Upstairs, Downstairs

Upstairs, Mom.
She’s stuck in her room.
Dad’s downstairs,
free to roam
the house, though he mostly sits
on the couch and sleeps.

I go up.
Mom’s in bed, watching
a game show.
We both think
the host looks better in blue.
I guess some answers.

I head down,
ask Dad if he needs
more soda.
No, he needs
a big pain pill. “I don’t know,”
he says. A refrain.

I go up
to give Mom her lunch.
It’s okay
if I leave.
Dad needs the company more
than she does. She says.

I head down,
scrounge lunch while Dad broods
on the couch,
eating squat.
He still doesn’t know. Neither
do I. So I smile.

It’s better
than frowning, I hope,
though it’s not
how I go up and head down,
torn between the two.

NaPoWriMo22 Day 14 — Today would have been my Dad’s 83rd birthday, the first since he died in January, seven weeks after my mom’s death. I’m still processing, and writing poems to capture different aspects of the experience. I wrote this one this morning. Peace to our s!


  1. Your poem reveals that’ve been a lovely daughter! My heart goes out to you, Stephanie! This is such a lovely poem

    1. serendippitysays says:

      Thank you so much. That means a lot.

  2. SelmaMartin says:

    Oh my, I bless you. Thanks for putting this down in movie form for me to see. I bless you.

    1. serendippitysays says:

      Thank you., Selma. I appreciate the blessing very much. :)

  3. Gloria says:

    Raw and beautiful!

    1. serendippitysays says:

      Thank you. It helps to get it down on paper. :)

  4. Straight to the gut — bravo.

    1. serendippitysays says:

      Thank you, Elizabeth. It’s turned into a collection, over 20 poems now honoring the experience. Posting more over time.

  5. loved reading this, thank you kindly for the imagery… blessings to you Stephanie 💜💜💜💙💙💙😊🌹

    1. serendippitysays says:

      You’re very welcome, Krissy, and thank you for the blessings. :)
      P.S. I just now noticed your website address and love it. There’s a J.M. Barrie (author of Peter Pan) quote about being kinder than necessary. It’s a sorely needed virtue in our world.

      1. yes it is thank kindly for these beautiful words 💙💙💙😊💜💜💜💜💙💙💙💙💙💙😊🌹

  6. Sonia Dogra says:

    Beautiful. Struck a chord.

    1. serendippitysays says:

      Thank you, Sonia. Even though it’s a personal poem, I was hoping there would be something others could relate to.

  7. calmkate says:

    sorry for your loss … to lose both parents so closely is super tough! And sounds like your Dad struggled knowing your Mum was so sick. At least you know you did your best and you could not have done anymore, that’s so important :)

    Take care precious and please be sure to link your blog to your avatar so more can find you :)

    1. serendippitysays says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Kate. My dad certainly did struggle. Plus he had his own cancer. It was a journey.

      My blog was already linked to my avatar, but someone else had problems too, so maybe a temporary glitch? Take care, and all the best to you. :)

      1. serendippitysays says:

        Thanks for letting me know. Not sure why that address is showing up, as it isn’t the correct one, but it explains why, when I’ve clicked on another commenter’s avatar, I get the same message. We’re both having the same problem. I’ve relinked my website and would appreciate, if it’s not too much trouble, your trying again to click through.

      2. serendippitysays says:

        Thank you for trying again. I’ll keep working on it. :)

      3. I contacted support and fixed the problem. Alerted the other blogger to the fix, too. Again, thank you for pointing it out to me!

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