility and loss). In my experience, love doesn't get bigger than motherhood.
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