This is a BIG one for me. I haven’t written new poetry for 11 years. The reason for that, was due to the fact that the last two poems I wrote were about my daughters, who devastatingly passed away in 2007. I figured that there was no way I could write about anything more deserving than them, but to continue to write about them would hurt too much, so I stopped.
I used to find it easy to churn out tons of poems about lack luster love affairs with ease, but the stuff that arrests you and pins you down with emotion, I struggled with.
For a while now, I’ve been processing the loss of my mother, who died in 2015. It is incredibly difficult to try and describe the interactions between me and her and what that meant. I had no idea if it equated to a relationship, but it was something.
The way I dealt with my mothers passing, wasn’t exactly how I suppose one would imagine dealing with ones mother as they die. I had to play a different role, one I was expecting. One I finally chose to express in this poem:
I grieved her with a mothers heart
not just my own
but her mother’s too.
Both beat inside my chest
as I went through the motions
of raw, primal grief:
there is no deeper grief than that held in a mothers heart.
I had to love her and care for her
as though I was my grandmother
as though that great lady
had bid me be her proxy in all of this
and I loved and lost her accordingly.
My grandmother, invisible, waited.
She could only look on as her baby slipped away
and I had to hold her, with the hands of both of us as she did.
There was not much of a daughter’s heart within me.
It had been burnt out from the years of tears
of pain and rejection she had delighted in
and now, in embarrassed coma, note must she
the child she forced away
stroke her cheek with tear damped fingers,
hear her plaintive sobs of
“why couldn’t you just have loved me?”
and hear her anguished sighs
as she curls up next to her mother on her hospital bed
as a toddler needing their mother and seeking their touch.
And she stopped. Just like that. Simple.
She found her way to the silent place
escorted by the limitless love of her own mother.
I was all over envy of her onward course.
In the care of a mother who loved her beyond reason,
crossing over in her gentle care,
on her way to see her family and her infant granddaughters.
She had to go and I had to let her.
Through the fire and the demons of the hell she made for herself
whilst she had lived
she now, in passing, knew for the first time only
Peace. Peace. Peace.
I love her.
I hope she knew.