Another Mother’s Day

Another Mother’s Day

Why did she spend that Mother’s Day
At a conference?
In 26 years
They’d never
Spent a Mother’s Day apart
He rang her
Sang happy mother’s day
To the tune of happy birthday.
She’d laughed
Told him she loved him
And was feeling a little sad
They were not together
He told her
He was happy she was doing something for herself
Wanted her to think of it
As his gift to her
They chatted for a while
About what they’d do
Next Mother’s Day
Shared another ‘I love you’
Then said goodbye
Three months later
Her son was dead
How could she have not known
They would never share
Another Mother’s Day?

Tricia 5/2014
(This poem was written in response to a prompt from Pooky’s Poems)

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 May 10, 2014, in Poems. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Words arent enough to respond to this; in fact they seem flimsy and useless. But I love you Tricia, I hope this is nearing “enough”

    ❤ Xxx(((big hugs)))

    • Oh my precious friend, thank you for always being there, ready to hold me up with your loving words. Your responses are never flimsy nor useless. You are one of the most genuinely compassionate people I know and I love you so very much.

      I wrote this poem in response to Pooky’s prompt re beginning a poem with a question and then exploring questioning in different ways. I saw Pooky’s prompt and the words just fell on the page. For me this was, surprisingly, not painful to write. I wrote it from what I think of as ‘a witness state’. It was as if I felt compassion for the woman I was.

      For the first few years after Ken’s death I tortured myself with the two questions in the poem. I think what I was trying to do here was to show that often the most important questions have no answers, and how we can sometimes torture ourselves with these questions without answer, particularly where grief is concerned. Maybe I needed to do more to show this.

      I’d love to know what you think of it as just a poem, not part of my life story, if you have time.

      I’m sure there’ll be tears and yearning tomorrow, but my grief is now a gentler thing. Of course I could have a day were I throw empty plastic water bottles at the glass doors near my chair. I do that sometimes when I’m having a bad day. I do still occasionally have my doolally days. 🙂
      Love you to pieces
      Tricia ❤ xx

  2. I don’t think you can ever know something like that. Sad, so sad piece. Take care tricia.

    • Thanks so much, Joe. I don’t know if you follow Pooky. She’s just begun posting writing prompts, and when I saw her prompt re starting a poem with a question, the words just fell on the page for me. The only thing I’ve written since February was a shopping list, (The haiku I posted the other day were written in Feb) so I’m so pleased to have found my words. I keep hoping I’ll write happy stuff, but I write what comes up, and as tomorrow is Mother’s Day in Australia, this is what came up. I think a lot of people who live with grief have times when they struggle with unanswerable questions. You are so right, Joe, there is no way of knowing.
      Hope you’re having a nice Irish summer.
      Little hug

  3. Reading this now whilst trying to imagine I don’t know you….

    I still find it beautiful, poignant, sad… It flows beautifully for me (you use punctuation and line breaks very cleverly in my humble opinion, it is very hard to read this clumsily) i read about a very, very caring boy and a close relationship between mother and son which as cruelly severed. The assumption I come to is that he must have had his life cruelly taken in a tragic accident. The idea that he could have taken his life with his own hand feels beyond imaginable. He sounds happy, caring, fulfilled.

    It’s impossible to read this without thinking of you and the pain. It makes me realise what a shock the loss of Ken must have had. That despite the difficulties at the end, that there were happy happy times. That you are able to say ‘it ended his suffering’ but that you are saying nothing of your own suffering which must have been… must be…. huge.

    I love you. i love this… but it did make me very, very sad. Nothing must be taken for granted is, I suppose, the overriding message to take away here xxx

    • Dear, dear Pooky, thank you so much for this. I realise it was a really difficult thing to ask you to do. And yes we were close, and we had a lot of happy times.

      One of the terrible things about many mental illnesses, as you’d know from the work you do, is that joy can turn to sorrow in the blink of an eye. Add addiction to the mix and you get self loathing.

      Your final sentence means everything to me. If people can take away something like that from my words, then I feel I have done something worthwhile, and I feel, Ken, would have been very proud of me.

      Yes I do have days when I grieve and suffer, but I also have lots of days when I’m really content – at peace. I fall into the hole, I climb out of the hole. 🙂

      I love you dearly, and thank you again for giving me the feedback I asked for. xx

      • “I fall into the hole. I climb out of the hole”

        You are remarkably resilient. I’ve seen you do this more than once already. I’m glad you are starting to resurface, I’ve missed you incredibly. Love you x

  4. What I find about your poems Tricia is the way you make them (intentionally or not,) universal. And this one is no exception. It is a beautifully written poem which I am absolutely certain could speak to so many people, as all your others do. A book of poems by you on this subject would be amazing and a great help to many. All this is said objectively; I have purposely distanced myself from you and that is quite difficult! Xxx ❤ xxX

    • Thank you my dear Christine. I’m so grateful. I realise this was a difficult thing to ask of you. I sometimes worry that because I write from my heart my words get lost in my story, if that makes sense. Your words reassure me this is not the case.

      It’s after midnight again, and my immune system goes haywire if I don’t get enough sleep. I’m still battling the infection I had for weeks so I’d better get me to my bed.

      I love you so much my dear friend.
      Big hugs ❤ xx

  5. Sleep well. I love you loads too. ❤ Xx

  6. I’m always really moved at the way you tell your story through your prose and poetry. The impact is so strong! I once again am struck by the tenderness you and your son exchanged. I can tell I would have liked him very much. Has it been possible for you to continue with your poetry workshops? You’ve such a gift for expressing pain in the most poignant of ways. The words are never gratuitous. They are just real. Sending you a big hug, my friend. ox

    • Ah Debra, he was a very special young man. He had his faults, as we all do, but I adored him. You would have enjoyed his wonderful sense of humour, and his empathetic heart.

      As for the workshops, I no longer have the energy. I tire very easily these days, but I’ve passed on my workshop framework to some psychologists and a few post grad Masters and Doctoral students. They have the skills and the energy to do what I no longer can. And they have my permission to use any of my poems that feel appropriate for them. xx

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