A poem for my mother and all who shared similar experiences:
this winter will not be matched by another in sorrowful drearyness.
this winter that saw us
white knuckled creeping along unpassable iced blowing highways,
freezing our extremities
dragging our day packs, frozen water bottles, carseats and bodies
in and out of tiny hospital rooms,
up n down stairs,
running to plug frozen expired parking meters,
retrieve a forgotten diaper
scarfing down fast food, too much coffee and "treats"
to encourage good behavior...
- or simply to quieten the toddler who had enough:
hanging around sterile white rooms that are not meant for kids.
- or just to get through another hour. somehow.
with moaning and beeping of patients and heart monitoring machines,
chords running thru noses, veins,
pumping life into some and out of others.
passing teary eyed visitors in long hallways
with a knowing ness that you've never wanted to know.
long hugs and deep connected feelings between family and friends
the only good thing about a time like this.
and thank goodness for all that love.
"why does Gramma Janice have that hose in her nose?"
because cancerous blackness courses thru her lungs & bones
threatens to take our mother, daughter, grandmother, partner, sister, friend,
from her daughters, granddaughters, friends, brothers&sisters, partner & mother.
holding that weak hand.
looking into the glazed and familiar eyes.
the first eyes I have every looked into.
fixing her hair,
rubbing the feet of the woman who rubbed everyone's feet!
reassuring her confusion with a shaky voice that its going to be OKAY...
knowing that somewhere beautyful, soon,
it will be better than its ever been,
my heart heavier walking thru the EXIT door than its ever weighed before
"i wanna go to our brown house", says homesick toddler
dreary from another night in (loving) family member's spare room.
ONE day at a time
bittersweet trips home to an empty house,
being welcomed by that familiar smell, those familiar things and lonesome blues,
tired from the long road.
walls who've heard too many tears for terminal and emotional:
a home who's family is one member short temporarily.
a daughter/mother/partner whose sunken eyes can not understand
how she'll get thru this winter.
the toddler thrilled with her own seemingly brand new, old toys.
then the voice on the phone telling how things have changed for the worse
could not, would not be understood until seeing her for myself
upon returning to the city
stresses high for everyone
hospital staff comforting beyond expectation
dim lit rooms with overnight hide-a beds, games and books
rooms to spend time in
while you wait.
hoping for this pain to be over soon
knowing that its just about to begin
and then that day when we knew
how it would end,
was what we'd be fearing for quite some time.
holding hands with her in our circle,
Four strong voices that sound kind of like hers did
harmonizing in and out of each other
finding a new meaning in the words of Amazing Grace
flowing with real and raw feeling thru the pitches and dips
I still can not believe this is forever.