(Photo by I’m Priscilla)
April is National Poetry Month and I had made a request of my friends to give me prompts to work with so I can write a poem for each day.
My friend Becky gave me a prompt that read, “Finding the strength to go on after our loved one dies.” She’d tagged several of her girlfriends who they themselves had lost spouses.
This was daunting. But I hope I did okay. Here’s the Poem.
I remember when you got down on your knee
When you held a little box out in front of you like an offering
To God above.
I remember the look of hopefulness and vulnerability in your eyes
And when I said, ‘Yes’, I remember holding your sweet face in my hands
As you cried.
I remember – when our first child was born
The panic in your face when I told you that time was fast approaching
I saw the blood drain from your face as the pain in my body
Cranked up into ungodly levels
And I remembered the awe on your face when you held our child for the first time
I remember the first time we got into a terrible fight, the hurt in your eyes
Slamming doors, both of us throwing words like daggers
and cold shoulder moments both of us wounded and suffering
relieved only by the lovemaking when we submitted and admitted that the fight we needed to have
was had, and the fever broken
I also remember the little things –
The way you smell, the way you felt, the way the bed springs groaned when you awoke in the morning
And the way you took your coffee.
I remember looking at your sleeping face, in the wee small hours of the morning
and smiling just a little
And kissing your warm cheek
And I remember the day you died
The shock of It all, whether a long illness or a sudden disappearance
Like a whiff of smoke that nothing could prepare me for.
I died along with you or at least that’s what it felt like
And I couldn’t figure out how such an exquisite pain wouldn’t
Allow me to lie down next to you for your final approach
To the throne of God
How was it that I was still able to breathe?
For the next several months – like a ghost I wandered
Half here – half there with signs of you abounded
In the pictures, and the clothes that you left in your closet
And the phone calls from your family, your friends, and your colleagues
“Yes, I’m fine.” And “The kids are okay.” And “Sure, I’ll see you at Christmas.”
But what hurt most of all is when something would happen
And I would turn to say, “Hey, love you’ll never guess who…”
Only to catch my breath as I suddenly remembered
I was speaking to an empty bed, chair, room.
After the initial shock of what I was doing
Left me sobbing and half out of my mind
I finished my sentence, “…. I ran into.” And proceeded to
Describe to you the scene like I’d done a million times before.
And there you were smiling, in my mind – still only half listening
Nodding here and saying, “Ah,” at exactly the right moment
So – what I really mean to say and I’m sorry that I waited
That it took me so long to figure out that you were here all the time
In the faces of our children, in the things you left behind you
In the friends and in the memories, that line the walls of our home
But the sweetest thing you gave me was the life we lived together
And the things that I remember – I remember all the time