My Life in Freefall


My Life in Freefall
I’ll never witness The Northern Lights
Thanks to the wonder of the internet
I’m able to see amazing photos
I’d like to say that’s enough for me
But it isn’t
I’ll never hold my husband in my arms again
We knew a love that few experience
I have so many precious memories
I’d like to say that’s enough for me
But it isn’t
I’ll never hear again the words  
Oh I do love you ma 
For 26 years my son loved me unconditionally
I’d like to say that’s enough for me 
But it isn’t
I’ll never hold a grandchild  in my arms
Smell the newborn scent that emanates from the fontanelle
I have precious great nieces and nephews
I’d like to say that’s enough for me
But it isn’t
I’ll never run again or slowly sink into a bath
Chronic illness a thieving bitch I know well
In my reverie I still dance naked in the ocean
I’d like to say that’s enough for me
But it isn’t
I’ve the loving selfless assistance of extended family and friends
Combined with psychological and medical support
Without help I’d struggle to live alone in my home
I’d like to say this loving assistance and support is everything to me 
And it is
Tricia 11/12
Freefall is a style of writing taught by Barbara Turner Vessalago.  It’s a method of writing without censoring, following each thread and allowing it to take you to places you might otherwise never venture. 
This poem,  My Life In Freefall, is not about rapid decline, rather it’s an exercise in downward movement,  allowing words to fall freely onto the page and take me to a place of acknowledgement, depth, understanding and gratitude.

About triciabertram

I have written all my life. Writing helps me to make sense of a world I often don’t understand. Poetry is my supreme solace, closely followed by literature and music. When my son ended his life in 1999 I embarked on the most difficult journey of my life, my grief journey. To survive in this unknown, harsh landscape I had to write. It was for me, the only way I could even begin to move forward. Then in 2009 my darling husband died suddenly and so my journey continues. I write about other issues but because of my life experience, grief and death are continuing themes in my writing life. In our culture I believe there is a fear of death, an inability to accept the inevitability of our mortality, and this creates enormous difficulties for the bereaved and those around them. I have begun this blog in the hope I will create a small ripple in the pond of fear that is currently drowning the reality of death and grief. I will continue to skim the stones of my truth, watch them bounce, and see how many ripples I can make.

Posted on November 22, 2012, in Poems and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. A wonderful poem. I love the uplifting part at the end. So filled with love and thanks. Brilliant as always.

  2. It is always fascinating where that sort of writing takes us – even if painful at times.

    I find this a very re-assuring poem about acceptance.

    Take care of yourself


  3. This is a great “freefall” and I can almost feel you gaining the benefit as I read Tricia.
    Very therapeutic, I may try it, thank you for sharing these thoughts which show a calm acceptance of extremely painful things.

    Lo e and many (((hugs)))



    • Dear Christine,
      I’m presenting a workshop this coming week in a Melbourne hospital on expressive writing in chronic and life limiting illness, and I’ve decided to use this poem as an example of how helpful the process can be.
      If you do try it I’d really appreciate your feedback, if you feel up to it.
      Take care of yourself my dear cyber friend.
      Much love

    • Thanks Nathan. I’m so pleased you like it. I’ve decided to make it part of the workshop.,

      it’s a great example of starting at the surface – the Northern Lights – and then dropping deeper with each stanza.

      Don’t forget those positive vibes on Thursday.

  4. I have never been introduced to “freefall” poetry, and this is a wonderful example I won’t forget. The form makes such an impact and weights your words with particular emphasis. You expose your feelings with such clarity using such few words to do so. And I always feel it is very brave to be so bare with what “is” and “isn’t” in your life. I agree with you, it isn’t enough. oxoxo Debra

    • Hello Debra,
      Freefall is used more frequently in prose, but for me poetry is how I instinctively write.

      I’m so glad you like it. I can no longer manage the week long workshops, but once a month three friends who use this method come to my home and we share some food, our writing, and whatever is happening in our lives.

      Freefall has become for us a conduit for open sharing and trust. It gives me so much more than some words on a page.
      Hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving.
      Bye for now

  5. aloha Tricia – your brief description of this process you’ve used here touches one of the processes i like a lot and learned as “shot gun writing” – basically allowing your pen or pencil – or now keyboard – to put down words without stopping. sentences and punctuation, spelling etc. is not important to this initial step of letting go and following non-stop the flow that comes through you to your paper.

    i like that process a lot. it becomes resource. later i can adjust and tweak, edit and correct as i wish – but the initial process often takes me to things in unique ways as well as places i may not quite realize i’m going to…

    the place you came to in your freefall process is a special awareness place – i like where you arrived even tho the journey has it’s own ache.

    well said. peace and ease on you and those around you. aloha.

  6. Aloha Rick,
    It was lovely to hear from you. I too love this form of writing. There is actually a freefall writing competition being held as part of the launch of Barbara”s new book, which is to be published early next year. I’ll post the link to the competition when I’m next at my main computer.

    Your insightful comments on this poem meant a lot. Mahalo Rick.

    Warm regards

  7. I’m intrigued by the idea of free fall and will make a note to learn more another day (it’s currently nearly 1am and I’m teaching a course on self-harm all day tomorrow 3 hours from home. This may not be the moment to embark upon a learning adventure).

    I see why this is your favourite. It’s strong, deep and honest – though I’m surprised you picked one with a happy ending. I wonder how many comments you’d have got if you’d left off the last stanza?

    • LEAVE THIS TO READ FOR ANOTHER DAY. Hopefully you’re in bed by now.

      Above is the link to Barbara’s web site – for when you have time. Barbara is Canadian, a delightful woman who travels the world presenting amazing workshops. My short story, Afternoon in the Gallery, fell onto my keyboard on the second day of my first workshop. It’s my favourite non poetic piece.
      I went to my first workshop 6 years ago and 4 out of the 12 who attended the workshop, still meet once a month at my home.
      My health makes it difficult to attend workshops these days, but I’m still in touch with Barbara and her work via the internet. I think of her as a dear friend. She recently published a wonderful book, Writing Without a Parachute – The Art of Freefall.
      As for the response to this piece without the last stanza – I too wonder. But I don’t see it as having a happy ending, rather it’s an overview of my life, the sad and the joyful.
      Bye for now
      Tricia xo

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