It’s Not Death I Fear

It’s Not Death I Fear

“Imagine your body being buried
while you’re still in it
…… this can go on for years”
And so it goes

A television advertisement
Shock therapy
Designed to induce fear
Deter people
From smoking
I don’t know how it works
From a smoker’s perspective
It’s 25 years since I quit

I can tell you
From my perspective
Chronic lung disease
Incremental breathlessness
Diminshing independence

It punches me in the stomach
Drops me to my knees
Submerges me
In the waters of my fate

Tricia 6/2013

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 September 27, 2013, in Poems. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. I love you. I love this.

  2. Powerful stuff in this poem Tricia, very powerful.

    I never got hooked on smoking; tried it when I was about 18 for sex appeal I think. We looked SO cool cross legged with cigarette (watery eyes because we couldnt really stand it!!) and then again when I was in treatmentcfor alcoholism. Well everyone else smoked so of course I did too! Oh dear! Anyway it never grabbed me and I am so grateful it wasnt yet another obstacle to try and overcome.

    Love and big hugs
    To you and Big Ted

    • Christine, if you could have seen me as a teenager, sitting in front of the mirror with my fag thinking I looked so grown up. I’ve had lung issues all my life and should never have smoked, but I wouldn’t be told.
      I find some TV ads trigger strong feelings so I try to write my way through.
      There’s another one on in Australia at the moment where a dead man sits up and says “I wish I could have my heart attack again”. I know it’s meant to prompt people to act quickly if they experience heart attack symptoms, but it makes me whimper like a kicked puppy.
      Thanks for always being there. Your loving comments mean so much to me.
      Love and hugs to you too my dear friend.
      Tricia xoxo

  3. Thank God I never took up smoking! Good one Tricia! Take care!

  4. Oh boy – this must be such a hard thing to face, and yet you must. I hope that exploring it and writing about it helps you find a path you feel able to tread x

    • Writing helps me face reality and come to a place of acceptance. I sometimes refer to it as walking into the fire. I’m actually a happy person with an aptitude for joy. Giving free rein to my feelings via my poems helps me to stay that way (most of the time).

      When I’m well enough I facilitate writers workshops for people with chronic and life limiting illness.

      Again thanks for commenting on the ‘tough ones’, Pooky.

      • A friend of mine has just discovered that her nine year old daughter has a terminal illness. Perhaps once we’re past the initial shock I’ll suggest she tries writing…

        (It was hearing her devastating news which prompted me to write ‘no words’ the other day: )

      • Pooky, I’m so sorry to hear about your friend and their child. Your poem, in my opinion, is a perfect response to such news.
        I have friends in the U S, whose 3 year old son, Caemon, died on February 5th this year from a rare form of leukemia. They have a blog titled – C is for Crocodile
        This blog chronicles their journey from diagnosis and is ongoing as they learn to live in a world without their precious little boy. You may like to look at it when you have time. Only you will know if or when it may be appropriate for your friend.
        Writing isn’t for everyone, but it helps a lot of people to keep going during unimaginable suffering. And I agree with giving your friend time to come to terms with this devastating news.
        Take care
        Tricia xo

      • Thanks Tricia – good advice and I’ll certainly take a look at C is for crocodile. There’s something unimaginably hard and complicated about coming to terms with the idea of this 9 year old girl who was (is) healthy bar a gradual loss of sight, will slowly lose everything. I can hardly bear to think about it.

        My friend will need to work through it somehow though and I fear that not talking about this incredibly difficult thing will be the response of most.

        It makes me hold my girls tighter – as does the thought of the grief you feel for your son. I sometimes work with schools who’ve lost a child to suicide. It is not work I relish as it’s unbelievably hard – I always see my main job as two fold: removing any feeling of blame or guilt and helping everyone understand that we may never understand the reasons why.

        Thank you again for your support and for writing such beautiful and thought provoking poems.

        Pooky x

  5. How brave and transparent you are to write this!!!

    • Nathan, it’s a case of survival instinct. I had to find a way to cope with this TV advertisement. That’s the thing I love about Freefall writing, I start with a fear or a question, and just let the words take me where they will.

  6. My best friend has chronic lung disease, Tricia, and I’ve seen it “in action.” I’ve been with her on really bad days and I’ve also seen how vulnerable she is with just an ordinary cold, that immediately goes into something secondary! I’m so sorry to hear that this is what you’ve been battling. You’ve mentioned your health in compromise, but I wasn’t sure what you were going through. I wonder if we are seeing some of the same advertisements. There is an ad campaign that is frightening, but I have doubted it would impact young people, the ones who should be the target audience. Then there are the drug company ads…I actually think they are worse! You’ve introduced me to the term “Freefall writing” and I am really intrigued by how it allows your writing to take on so many diverse styles. Each time, though, you tell a story that is very compelling. Hugs, and I hope you have a healthy, strong week, my friend. Debra

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