Secondary Losses

My parents’ house will be auctioned tomorrow. The cars and contents were sold at a general auction this past Saturday. The neighbor’s house in the second poem went under contract not long after being listed. More letting go–more goodbyes. Peace to our s! (For more poems written after my parents’ deaths, click here.)

Preparing for Auction

The estate
is possession-poor,
its contents
worth little,
says the Rawlings appraiser.
He lists what they’ll take.

We begin
deconstructing rooms,
the remains:
Goodwill, Purple Heart, Junk Dogs.
Boxes, bags, and bins.

We host an
impromptu front-yard
(our payback,
people smiling and laughing,
lugging our discards).

First contents,
then cars, then house will
be auctioned,
years of life and living it
going, going, gone.

House Update: A Few Weeks
Before Auction

learned that
the neighbors
next to my parents
have put their house on the market,
have in fact moved out
and moved on.
Their move

brought my mom
potted plants and cheer
baskets even as she dealt with
her own breast cancer.
I enjoyed

the free sale, took all
the Ace bandages and tied one
around the belly
of their dog,
like a

link to
my parents—
cut. Not a huge loss,
I know, but not nothing either.
More like an owie
that only
a mom


  1. Beyond beautiful. These are very moving.


    1. Thank you, David. As I read through your Kaddish series, I find a lot to ponder about how we deal with death and mourning. I’ve been thinking of you also this first week at your new job and hope it’s going well. Take care, Stephanie

      1. Thanks – it seems like a very supportive and kind work environment :-)

  2. lifelessons says:

    Your poems ring true. Very touching.

    1. Thank you, Judy. The poems are helping me with the work of mourning.

      1. lifelessons says:

        They helped me, too. I wrote every night for weeks during my husband’s illness and afterwards for 8 years.. It was so cathartic. If you send me your address, I’ll send you my book which was the result of those 8 years of journaling.

      2. What a kind offer, Judy. I’ll give you the information through your contact form on your website. I just finished reading Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, about her husband’s sudden death and the critical illness of their daughter. It was very moving.

      3. lifelessons says:

        Do you prefer to read it on kindle or a hard copy?

      4. I don’t have a kindle or a nook so a hard copy is better, but I can also buy it on Amazon, as I see you have it for sale there. You deserve to be reimbursed!

  3. murisopsis says:

    I am just very happy that my mother didn’t leave all that much behind for us to sort through. Other than her clothes and a few pieces of furniture and jewelry, she didn’t have much. No probate because no real estate. Still boxing up things is tough especially when each thing has memories attached. (Hugs Stephanie)

    1. Thank you, Muri. Your situation sounds much like my mother-in-law’s. She was in a personal care facility, all her possessions in the one room. That definitely made it easier. :)

  4. these poems are very near and dear, ….. hugs to you 💙💙💙💙💙💙💙🙏🏿🙏🏻😊

    1. Thank you, Krissy. I love the hugs!

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