A Letter Undelivered

A Letter Undelivered

In the early hours of tomorrow
It will be four years
Since you gently squeezed my hand
For the last time
I held you as your final breath
Softly sighed farewell

I still love you
Will always be your wife
You’d smile if you could see me
Refuse to tick the ‘widow box’
You’d be proud
I’ll not let death define me
You’d feel for the form checkers
Who don’t know my determination
I’m sometimes sad
Yet full of joy
For the life we shared

Yes we suffered
When Ken ended his life
Yet we somehow survived
The not wanting to survive
Our love allowed us acceptance
Of the individuality of grief
Stepping away
Coming together
As we each dealt with the death
Of our only child

Our final years together
Were wonderful
Laughter lost was rediscovered
Life together
Cherished deeply
We’d learnt how quickly
Life can end
Spoke openly about
One of us
Being left alone

But my darling
I’m never alone
You and Ken are still
The pivotal absent presence
In my life
Memories a soft blanket
I wrap myself in
As I move in and out of sorrow

I live
Surrounded by family and friends
Moving on with life
Fighting the frustrations of my body
Savouring my moments of solitude
Always writing

When the missing of you is an ache
Music becomes my memory
And I’m ok my love
I’m OK

Tricia 13/7/2013

About triciabertram

I have written all my life. Writing helps me to make sense of a world I often donโ€™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 July 13, 2013, in Poems and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Sad, but defiant. Well written.

    • Thanks so much, Joe. I was always getting into trouble as a little tacker for my defiance, but it now stands me in good stead. And my sorrow – my sorrow is a gentler companion these days. We understand each other more as time goes by.

  2. Oh Tricia, I can hardly respond to this for my tears. My words look like they are hovering under water, just near the surface.

    You have such a soft, gentle way when you are expressing grief, and my tears flow for this rather than your grief itself. Does that make anysense? I think I know what I am trying to say, not sure.
    I think this poem is the most moving one of yours that Ive read so far, I really do. A very gentle acceptance with determination as you say not to let death define you.

    And amidst all my troubles you bring much needed smiles, and I treasure you dearly for rhis.
    Not forgetting Big Ted; he vrings even more smiles. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    Love and big hugs for you and lovely Ted


    • My dear Christine, your response is poetic and beautiful –
      ‘My words look like they are hovering under water, just near the surface.’ I’d love to see this sentence in a poem.

      And you are right. What you describe as my ‘gentle way’ is for me, a sign I’ve come to a place of acceptance of my life without Rod and Ken’s physical presence. I’ve rediscovered my sense of peace where my sorrow is concerned. I sit with peace and grief at the table of my life, and listen to what both have to teach me.

      Now I just have to work on reaching that same level of acceptance where my health issues are concerned. I still have my kicking and screaming days, not always metaphorical, when my body frustrates me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m sure you understand that, even more so than I do.

      Big Ted is my best mate. I really do wish more people could find the joy and comfort childlike play can bring. Although I must say on my recent schlepping around while my bathroom was being done, people smiled when they saw him, some knew of Ted E Bare, the bear he’s modelled on, some even patted him as if he were a dog. ๐Ÿ™‚ He brings me such joy.

      Take care my friend
      Tricia xoxoxo

  3. He brings them even!! (Sorry for typo) ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I didn’t realize that it has just been four years, Tricia. I can believe it feels like much longer, but to be able to access joy and hold onto a bit of defiance (the widow box–love that!) in just that amount of time is quite a feat.

    “But my darling
    Iโ€™m never alone
    You and Ken are still
    The pivotal absent presence
    In my life
    Memories a soft blanket
    I wrap myself in
    As I move in and out of sorrow”

    Such a powerful stanza. I hope this anniversary was spent with those who also care and remember, or maybe you’re still where you can stare at the ocean and find a few moments of peace.

    A day (or two–time zones!) late, but I send a very warm hug, my friend. ox Debra

    • Dear Debra,
      Thank you for your warm and empathetic words. You’d be surprised how many people, some who were once close friends, think 4 months is long enough to grieve. I used to get cross, but now I realise that some don’t understand, others can’t bear to think about it, and then there are the stoics, who think their way is the only way. I distance myself from ‘the lecturers’ and the rest I work at accepting, not always successfully. I have these little internal conversations that occasionally become external before I realise. But then I’ve always been one for putting puss with the pigeons. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I always spend these special days alone. I’ve discovered that this is what works best for me. It took family and friends a while to accept this, but now they do, even if they don’t understand, and I love them all the more for it.

      Your warm hug is greatly appreciated. Sending one back to you.
      Tricia xoxo

  5. you being ok helps me to be ok. thankyou.

    • Ah, Nathan –
      Your words mean so much to me. This is why I do what I do. You’ve been my safe harbour for so long, sent the lifeguards when I was drowning and so much more. To be able to give something back is profound, even though I dearly wish it wasn’t necessary.
      Tricia xoxo

  6. I can feel the energy in your words. Thanks for sharing
    And thanks for the follow!

  7. Elizabeth (Anni) Leppin

    We were in writing class together! I saw you just after your husband died.

    • Anni, I remember. I was lost and broken and you were so kind that day. I’ve seen your comments on Mark’s ‘Black Dog’ page, but didn’t connect the dots. It’s great to hear from you.

  8. What an amazing strong woman you are. Thanks for sharing. I found this via my friend Mark on Black Dog. Keep moving.

  9. Doreen Hegarty

    I’ve just read your poem, shared by Black Dog, and it is so powerful. I have attempted suicide twice but I’m now trying to keep myself safe, accept what has happened to me and trying to find ways to distract myself as I begin my journey of moving on with my life. Thank you for sharing your poem x x

    • Doreen, I’m so sorry you have known such suffering, and I thank you for sharing a little of your story with me. I hope you continue to keep yourself safe as you move forward.
      Tricia xoxo

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