Tag Archives: death

I am the One who chooses

Today you’ve been gone 27 years

I can’t pull up your silent body as my immediate memory of you

It’s not gone but far away, where it belongs

That’s a long time to reach for your joyful face

Thank you for all that you’ve taught me, for waiting with me these 27 years


I choose to hear your laughter ringing in my heart, to see a grin that held secrets


I choose to go outside and breathe in deeply, the memory of your smell

Maybe hug my dad a little longer because he smells like you


I choose to stop searching for the memories of you unresponsive in my arms

Instead I will replay the sight of you hooking your toes on the front of your swing

and squealing out in delight


Today I choose to replay all of the living moments of your life that I can reach

I choose to loop them through my soul until joyful tears fall freely


Today, every day, I choose to celebrate that we shared life

That I still get to share life with your dad and brothers

with many that I love


I choose to embrace that I am – that I always have been – the best mom that I know how to be


I choose peace

Happy Birthday Justin

Today is my middle son’s birthday. He would have been 27 years old. Living with loss is a funny state of being – we fight it at every turn, always dimly aware that it is inescapable. We create habits to keep us from losing our keys, our place in a book, lists so that we don’t forget one of life’s latest ingredients, we play puzzles to keep from losing our memories and thus, our minds. All this effort to avoid the ultimate equalizer of death. Justin died of SIDS the week before he would have been 6 months old.

Like anyone, I did not want a tremendous loss to be part of my reality. Not me, I don’t belong in this club. A good mom, a great mom…she’s not the mother of a dead child. It’s odd how I let the words of other people sometimes reinforce this falsity. I have to remind myself, they just don’t get it. All of us, regardless of your beliefs, we are human and must investigate our surroundings, our relationships, our relationship to everything through our unique perceptions and abilities. We are not meant to be perfect. If we are lucky we maintain the ability to shift and learn through the lifetime process. If we are luckier still, we have love in our life that is not lost but transformed and weaved into our story. Is it always joyful? No. An easy road? No. Is it worth the risk? Yes.

In past years I’ve often marked anniversary dates with poems to record my feelings regarding the death of Justin. I’ve never wanted to proclaim myself any more knowledgeable than another person on how separation by death feels. I felt that poetry was vague enough to easily be molded to others’ perceptions so that they could decide if there was benefit in my words. I still believe that to be true. Today is different. Today I want to risk being more direct about my feelings regarding Justin. I want you to know about him and the importance he plays in my life and who I am…and who I am becoming. Yes, he is sometimes seen as that tear you want to hide from – sometimes that silly smile as I sing along with an old song – he is part of me…every day. I want you to know so that you can understand why I am celebrating today. Like my other sons and all the important people in my life, Justin is worth celebration.

Please do me a favor as I honor his memory and place in my life and take time today to celebrate those that matter to you. Celebrate them if they are standing next to you, across the country, across the world, in a different belief system, a confusing time in their life, a confusing time in your life, in a difference of opinion, or simply in your memory. Allow me today to be bold enough to proclaim the importance of loving, deeply, with your entire self, even at the risk of losing it all.

Weekend Call

unknowns can be frightening

even with training

what will this alarm be

odd to train for the hope

that nobody will call

but they generally call

turns out I am best at


seems the best remedy

when nothing can be fixed

slowing my breath

others catch theirs

for a moment

that will no longer be liquid

forever frozen


Treading Upward

I may not know the loss of a continent

or a lover

but I have lived the ripples of a pond

with stone cold drops to the bottom

heart and lungs weighted with life’s heavy rope

to the depths it sent me searching

for a perfect sunrise without a sky

winter’s bloom with no air

the ache of your absent body

answering only to arms of self abuse

houdini existence with me escaping life

wondering why i could not heal

lacking the balm of action

brought from tackling fear anew




life pulse

a heart sits

behind the eyes

viewing private tapes

living moments 

abiding in between

interpretations found

rendering verdicts

composing diversions

making silent wishes

until it beats no longer

light goes dim

curtains close

others look for meaning

I Woke Crying

your loss

it brings me to my knees

begging that you be cradled

in giant, loving arms

to hold you tight

because the fall is long

but all the time is needed

to weave a net

from loving memories

the strongest threads


No Prisoners

the devil has a nickname, that old Roger he turned jolly

legends from the briny deep found cloaked in evil’s folly

wearing coat of Templar’s spite, running with the knights

flying high upon a sea, black flag, crossed bones, in flight

rather that then crossed in swords, the sympathy of Rome

liberated slaves unite and name universal waters home

stormy raids, booty crusades, against a despot ministry

next they find the girls, the boys, soon longing to be  free

losing common sympathy,  leaving boundary jurisdiction

mate, gunner, masters now dance hempen benediction

captain finally breathes his last, left rotting in iron cage

sirens dance wrapped in cypress cloth, leading dead away

Joy of a Moment

moments to minutes

minutes to hours

hours to days

days to years

years to a lifetime

but a moment

can stand on its own


like the moment i cradled

my first son

my second son

my dead son

my third son

lucky for me

moments can stand alone


i can recall the scent

the sounds

the colors

the feel

the moment becomes timeless


i can cradle each of you

in a way that does not

demand i let go

demand i move on

demand i say goodbye 

i can feel you in my arms

instead of miles away

instead of in another’s arms

instead of in dust returning to the earth

timeless moments that are mine alone


some might call it denial or

a silly coping mechanism

i call it the joy of a moment

Package Deal

i try to compartmentalize my life each day

intellectual challenges go in the filing cabinet

emotionally charged items I hide in my pillow

spiritual questions light a path through the woods

it is an attempt to appear strong and invincible

but filing cabinets are only as organized as their keeper

though i try, changing the case doesn’t remove tearstains 

and those woods, they are incredibly easy to get lost in

so i live my life in separate sections, just trying to maintain

thinking i might be the only one that can’t juggle fast enough

flips and spins are suddenly disrupted when tragedy strikes

it doesn’t even have to belong to me, if it belongs to you, it is ours

i attempt to straighten files and make sense of the senseless

my tears streak down my face rather than being muffled by feathers

lifting my head, i search for a breeze to bring back significance

remembering that it is a package deal, the pieces make me whole

Future Excavation

voices of the perished used to

only come to the insane

or the divine


then we removed the mystery

captured and ensnared

for the future


the poster girl forever young

in both voice and flesh

laughter ours


royalty of pop culture living

forever on quick feet

velvet tones


the delivery of precanned notions

worldly information

we call news


even an icon hawker of wares

coated in cellophane

to preserve


now we live with replays instead

reverberating echoes

ghostly voices


electronic artifacts to be studied

decoded in the future to

discover us