Narratives of Suffering

Jane Slemon

Jane Slemon, RN, MA, is Director of Care at Rotary Hospice House, a 10 bed free-standing facility in Richmond, BC. She is also a sessional instructor teaching Science Courses at Emily Carr University. She is a writer of creative non-fiction and a musician, playing in the folk band JEStrio.

See below poems from Jane. 

Believe me

It’s a relentless dance conga dance that cuts the room,
Dancers arriving with the first strains of music
Hard boots on a dung floor
And I don’t like the music.
It’s a snake in dark woods.
I can hear them in the dry leaves,
My ankles braced for the sink of teeth.
It is coming, ever coming,
Ever tidal.
Pulling, receding,
Sucking the soil from the sand.
Leaving it clean, exhausted.
It is the rat’s nest they found in my car that made a mockery of machinery
Gnawed plant based plastics that insulate the wires
They took it all for something they needed,
I suppose.
I can’t describe it.
No one understands me.
It’s a child in my arms, asleep,
that I can’t put down for the life of me,
for the ache in my shoulder,
for the life of it.
It’s what it insists on being,
This jihad inside of me,
Wrestling it out, my old fat demons
Who held for years all my shames in their sweaty palms like straws,
Screaming blue,
Ballooning where there is no space for it,
No space to breathe or fart into
I can’t describe it.
No one understands me.
Still, that is it exactly, I mean,
It’s exactly what I say it is,
Every time I say it.
And you have to
You have to
Believe me.

One Million. One.

One million voted in the Hong Kong referendum today
Plane crash in the Congo kills 6, 2 in the plane and 4 in the house it crashed into.
Thirty-six die in landslide in Kenya, 32 in the fires of California.
And one person I have loved all my life said, “l love you too”
Through watery words that bubbled through the phone wires
And took her last breath.
And, since I was not there, one person held her as she passed,
And watched her soul seep out to the silence,
And comforted me after.

So many leaves under the magnolia in late winter,
Transparent now, nature’s unpainted glass windows
Already framed in the shape of the leaf—
They heap where they fall.
The gardeners know that
As they die
They are too beautiful to rake away.
The gardeners know that I will pick one, this one,
To press in my book,
And remember you by.

There may be millions, today,
Whose faces need looking into 
Whose foreheads need a dabbing with a wet cool cloth
And whose blankets need pulling up
Or pulling off,
But right now there is only you.

Only you honour me with this chance to sit vigil
To watch your face for your every need
And remind you with my voice, my touch, my presence
You are safe, you are loved, you are accompanied. 
Only you. 
Thank you, I’ll say, for those who are not here.
Good bye, I’ll say for them.
I love you too. 

I let them go

I am letting go of this exquisite afternoon
Of the sound of the garden fountain,
And its tiny flow of clear water,
Of the flock of bushtits that dare each other
To splash drops water from the top most cup that catch the sun,
Of the bees in the clover

I am letting go of the lilies just about to burst open
And the phlox flinging wide another tiny white umbrella
Every time I look. I am letting go of my favourite reading place
The Adirondack chair, where I sit
with my feet on a cold slab of granite,
By the Rose of Sharon and the dwarf ginko, planted for my mother.
Its wood is sun grey now, and its arms know
just how to hold me.

I am letting go of the dragon-fly
That drifts over the yellow cedar hedge
And draws my glaze up to blue sky and a single cloud
And the deep red of the neighbour’s maple tree
Its leaves moving gently as the breeze takes it

I am letting go of the raspberries
Hanging ready to be kissed by the evening deer,
And the blueberries so loved by the Steller’s jay
And of the Ponderosa pine that shades me and offers gifts
That tumble and make a ruckus through limbs before thudding to the ground.

I cannot hold these things
Any more than I can keep the bee’s focus on a single oregano flower

Even now a new pattern of cloud graces the sky.
A new gust rustles the poplars on the horizon

Not one of these things is mine.
Not one of these moments comes again.
And so I let them go.

I will carry you

These eyes are not closed in peace.
This sweet round mouth is not silent in tranquility.
This still soul does not rest in acceptance.
All is not well.
I am lost, my steps flounder, my feet bashing in the darkness.
Yet you, my little one, are not lost.
This moment—this boat edging away from the shore—
Will never be beyond my gaze
I will seek the lost point long after it has disappeared
But I will find you
And then I will carry you.

In the wide bay, as the tiny white triangle of your sail dips under the horizon
In the stretch of evening as the light is taken from the sky
And the flight of crows trickles to ones and twos before the sky empties to blackness
In the hollows of the forest, where small eyes shine out yet hold their secrets,
I will find you.
I will carry you.

In the drops of dew on the Lady’s Mantle in the summer morning
In the gingko leaves that unfurl and dance on the breeze
In the patterns of clouds going forever
Beyond the yard, the playground, the school, beyond my life
Standing here
I will find you
I will carry you.

And whenever a gentle laughter wells up from deep down inside me, surprising me
However doors are flung opened to the colours of a spring day,
And puzzles solved,
And paths cleared

Wherever songs spring from my own voice or bring the tears that wash over the words forming in my silent mouth
Whenever I am lifted up so that I see over the fence
Of my disappointment, my rage, my dashed hopes
I’ll know you have run ahead,
Calling, “Come, let me show you something!”

I’ll know you have found me
That you carry me.

Where angels care to tread

In the lull after the lunch trays are served
and most of the residents are napping,
we chat at the nurse’s station,
six feet apart, gowned in yellow,
eyes peeking over masks that move as we talk.

An 85-year-old nurse has returned from retirement during this crisis,
says one, to work in a home care facility. 
In the TV clip, she’s shown walking the halls from room to room,
saying, “They’re at risk for this, you know.  So am I, I guess,”
And off she goes with her med-cart.

Another tells of a young nurse in Seattle
who is seeing fewer COVID cases,
So he figures he’s needed in Chicago.
He’s just waiting for this restitution papers. 
Then off he’ll go. 
“Has he had it himself?” I ask.
“Not yet.”

Today’s headlines said an 80 something “fights for her life today” in ICU.
Picture that fight: She lies completely still.
Sedating medications run down tubes and into her veins.
Her temperature chemically being held down.
Her white cells are skyrocketing, sending phagocytes to patrol the body’s tissues for the not self surfaces of foreign cells,
Engaging macrophages to bring unimaginably specific information to the thymus gland so it can initiate an elaborate response among T-cells,
Which in turn engage the B cells to begin their studied response—the building of antibodies. 
Her T-cells lunge into action, pouring largely immature cells into the system,
Inciting an inflammatory response that fills the alveoli with suffocating secretions,
Undoing the flexibility of the tissues, filling, drowning, persisting, replicating.

She is fighting against a blindly clever virus,
Its single strand of RNA hijacking a leukocyte deep in the alveoli.
She is fighting in the only way her body knows how,
Cells engulfing, forming, excreting, dying off.

I wouldn’t have expected the nurse to have been mentioned in the article.
But she’s there. I know it, even as I read the head line. 
I have been such isolations rooms, 12 hours at a time. 
I know he sees human form, cellular expression, blood gas compensation.
S/he is reading everything,
analyzing the subtle changes,
watching for any possible sign of improvement. 
And s/he/they are not missing a thing: that here lies, completely still, the story of a life, a family, a world of opportunity and love waiting just beyond hospital doors.

In her gown and scrubs,
her mask, goggles and gloves,
she/he/they stand
where family members cannot be,
are fearlessly there. 

So, look,
if I don’t get to say this later, nurse.
Here I am in your bed,
my chest rising and falling with the ventilator’s bellows.
You who shuffle around me,
hot in your many layers of PPE,
only your eyes visible,
your mask moving as you lean over and talk to me
even though you don’t expect me to respond,
I’d like to thank you for coming to work
in bravery,
in fitness,
with your knowledge
and by your purpose;
I thank you for being here
Where only angels care to tread. 

The Professor’s Poem (for Dr. Alan Dawe, “A Villanelle”)

We can’t know
When the magic is about to happen,
When, in the twilight of a rainy November afternoon
By the glass doors to the lawn,
A gift appears,
Stops one’s breath for a moment
Blows open the folds of minutes
And frees the precious scent of poetry.

He was so thin
Lying in the hospice bed,
He was disappearing by the day.
He’d asked me that age-old question,
“Can we shorten this part?
Anything in the proverbial little black bag?”
And so, with what little remained in his control,
We identified the pieces that could still be moved
Which treatments to forego
The chemistry of comfort
And he chose to wait,
Without the trimmings of sentiment.

So, he sent his children to their planes,
Home to their families,
Their goodbyes loving and real.
There is no rulebook for dying, I told them. 
We make it up when we get there.

And so, in the quiet of that afternoon,
I recited Seamus Heaney’s “Song”
Its “immortelles of perfect pitch
And the moment the bird sings very close to the music of what happens,”
Even bowing at the end in the mystery of that line,As the light in the room drew our eyes to the dimmed lawn,
Where the flickers bent their heads toward the hum of meaning.

I knew his name from the university.
I’d seen it on the English 100 exams he wrote by the dozens
And which we TA’s marked by the hundreds
And he chuckled in the glow of recognition
And asked if I knew the poetic structure of the Villanelle,
A pattern characterized by the repetition of two final lines
Tumbling after one another in the progression of stanzas
And only falling together at the end,
Professor even now.

Then he spoke,
The voices coming from my radio
Bring sounds of baseball on the summer air,
As we wait another hit by Ichiro

Out in the courtyard, clumps of daisies glow
They dominate the afternoon I share
With the voices coming from my radio.

I could barely see his features in the darkening room,
As his voice emerged from the pillow,
A troubled breath in after every line,
Telling about the ordinariness of another afternoon
The radio tuned for something marvelous
Something that might happen.

He said,
The early innings of the game are slow
Plays that excite the crowd are rare,
As we wait another hit by Ichiro.

Uncluttered, unlit, attended only by this one random nurse—
To hold the moment,
Not to entreat him to stay longer—
He licked moisture into his lips,
As if in simple waiting for the crack of the bat,
A tick of a second inside the permanence of the line
And I felt he’d written it for this moment,
For the endlessness of this one afternoon. 

He said,
Safe in their cars, my neighbours come and go,
Their destinations could be anywhere.
I stay with the voices coming from my radio.

The light seeped from the room completely
And neither of us reached for light switches.

The eyes of the Day will soon be gone, I know,
Their glow will fade, then not be there,
As we wait another hit by Ichiro.

He cannot have known what a gift he spoke to me,
The old professor, conjuring innings and daisies,
Lines recited by memory, a legendary baseball player,
The exquisite and serendipitous delivery,

Late innings now. The courtyard shadows grow.
The days are passing. Now with few to spare,
I have the voices coming from my radio,
And wait another hit by Ichiro.

And I cannot know what gift I gave to him,
Reciting as a child might,
Listening as the student teacher might,Allowing the gentle darkness to embrace us
The day squeezed of its light
So that the next breath draws in the magic of words
And the eternity of poetry,
Instructing me to step back into the hallway of the hospice

To let him wait on his own.


Mark cared for his wife through a prolonged illness. During those years he learned that love is really about giving and that love truly is stronger than death. In honour of her legacy he trained as a hospice chaplain and grief support counsellor. These creative works testify to his experiences with life, love, and death.

(Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash)

See below poems and songs from Mark. 

So Much Loss

I watched your losses
A gradual erosion
Working its inexorable way
From a closing eye
To a slowness of speech and movement
Until finally a loss of speech and
paralysis through half your body
But worse
The corrosion of agency
The loss of dignity
The adorning of dependence
The crowning of despair
That precedes its excruciating and

So much loss

Now I watch the others
Losing the life they lived
Losing that which gave them the will to love
While the loved look on
Losing you into the shadows of time
Where touch needs no words but words seek touch
There is a pattern to this terminal
No exit
A new destination beckons
As you shed skin, breath, flesh and will
Releasing this mortal coil
for its flight beyond time, place and passion
to become something

So much loss
Laid were the layers
That are now stripped away
Like a tree losing strips of old bark
Dry to the dead core
And then my own life is gradually reduced
Molecule by molecule, atom by atom
As you gift me the letting go
of life
As you gift to me perspective
The gift of gratitude
To have become the real me
To have gifted
the layering of new incarnations
left by the loss of

So much loss

And so, life is given
As is the gift of death
Yours, mine, ours
Forever the melting pot of life
The crucible.

So much loss

Rain 19th

Part I

Rain rises
drawn from lake and sea by
solar rays.

Rain rises
turning from liquid
into gas.

Rain rises
tossed across continents
by wind.

Rain rises
and is restored at
dew point.

Rain rises
to fall again as liquid
or ice.

Part II

I fall
once more into

I fall
once again into

I fall
yet again,
in love.

I fall
always for
the trick.

I fall
and take you

Part III

Rain falls
and green shoots

I rise
again, to fall

Pink Cherry Blossoms Fall (a song)


Pink cherry blossoms fall
While souls around us rise
To their rest above
Pink cherry blossoms fall
While souls around arise
To fight the storm below
While pink cherry blossoms fall

Verse 1:

We are here
From birth to death
The difference being breath
We are here
Parent to child
To perpetuate the fear


Verse 2:

Lives are lived
We come and go
We think it will be slow
But death will call
We leave this earth
While pink cherry blossoms fall


Verse 3:

Seasons change
Blossom to bud
And bud to leaf renew
Seasons change
Snow to sun
Life reawakens new

People Pray

People pray
And ask him to take it away
But it rages
Across continents and oceans
One droplet at a time.

People pray
To a God that made night and day
But the pages
Of those tested or dead
Multiply one person at a time.

People pray
To a God who is “love,” they say
While the sages
Blame each other’s theories
To metres apart at a time.

Is this God
To whom people pray
Lacking in power
Or lacking in love?

People pray
Every step of the way,
The freedom to choose
Is theirs.
But do we pray,
“Take our freewill away?”
One prayer at a time.

And so people pray
While God waits…
Hands tied,
“Why do you abandon me?”
He asks silently,
Waiting to be ungagged and released
One person at a time.


The memory of seeing
those two sets of eyes looking back
through the back windscreen of the car
as they drove away.

The memory of long nights
sobbing into the casket of sleep
at thoughts of them in another city
without their father.

Such memories, indelibly

The first memory of the
telltale signs of mortality
beckoning with shortened
breath, open mouth
and fluttering pulse.

The memory of a stillness
never seen before
as the mortal remains
stiffened, hardened, like stone
and turned grey.

Such memories, indelibly
The memory
of standing
and watching
your bed rolling away
your life hanging by a thread.

The memory
of gazing
Into your eyes
not knowing if I would
ever see love looking back

Such memories, indelibly

The memory of memory
as keys once more
cannot be found and the
next thing on the list
dissipates in the mists of

The memory that selects
relics of a much earlier time
while discarding much of
what seeks now to
grab a dissolving

such memories, indelibly

Do we clench our teeth
harden our hearts,
and pull down the blinds?
Or do we give thanks
for the privilege of ushering
and, ultimately, being
Into the light?

Letter to Grief Support Groups

Dear Grief Support Group members,

You have all been on my mind recently. Grieving is challenging at any time but now with the coronavirus, a new source of numbness sets in. I wanted to write and encourage each of you and offer some brief thoughts in the hope that they may provide some practical ways to navigate this new ‘normal.’

In a sense, you are experiencing one loss overlapping with another loss. You have lost a loved one and are trying to stay upright in a boat being tossed on a stormy sea. Then comes a tidal wave. You see it coming but cannot believe that you now have to turn and face this when you are still struggling to get the boat stabilised. No matter where you are in your grief, this new loss (this loss of independence, freedom of movement, social contacts, and possibly even your own health), now assails you. Your boat rocks again but now you feel paralyzed to respond.

I am not sure if this is how you are being affected by the isolation we are now encouraged to take on but here are some thoughts about how to respond.

In our grief support group, we talked about embracing grief – we talked about finding ways to keep our loved one alive. Now is a time when it is important to do just that but also to find a balance between embracing grief while maintaining some positive influences.

For example, I suggest it is better not to watch movies about pandemics but to watch movies about real life heroism to encourage our belief in the strength of the human spirit. Similarly, to read stories about people responding to tragic times in ways that encourage us to think we can do it.

It is also a time to be reaching out to people, even more so than before. Social media is keeping us connected now and if you do not have Skype, WhatsApp or an equivalent, research on google and find out how to get connected. Make set times to talk to family and friends. Make it a routine – we all need new routines at this time. I now have about 6 weekly calls booked in with my best friends and members of my family.

Now is a good time to complete the project that I encouraged you to start during the grief support sessions i.e. to complete a memorial, or a scrapbook or a sculpture – something that reminds you of your loved one. Most of all though, I encourage you to keep a journal through this time and in that journal, write to your loved one and tell him/her about what it is like to be living in isolation and under the present threat.

Get plenty of exercise. If it is not possible to exercise outside because of where you are, there are plenty of ways to exercise at home, inside and outside. There are also a lot of you-tube and podcast clips about different types of exercise from aerobics to yoga. Again, make it a routine – same time, same place every day. And related to physical health – eat more fruit and veggies.

And finally, take the opportunity to explore your relationship with your higher power, however you define that. As a Christian, I am finding it a great time to read some of the writings of the mystics as well as the Bible and to develop stronger meditation routines. These are things that usually get reduced to last on our list of priorities in our usually busy lives. Here is an opportunity to put the most important (rather than the most urgent) at the top of the list.

In other words, as with grief, approach the losses of this period proactively. Don’t sit there waiting for it to come to you. Engage in activities that connect you both to your loved one, to others and to your higher power. And note the repetition of the word ‘routine’ – times like these lure us into thinking we don’t have the energy or motivation to get up out of the chair. Structure your day so that you control it, and not the other way around.

It’s a Fine Line

It’s a fine line
Between overcoming fear
And being careless.
“God will protect me”
I hear some say,
And another preacher falls.

It’s a fine line
Between surrender
And victory.
“It’s who wins the war,”
I hear politicians say,
And another spike in casualties advances.

It’s a fine line
Between responsibility
And freedom.
“I want my right to choose,”
I hear gun-toters say
And another herd pays with their lives.

It’s a fine line
Between being a caregiver
And being a victim.
“Open the economy”
I hear businessmen say
And another hospital ward overflows.

Fine lines
Can be borders
Fine line
Can be fences.
“Come over to my side”
I hear opponents say
While the virus infiltrates our defences.

Fine lines
Can be filters
Fine lines
Can be blurred.
“Will my mask protect me”
I hear nurses say,
Still going to work each day.


When they
asked me to sit beside you
“He has constipation” they said
I thought shit and he did
And we both laughed.
Later, with no one else in the world to stand vigil
I held your hand as you took your last breath.

When you first came in, we talked
About the holocaust
And the remnant of your family
And we both reminisced.
Later, when you could no longer eat or speak
You raised your hands in resignation and smiled.

When I said hi, you said bye
But I kept calling and saying hi
Until one day you called
And we entered the dark night together.
We read Psalm 88 and Mother Teresa’s agonies
And soon you surrendered to light.

When they said, “This one’s for spiritual care”
I wondered how we would run a 3-legged race
With your dhamma and my bible
But we put them aside.
Instead we collected stones and looked at trees
And slowly found ‘the flow.’

When she said “MAiD, let’s talk”
I wondered what questions might arise
Philosophical or theological?
Simply, “Will I go to hell?”
Assurances given and crease lines eased
She smiled, dined, and partied her goodbye.

Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills and Nash
1960s in flower-powered San Fran
Where you ‘stumbled and fell to the ground’
“I made a lot of bad decisions” you confessed.
“Do you know the parable of the prodigal son?” I asked
With a sideways glance he told me, he was him, home.


There’s a voice that arises deep inside,
Call it mystery, call it circumstance.
Sometimes it grows with the passing of time
sometimes it’s a bolt out of the blue,
but it calls.

When it comes, there’s no denying what it is
and having been ignored for a time,
can no longer be resisted.
We are signed up and indentured,
to the call.

Not knowing what the future may hold
and the price it may exact,
a calling becomes a career
which over time becomes a job,
but it still calls.

It calls again when pandemics strike
with the option to look the other way,
yet into the corridors of death we walk
to fight another day for those
who call.

A Health Care Worker’s Grief on a Covid-19 Day

There is a before.

There is a during.

There is an after.

And then there is before again.

A Grief Cycle.

‘Before,’ is anticipatory grief, an expectation of losses to come.

It happens when you wake up in the morning and leave for work. It is knowing that again, today, that you will face growing numbers of sick people and their anxious, even angry relatives being stopped from visiting, and the tension of too many and not enough – too many patients and not enough resources. You already know that people will die…on your watch. And there is your own fear – is this the shift when I join my patients as another statistic? Your stomach is already tightening, your teeth clenching, your pulse racing and your brain is telling you to turn the car around and go home and stay home. But you drive on; you scrub up; and you get started, grief already fast-tracking to your amygdala knowing you have already chosen fight over flight.

‘During,’ is carried grief, the denial, shock and anger of one shift converging with those of previous shifts.

The denial of not enough ventilators – surely there must be more coming. The numbing of emotions that comes with the shock of seeing yet another patient struggling for breath. The anger at not having a ventilator to give her. The bargaining of who to give the remaining apparatus to – the child or the elderly woman? And you bargain: if only…then… There is no time for sadness…yet, and there is no acceptance, just an exhaustion that seeps to bones struggling to hold sagging spirits. There is only now. There is only survival. One patient a time.

‘After’ is mourned grief, the consciously sought expression of sadness.

The drive home trying to hold back tears. The feeling of having lived 100 years in one day. Music from the playlist in the car, background to thoughts racing and then drifting , to be drowned out by the banging of pots and pans as the neighbourhood comes out to cheer. Partners and children wait at home to serve meals and stories wait to be read. The brief stop at the church around the corner and the even briefer prayer, more like a few slower breaths…letting go; the shower on arrival…an attempt to wash it all away; then the hugs…virtual of course, 2 metres apart. No time to walk and the yoga gym is closed. No energy to write a journal entry. Only enough to crawl into bed and be held…wrapped fetally in arms…not virtual but real. To sink into that warm embrace; to want to cry; but sleep takes tears hostage, to be released on some other day.

And then ‘before’ again, announced by the alarm clock. One more day and then I’ll cry.

A fear of Death Revised

As a child
waking at night to the silence
of a family at sleep
and to the fear of being
the rest of the family having been taken
and me, left

In my 20s
waking to the sound of fear
as my mind tried to grasp
the idea of life
the only escape from this eternal nightmare
being under the night sky

In my 30s
a young father of two
worried that I might die young
and leave them
all manner of experiences curated
a catalogue of memories to fall back on

In mid-age
finding a love
so fulfilling and complete
that there was never a feeling of being
and no thoughts of mortality
or fear of what lay

But in my 50s
losing that lover
and a former wife both to cancer
death again finding me
but strangely fulfilled through
the two-year vigil at her

And now
working with the dying
in a house made for death
so that people might not die
and finding a lover’s legacy
carried by the eternal embrace,

An Odyssey of Grief

Part I – Reaction

It comes at you from
every direction, everywhere.
It can strike anytime, anyplace.
Sometimes it creeps up slowly,
other times like a bolt out of the blue

It comes at you in
many different guises, multi-faced.
It is numbing, gluing you to the spot,
you want to run but you’re locked in place
resisting the desire to fight against its reality.

It comes at you as
a riptide of contortions, rupturing.
An avalanche of convulsions, rippling
through your chest which wants to explode
and tear down your face as cascading rapids.

It comes at you like
a whirlpool of thoughts, colliding.
At other times randomly like the sound
of rain on a thousand different tin rooftops
paralyzing cognition and delaying resolve.

It comes at you under
the soft belly of your defenses, stealthily.
It rips you back to the moments of ‘should have’
and ‘should not have,’ torturing what cannot be changed
and declaring guilty before the presumption of innocence.

It all comes at you
sometimes all at once, loudly.
Sometimes gently in the night:
Either way and both ways, it just keeps
coming, grief.

Part II – Ritual

Turning the pain inside
out, exposed.
Wanting to run from every
one, escape.
With no choice but to turn
up, composed.
The viewing, the service, the eulogy, the
committal, ritual.

The shared face of
sorrow, lament.
Others grieve also in this land where
no man is an island, alone.
The precious words said better
late, than…
The favourite tunes
played, pre-recorded.
The slide-show where a life flashes
by, gone.
The tears always well at the
pixels, dissolving.
The prayers have been
said, absolving.
The line-up processed and last words
said, condolences.
Lastly some food and awkward
goodbyes, “See-yu.”

Part III – Reflection

Finally, alone with thoughts, slowing.
The numbness receding and the guests, recessing.
Time to take a breath, deeply.
To look at the sky, discursively.
To try and recall events, tentatively.
Long walks in forest glades, gliding.
Albums opened with jaw, clenched.
Tears bursting forth, sobbing.
Journal opened after a long absence, writing.

Diving into deep depths, remembering.

The sight of your hair, disheveled.
The sound of your breathe, sensuous.
The touch of your hand, caressing.
The scent of your perfume, floral.
The taste of your mouth, quenching.
Everywhere memories echoing, you.
Memories eliciting tears, smile.

Part IV – Remembrance

The first year rolls
by, anniversary.
Candles are
lit, annually.
Friends and family
gather, recollecting.
A few stories
told, honouring.
Photographs are looked
at, remembering.
Each year, smaller
numbers, attending.
For one, every day of the year is a
memorial, fragments.

Gradually more time
looking, forward
peering through a windscreen that
beckons, ahead
as the landscape in front
looms, larger
while grasping at glances in the rear-view
mirror, incessantly.
The view gets smaller with
distance, behind
never completely out of sight
or, mind.
Grief is a companion on the
road, redefined.
As always, the griever
remains, grieving.

A Me Without a You
Peace Beyond Reason