Tag Archives: Death

I knew a man

 

I knew a man,
though not very well.
A nice man
now dead
from pneumonia.

We were all looking sideways at S——
with her regrowing cancer hair
but death came at us
from an unexpected direction.
I wasn’t even aware he was sick
until Friday.

On Saturday
I cut off the tip of my finger.
It’s not often I am afraid
but I was
truly
afraid.
I pressed my finger into my palm to stem the bleeding.
It felt deformed. Too short, too flat.
I didn’t want to know what it looked like.

A reminder of my mortality
too close
too close.

On Monday
we get the office email.
He has died. We grieve his passing.
The office is quiet
with heavy atmosphere.

Somebody has set
a vase of flowers
outside his office door.
They have been placed there
very gently
by honoring hands,
sad hands.

We need
to honor the dead.
We decorate their haunts.
We create ceremonies.
We save mementos.
We tell stories.

I only knew this man by sight.
Another office worker
someone who helped grease the cogs
of our mutual machine.
We might wave or nod.
He had a habit
of muttering to himself
funny, quirky things.
I would pick up snatches of his internal dialog
when I walked by.
How well did he know me?

My finger is stiff with scab.
I worry at it, clean it, unwrap it, rewrap it.
It will have to last me
a few years longer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Gone for Five Minutes

Sitting at my desk, trying to focus at work.
Put this in that folder there,
Type that data here,
Fill out all the little boxes…
What was that.
a ghost wind passes through me.
I continue to type
I continue to read
but something inside has been
toppled
and everything’s going gray.
oh god.
what is coming.
my stomach lurches.
please tell me this won’t last.
the world around me has lost all color.
Death has awoken
and rests his bony fingers
on my shoulder.
life is meaningless.
the world has stopped turning.
i’m back in that place again.
this cold, lonely cell
and i can’t remember how to cry.
five minutes pass… not long.
just as inexplicably
Death changes his mind.
wraps himself in his cloak
and curls back into a benign black ball in the corner of my mind.
as he retires, ambient warmth returns.
The world sets back into motion.
Color resurges into my reality.
I’m in my office again
Still typing away
Coworkers unaware
That for five minutes
I was briefly pushed
Out of their world.
Thank god
It didn’t last.
It didn’t last.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

A thousand orioles picked us up

 

A thousand orioles picked us up
And dropped us off on the cliffs of Moher.
The surf is white the stone is beautiful
The overcast makes the green glow with health
I see you you see me
We’re in synchronicity
Now how to get back to the city
Off these damn cliffs of Moher.

A thousand orioles congregated
They built a nest for you and me.
We can’t afford a roof
Instead this is what our love hath wrought.
Let us sit together
And suck eggs.

Ireland is falling into the ocean
Rock by rock by rock
We think we’re living
But we’re dying
The sea is rising
We’re compromising
Rock by rock by rock
Rocking in each other’s arms
On the motherfucking
Godforsaken
Desolate cliffs of Moher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Journal – past fears, future fears

 

Reading about Huntington’s
Brings back memories of caregiving
The stress, the pain, the joy, the pain, the guilt
The pain, the pain
My heart aches, it’s full of love for her
But I’ve got nowhere to put it.
She knew what she meant to us.
We told her we loved her.
Remember her calling “I love you” to our backs as we left
When she finally managed to get her tongue around the words
Was it three years ago that we lost her?
Is that all?
Is that a lot?
The wound has reopened
And it feels like she’s still in the nursing home
I’m once again feeling that terrible weight
“I have to visit her, it’s been a while.”
Seeing her crumpled up
Like an empty can.

Sitting in my car
The car she gave me
The car she loved so much
She would still ask after that car
Say things like, I’m glad you have it now.
I would sit in the cab
In the nursing home parking lot
Stare at my young hands
Resting on the wheel, just where hers did
Wonder whose hands they were
Building courage, every time
To go see her
For her sake, to go see her
Because of what she did for me
Because she gave me so much joy
Because we laughed together in that car
Getting pizza, renting movies
She drove me to college in that car for a year
We gave a rides to a pathetic classmate of mine
Mom scolded me for not talking nice about her behind her back
Although we were both exhausted by her unending need.
I would sit in that car
Alone now
Behind the wheel now
Despair gnawing on my brain
Dread gnawing on my gut
Knowing I would have to face her again
Face her dying again
Face her confused tears again
Watch her cough and choke again
Her hands clenched into cold blue granite
Argue away her demands for ice cream, diet coke, diet coke, one more diet coke
They said only two cokes mom… okay I’ll sneak you one more
In my childhood I said yes ma’am
I obeyed without question
It was my joy to obey
She accepted me well; I never rebelled against her
Until she was dying
Then
I finally learned to tell her no
I’d spend an hour
Either fielding her demands
Or talking her down from a mental precipice
On good days, I just got to listen
As she rambled through her own fanciful mind
Picking gems here and there for me to examine
Her imagination truly unfettered.
Every day hurt.

I’m going to have to go through it all
All of it
Again.
The spiral is coming back around
And points this way.
It’s still far off
Barely visible on the horizon.

Well
I’ve done things I’m afraid of before.
I’ve gone to the dentist
I went and went until I wasn’t afraid
I’ve taken the worst they can throw at me
And trounced that fear.
I’ve ridden roller coasters
I’ve jumped from great heights
I’ve walked alone down dark hallways with the lights off.
I visited mom.
I can face fears.
I can face reality.
I can face grisly horrors
I can face and embrace the darkness.
Shit happens.
We all gotta die.
We all gotta lose someone.
It’s okay to be scared
But being scared is a waste of precious time.
I am strong
I am brave
I can take a lot of fucking punishment.
I can take a lot of grief.
I can take a lot of burden.
I’ve been there.
I will be there again.
I’ve been well taught
How to bear things with stoicism and grace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Journal – the best compliments

I realized I’ve been hiding my real writings recently.  Oops, bad Sarah. No secrets. Be open.

It sure was comfortable while it lasted, haha.

 

Something nice to muse upon… what is the best compliment you ever received?

 


I was watching old home movies
I saw mom laughing again
The elegance in her hands
Her purity

Kid me came up to her with the camera
I said, “What are your thoughts on life?”
“I’m for it,” she quipped.
“What are your thoughts on death?”
“Also for it.”
Her philosophy would be tested and proved
later in life,
later in death.
She may not have known this word for it,
But she was very Tao.

I always saw mom in me
Her philosophical side,
Her creativity
Her crazies
Her acceptance.

The best compliment I ever received
Was from friends who never really knew mom
They told me I was just like Dad.
Something I had never considered before.
But once I did I knew it was true.

I got his outrageous side,
His caring
His extroversion
His stoicism
His sense of humor.

Both were nonconformist
Both were strong
Both were smart
Both were brave
Both were loving.

I am lucky, so lucky
To have had such parents
I am lucky to have a family
Bound tightly together in common tragedy
I know true tribalism
It’s wonderful
To know who you are
To have a place
To have a role.

Everyone has ever been so good to me
As good as they knew how
They have taught me how to be good to others
Some lessons better than others
I am grateful for everyone
I try to deserve what I have
But not too hard.
Trying too hard to deserve something
Makes you deserve it less,
grow unbalanced.
I must love me
If I am to love others.
Odd that being in the presence of my heroes
Should make me feel so small
We spend our time
Building each other up
And I always leave
Feeling smaller
Undeserving
These people are my people
My family
I love them unconditionally
And they me
I just have to love myself
Unconditionally.

The cat gave me a compliment today.
She waited outside the shower for half an hour
I take long showers
And when I came out
She purred, happy to see me
Rubbed against my wet leg
Knowing she would get wet
Deciding it was worth it.

My sister tells me to come visit.
I say, I have a nasty cold.
She says, then I’ll make you soup.
The joy of my visit outweighs
The physical discomfort I bring.

Love should not be measured in sacrifice.
The pleasure should outweigh the pain
By a grand margin.
However, it can be a small proof
Here and there
Little heartwarming gestures.
Someone gives you roses
You know they gave up some time and money for them.
Someone gives you food
They made just for you.
Someone reads your blog
Every day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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