All those months of hospice
I pictured us easing into goodbye:
Family gathered at the end,
taking turns holding your hand.
Then you died suddenly alone,
leaving us empty-handed.
This is my sijo that placed second in the adult division of the Sejong Cultural Society’s 2022 Writing Competition. (To see all the winning entries, click here.) I wrote it the week after my mom died, little knowing it would be the first poem in what has become my Afterdeath collection. Peace to our ♥s!
Hope is the thing with broken wings That lurches in the soul, And sings the dirge with Slavic words, And waits for night to fall.
But lest we give in to despair, Recall that wings will heal, And many tongues unite in prayer, And dawn awaits us still.
All those underlings Doing everything Putin says.
Simon says Over all the dead, There is blame to spread.
NaPoWriMo22 Day 24 — Going my own way today to acknowledge the current state of our world. I’m thinking of and praying for my Ukrainian brothers and sisters, my Russian brothers and sisters as well, and all who are helping those affected by the war. For those unfamiliar with the children’s game Simon Says, here’s a brief description. Peace to all ♥s! Peace in our world!
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 amusing, 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!
Daffodils are a start. Warmer weather helps. Longer days, lighter days, all good. But not what I really need.
What I need (okay, really want) is summer, hours and hours steeping in the sun, healing from the outside in.
Then I think: skin cancer, rogue moles, sun damage. Then I write poems—fibs, shadormas, sijos—healing from the inside out.
NaPoWriMo22 Day 4 — A poem I’ve been pondering several weeks that finally came into its own as a series of shadormas. It happens to fit murisopsis‘s poetry scavenger hunt prompt #12, to write about healing. I now have 18 poems written in the wake of my parents’ deaths (see “Afterdeath“) and will post more of them once NaPoWriMo is over. I’m calling it my Afterdeath collection. Peace to your ♥, particularly if you’re healing from the loss of a loved one or dealing with cancer personally or among family or friends.
First Mom, then Dad, heaven bound seven weeks apart. Six months of taking shifts, tending. My siblings and I free to rest in peace now too.
My mom died in December and my dad died a month ago today. May they rest in peace! Among various cards and letters they had saved, I found the poem below, written as a school assignment when I was in the sixth grade and mailed from the school. Peace to our ♥s!