For years she wore a mask,
like the Fosse character
in All That Jazz.
Pop a pill,
look in the mirror
There was a time when
she was the entertainer,
laughter followed
the Pied Piper of Partytown.
These days she finds the thought
of wearing her old mask
sadder than her sorrow.
doggedly defiant,
with neither the energy
nor the inclination
she refuses
to maintain the illusion.
She still laughs,
she cries a lot too,
and that’s ok
with her.
With a few she feels the weight
of expectation.
She’s learnt
if she doesn’t hide her pain
they’ll stay away,
and that’s ok
with her.

Tricia 11/2013

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 January 25, 2014, in Poems. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Hard stuff, I know.

  2. I think I sometimes forget that defiance is strength! Your refusal to put the mask back on is a strong and bold move when you have a certainty that a truthful expression will keep some people at bay. But you are strong in both laughter and tears–whatever is honest, authentic and YOU–not a reasonable facsimile. There is a quiet understanding of “just how it is” in these words. I like you without the mask, my friend. ox

  3. Beautiful in your honesty and strength Tricia. Those that can’t bear your grief truth aren’t deserving of your precious time.
    Peter. X

  4. Oh Tricia, such honesty in your writing is refreshing. In fact you have given such a gift with this piece. I was quite shocked a while ago, to realise that some people had stayed away from me for this very reason, that of refusing to hide how I am, saying it how it is, but I have changed, and if others cant be around me because of that then its their issue, not mine. I used to be such a people pleaser.

    My eye opener has been with my so called friends in AA. Since my diagnosis and my fewer appearances at meetings because they are on an evening when Im very tired, they have dropped away from me one by one; its like I have nothing to offer anymore, Im not the fun they want me to be and became used to. Or so they think. I am still the fun I was, or I can be when I feel like it. I have had so many promises that they will call and see me but one phone call that tells them how it really is for me seems to make them recoil. Even my very best friend in AA has gone, Im no longer there to attend convention weekends etc etc. To coin an old phrase thats a bit corny. its their loss. I am who I am. I wish I could limp round for a cuppa. I love you more than much ❤ xxx

  5. The raw honesty of authenticity is, I have learned, one of the most beautiful gifts we can give one another, and there comes a time when those masks are pretty suffocating. I just love this piece, Tricia. Thank you.

  6. It really saddens me that there are people in your life who can’t accept the real you and would prefer to covort with the masked person. But then I guess yours has been a very bumpy road and perhaps just a bit too ‘real’ for many folk to manage?

    I think you’re perfect, just as you are. Love you x

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