Once More Unto The Maze


Punching, sobbing,
smiling for friends and family
until,
behind closed doors
the torment continued.
Sent away to boarding school
to protect my sister
and myself.
Only there a few days when
that woman
sent me to the bathroom.
Eventually she came,
closed the door
then took off
the thick black belt,
the one that held
the rosary beads…

We met at a dance,
one I’d not wanted to attend.
You were so gentle,
kind,
interesting.
Slowly trust grew.
You shared your stories,
encouraged me to share mine.
You told me
I didn’t have to be funny
all the time,
you loved my silence
as much as my joy.
One day you said
I love you…

The sea was so salty
I could float.
For the first time in my life
I was buoyant,
free,
taken by the sea
body and mind
drifting,
finally experiencing…

“I can’t find a heartbeat”,
the room became silent.
Two quick cuts,
forceps pull you from me,
nurses doing CPR
on your tiny body.
Tears stream silently
down your father’s cheeks
as I cry, “No, no, please no”
Then you cried…

Years later
your father weeps, I howl,
a wild thing caught
in a bone crunching trap.
I wrap your cold,
rigid body
in the lovingly made quilt;
carefully tucking the edges
into the sides of the casket.
We three shared so much
in your 26 years,
love, laughter,
and pain.
Yes there was a lot of pain,
but the love and laughter,
ah, they were grand.
Ten years after your death
I was tucking another quilt
around a precious body.
Broken, bereft,
my love, my family, my life…

I’ve lived alone for 5 years,
some days are good,
some not.
I savour the riches of memory,
live joyful gratitude
for the love I’ve known.
One day
as a carer showered me
I asked
“When will it be my turn to die?”
She wrapped me in a thick towel,
held me and said,
“It’s okay to cry, Tricia, it’s okay to cry.”
I’m so grateful for my kind,
gentle carers.
I miss my husband and son
every day,
and every day I wonder when…

I’ll continue wandering my life’s maze,
pathways strewn with sorrow and joy,
forever clasping unconditional love
my precious husband, my darling boy.

Tricia 8/2014

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 August 31, 2014, in Poems. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. That was incredibly vivid Tricia. The first section was an element I had not heard before. All I can say is “Take care”.
    Hugs from Ireland.

    Joe

  2. It’s okay to cry Tricia…

    Beautifully written. Painful to read x

  3. Your deep pain is conveyed in poem so well…peace be with you.

  4. Those dear carers. What a balm it must be to have your pain validated; to be assured that tears in grief go hand-in-hand. Tricia, this piece is stunningly powerful and I don’t know if you physically cry, but you do in your writing. There is so much power in the imagery of the quilt. I hope you feel a release through writing this raw, my friend. I really do. ox

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