Letting Go

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April 7th, 2018. Six years ago today, I lost my precious mum to pneumonia. She was the bravest, most selfless person I ever knew. Most of her life, she was ill and in pain, and yet she never complained. Like, not ever. She was my hero. She is my hero. If I could be a quarter of the person she was, I would be happy. She write poetry. Although our styles are very different, I inherited her love of all things literature. I thank her for that every day.

This is a poem I wrote about losing her …

Letting Go

I sit next to the 

sterile hospital bed and

wonder how she got this ill—

how I never noticed,

when I was supposed to look after her.

I watch as the angry mask

furiously forces air into her lungs,

her body slamming into the bed

with every blast.

Holding her lifeless hand,

I trace the misshapen 

fingers and thumbs.

Memories cascade before my eyes;

I am a grown-up child again,

five years old, taking care of my mum,

(my precious responsibility),

but I was selfish, 

all I wanted was a mum

who could play and run with me, lift me, 

hold me.

None of that matters now,

my sole desire is for a mum who can 

hear me, 

speak to me,

but I know she is lost forever,

so I turn to the doctor and

nod,

and the mask is removed;

the machines switched off.

I’m terrified as I watch her breaths—

almost imperceptible—

gradually fade to nothing.

She is still,

pain free, 

and I am broken.

I look to her face,

and in her very last breath 

she has smiled, 

and I know she has seen my dad,

the love of her life.

They are reunited in death,

and this comforts my shattered

heart.

 

happy families

I was given this picture prompt back in December and let my brain wander to dark pastures.

Evil Snowman

 

happy families

childhood’s fingers claw at
my brain
taking hold of that part of me which
survived
dragging my thoughts into winter

the screams
brittle as ice
that battled inside of me
force their way
into the air
they slash and scratch
at my face and arms

a loop of festive tunes
plays like a dirge
snowmen snarl and hiss
child catchers in action

breaking this
little girl
taking this
little girl
killing this
little girl

winter
for all your false beauty
i know the depth of your
evil
i’ve witnessed it
tasted its bitterness
recoiled at the
rotting stench of
happy families
and i need you no more

the shade in which i live
is bearable
and there are moments
i feel the sun
warming my shoulders
touching my skin with
fresh beginnings
and in those moments my
barren dreamscapes
become fruitful and
full of life

Christmas Songs ~ Day Seven

Ahh, I’m at the last day of sharing my favourite Christmas songs. My two all-time favourites are contained in this post. Both of them make me smile so much. Both of them are a little unconventional. The first one, in particular.

From the first time I heard this song, I fell in love. It’s funny, catchy, singy-alongy (sorry, but how else do you say it?). I’ve Karaoke’d this song more than once with my my besties. It’s different to other Christmas songs. It’s unique. And I love Kirsty McColl’s voice.

So, here it is. ‘A Fairy Tale of New York’ by The Pogues & Kirsty McColl. (Check out the video for a cameo by a young Matt Dillon.)

 

My number one song for the holidays is one that always makes me sing and dance and feel happy. It’s a song that always reminds me of Mum. She loved it, and as soon as Christmas came to within touching distance, she would play this and we’d both sing along. Mum had severe rheumatoid arthritis from the age of twenty-six, so she never danced, but she took great delight in watching me float around the living room, full of Christmas excitement. Such happy memories. It’s hard when you know you will never feel that way again.

But I don’t want to bring the mood down. So, here is my favourite ever Christmas song: ‘Happy Holiday’ by Andy Williams.

 

So, there we have it. My Christmas through music. It’s been great to watch all these videos. I feel a little more Christmassy now. Tonight, I will see my two best friends. We all meet up every Christmas Eve; it’s tradition. I have a feeling we’ll end up having a few drinks and watching ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol.’ (Oh yeah, we know how to roll!).

I won’t blog over the next few days because it’s family time. But, I will be back.

Happy Christmas and a blogging New Year!

Missing Mum

 

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It was the annual Christmas Party on my Mum’s side of the family yesterday. Mum was one of ten children (eleven in total, but one died age three months), so I have a lot of cousins. Consequently, each year, we have a Christmas Party and a Summer BBQ. It’s a lovely tradition, and one I have always looked forward to.

This year, I found myself feeling sad, though. The older I get, the more of Mum’s siblings are no longer here. Only five remain, and one of those lives in Australia. My cousins are all married with grown up children, and a lot of them have moved away.

Yesterday, only sixteen people came to the party. In one way, it was nice because I hate being amongst too many people. The smaller number meant it was easier to talk to people. But Mum’s loss felt huge. It always does. She died in April 2012, so it’s not my first Christmas without her. I should be used to her loss. I think, maybe, I was already feeling sad before I went yesterday. Something inside made me sad, and I felt old and like my life is going nowhere, and like all the good bits have gone forever. Old feelings, for me. But I wished they had stayed away yesterday.

After losing Uncle Rob in August this year, I’ve felt like Mum’s family (and my connection to her) is disappearing. Which, I know, isn’t true. I worry about my Auntie Beryl. She’s always been my favourite. She and Mum were next to each other in line of birth, and they spoke two or three times every day on the phone and saw each other once a week. Plus, she is the kindest, most generous person you could ever meet. She’s seventy-four and has a better social life than me! She’s always on the go. But I worry about her. She’s had two heart attacks in the past.

I didn’t intend to write this post today. I had a story all ready to paste into here, but my fingers had another idea. I guess, what I’m trying to say is, don’t take those you love for granted. Love them and hug them and laugh with each other. Spend precious times like Christmas together. The company of loved ones is so much more important than presents and Christmas lunch. Enjoy the time together, make memories you can fall back on when you have the mean reds.

I will share this poem with you, though, in an attempt to brighten the mood a little:

 

The Silver Trousers

The moment I dreaded was finally here,
My auntie’s house, full of festive cheer,
With twinkling eyes, she gave me my gift,
Uncomfortably, on the spot I did shift
“Open it now,” she said with a grin,
“Show everyone what you find within,”
Smiling back I carefully unpeeled
the paper, saw the present, I reeled,
Silver trousers, shining bright
I had to shield my eyes from their light,
“How festive,” my dear husband said
“You should try them on, go ahead,”
Grimacing, I climbed the stairs,
Into the bedroom, I sat on the chair,
One leg first, then the other,
They fit perfectly, “Oh bother!”
In trepidation, I rejoined the crowd,
My husband actually laughed out loud,
I shot him a look that plainly said,
When we get home, my love, you are dead.

Sliver Trousers

Broken Heart

This is another poem I wrote in response to a prompt. This time, it was to write about the sad moments in life. Needless to say, I could relate to this one.

Broken Heart

It doesn’t matter how long you’re waiting for

the inevitable to crash through your life,

when it does, you aren’t prepared—

how can you be?—

how can anyone steady their resolve enough

to be ready to lose their loved one’s love

forever?

The thing nobody ever admits is

when parents say they will always be there for you,

they lie,

one day (maybe not so far away)

they will die and you

will crumple and watch—helpless—as

parts of you break off and float away,

and you won’t know how to put yourself

together again,

and you question if you even want to.

The world—always scary—

becomes a place in which you inhabit the periphery,

perching as far away from others as possible,

waiting to fall into the depths,

from where there is no going back.

But who cares?

The well-meaning people

(who have so much wisdom you want to

scream at them to

stop!)

tell you time heals,

and to remember the good times,

but don’t they know it’s the good times that are killing you?

Without the laughter and love and memories of

that video your Dad searched everywhere to find

when you were ill and he just wanted you to smile,

getting over it would be so much easier.

I’m not sure about the “loved and lost” theory,

I never could figure why pain is better than

nothing.

Still, I love,

and with all my heart.

How fracked up is that?

Ghosts of Christmas Past

CTree

As the big day rapidly approaches, I can’t help but think of my parents and how much I miss them. Christmas was always a big, family time of year. My Mum loved the holiday, and her love filled the house. A big part of the joy from opening presents came from watching her face as I ripped the paper she had carefully wrapped. She smiled through every second of the day.

Things are different now. Mum is gone, and so is Dad. Christmas is a whole different affair, and their loss tugs at my heart even harder than usual. So I wrote this poem. Because, what better way to deal with my grief?

 

Ghosts of Christmas Past

I cast my eyes over our festive tree,
delicately graced with shimmering lights,
and my mind meanders
along winding lanes,
leading me back to
Christmases past.

The ghost of my mother
smiles at me,
anticipation lights up her face,
as her memory captures my reaction
to every gift;
so selfless, and now forever lost.

As I prepare our meal—
the most important of the year—
I feel sad it’s just for two,
but I can see the spectre of
my father,
sipping brandy,
rosy cheeked and laughing;
the warmth of his joy
tugs at my heart . . .
there used to be such happiness.

I return to this Christmas,
table settings are sparse, and
loneliness consumes me,
residual is the only love that stays.

My eyes tear at the sight of two                                                                                                                    empty chairs                                                                                                                                           I will feel their presence, see their smiles, and hope
my memories can keep them near.
These ghosts I love, as they loved me,
I’ll miss them for eternity.

In Dreams

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In Dreams

Dreams of Mum,
of insignificant moments,
playing out as though
real,
and in those moments
she walks and laughs and
sparkles,
her eyes—light blue—
smile as she listens to
conversations between Dad and
me.

The three of us,
alive,
together,
and it feels so natural,
so safe,
and then I wake,
and my dream fades to
dust
I’m left with an ache that
twists my insides,
it’s like losing them
all over again,
my mind can’t compute how
they were just here,
so real,
and now they’re gone,
leaving only a faded cine-film reel,
spluttering in my head
flashes of love,
unpindownable.

A lone tear
escapes
my heart . . .
what I wouldn’t give
for one more
insignificant
moment.

Where We End

This is a Diamante Poem. The pattern consists of seven lines which forms the shape of a diamond when centered on the page. The first and seventh lines each consist of a single noun. Each noun is the antonym of the other, creating the opportunity to present unusual contrasts. The second and sixth lines are each two adjectives describing their respective nouns. The third and fifth lines are each three gerunds (present participles) describing their associated antonym. The fourth line contains four nouns, with two relating to each antonym.

Where We End

Togetherness,
united, shared
fusing, joining, combining
friendship, marriage, separation, divorce
isolating, detaching, disconnecting
solitary, companionless,
Loneliness