he ate the soup
you made for him
a few weeks
before you died. it was
sitting in the freezer
with a strip of masking tape
over the lid, his father’s name
written in your hand.
before october last year,
he used to call it
grandma rocket soup
because he thought she made it
when the whole time,
it was you. but when she died,
he replaced grandma’s name
with yours and now
he eats it quietly,
taking his time, as if
savoring every bite.
he thanked you, too, you know,
as soon as he finished
the bowl. he ate the entire thing,
the last bowl of soup
i read the beginnings of the news on facebook
and my heart dropped when the truth sank in
that you lost your battle to cancer yesterday
what a crap year 2020 has been
i’ve looked forward to every post you’ve made
that morning greeting, that nightly goodbye
i love how you ordered us wackadoodles to have a good day
and every night, no mare pants became my rallying cry
reminding me it was time to wind things down
to let my mind rest and my body sleep
as you fought that fight that took you in the end
leaving us your stories and essays, so insightful and deep
i miss you already, my friend,
but i know wherever you are there is no more pain
thank you for being the champion i needed then and now
i have been so blessed having you in my corner. until we meet again.
facebook told me it’s your birthday today
and so i quickly typed out a post to wish you
a fantastic day
but something told me to check your page first
where i found out you died fourteen months ago
and my bubble burst
how could i not know that you’ve been gone all this time
all while planning to see you again and say hello
just like the good old days…
how could i not know?
you were only forty-five, brin, way too young to go
i can still remember you telling me to stop driving
that little car while i was pregnant
oh the things you knew that i did not know
yet you trusted me all those years, too
how we laughed at the stories we both told
as we spent those afternoons believing
life had so much to offer us
as we’d both grow old
with our vices and our sins…
how could i not know?
when you looked in the mirror that last day,
what did you see?
did you see only the little broken girl
that you used to be?
did you think she’d remain wounded forever
unable to get out of her head?
did you ever hope that one day she’d live the rest of her life
instead of ending up dead?
did you ever consider, just once, that things
could have turned out alright,
maybe you’d had found someone to love like you once did
or maybe it was yourself all this time?
i wish you’d have waited to find out all the answers
instead of me asking them tonight
i wish you’d have given this life one more chance…
i wish you’d have put up a fight.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Available 24 hours everyday
Today would have been your birthday
though I don’t remember how old you would have been,
the years since you passed away marked by poems
of things not felt and sights not seen
dulled by the years of living a lie
Was that your life, too,
just before you died?
five years ago today
you passed away
but I still can’t believe
i never got to say good-bye
nor understand why
though memories of you
but i finally did get to pen
those stories in the end
the ones I kept telling you
the ones you never forgot,
of loves and lives overwrought
for never once did
you ever doubt
that i’d finally let the ghosts loose
step away from that noose
that kept me silent
for so long
you knew it all in the end
my dearest, loveliest friend
just where I truly
November has always been about passages for me, life changes and transitions. I always wondered if my own clock was more in tune with the earth than it was with the Gregorian calendar, though now I just realized why I feel such loss around this time of year.
Five years ago, my best friend passed away after a 2 year-long battle with ovarian cancer. Through it all, she never complained. She told me once that she had two choices – complain about the things that weren’t good or be grateful for the ones that were. So she chose the latter, choosing to surround herself with white light no matter the challenge.
Today, while my son was going through his swim therapy, I perused through her old email messages to me, the only things I have to remind me of her kind words no matter the challenges she was faced with at that moment.
She died on 11/6/10 and I remember my last visit to her two weeks earlier when she gave me her massage therapy manual for that’s where we’d met back in 1997 and I’d lost mine a long time long before then.
A week later she called to tell me to keep writing even though I was too ashamed to tell her the truth – that I’d stopped writing 8 years earlier. She also told me to watch my weight and be kind to myself.
And while I haven’t exactly watched my weight that well, I have resumed writing – as you all probably have noticed. And today I ordered two copies of the paperback version of the book I dedicated to her, Finding Sam – a surreal experience that’s more surreal than when I ordered my copy of my second novel, Loving Ashe.
And even though being a writer navigating through the new social media can be scary, I have to remind myself that like Pam, I have two choices. Complain about the things that aren’t exactly going great (it’s all perspective as well) or be grateful for the ones that are – like health, family, and life in general.
on this day two years ago, he died,
driven home from the hospital
for it was cheaper to die
at home, not surrounded
by his children for
they were too far
from home, now
the group message said she died of a
major aneurysm and i find myself
double-checking my age
trying hard to remember her face
and coming up with nothing.
but didn’t we attend the same school
and she stood in the back of the room
because she was tall and her last name
started with a Y?
i find myself wondering if this is how
it’s going to be from now on
as i get older though not exactly wiser,
my timeline only telling me
who’s passed on
till it’s my turn and no one will remember
who i am.
For today’s prompt, I’m supposed to write my obituary. I think it’s rather morbid but at the same time, who else knows you better than yourself?
Still, it’s tough to ask one to write her own obituary on her own blog, WordPress! Do you really have to remind me of my own mortality?
It’s enough that we see signs of our mortality every day, that we’re reminded we’re not long for this earth really, and so we blog about our lives, no matter how mundane the events that mark our days are. We blog about the things we love and the people we admire and whatever else we blog about just so we leave our mark – any mark – to tell the world that once upon a time, we were here. And once upon a time, we mattered.
And then, just like that, we were gone.