Author Archives: triciabertram

Running Repairs

She knows she has been broken,
partially repaired,
and yet
still the stuffing oozes.
A quick oversew here,
trimming excess stuffing there
what to do
with the cutoff pieces?

Tricia 11/2014

breathe deeply…

The following is a link to a poem by, Charles, at

Don’t forget to touch the arrow that will enable you to hear Charles speak these powerful words.

Empty Spaces

Last week I let go of my husband’s car
This week my son’s piano
My niece offered to move furniture
So the absence of the piano
Would not be obvious
I said no
Eventually I may put something there
Nothing will ever fill that space
For me
There’s a sense of validation
In the visual emptiness
I positioned myself in the lounge-room
So I could see both spaces
In them I saw my heart
My essence
Able to love
See the beauty that surrounds me
Hollowed by death and disability
I want to get my calligraphy paint
Scrawl across the blank wall
The empty car space
This is me!
This is me!

Tricia 9/2014


For My Son

Today is the 21st anniversary
Of your 21st birthday
You didn’t want a party
You wanted dinner at home
“Just us three”
With French Champagne
Beef Wellington
With a 21 year old bottle of Cab Sav
Home made sorbet with raspberries
And to finish
Cheese and muscatels
With a 21 year old Vintage Port
You played Scenes from an Italian Restaurant
While dad decanted the red and the port
He poured them through a coffee filter
Because they’d thrown a sediment
You and dad stood behind me with a blanket
While I flambéed the eye fillet
Because I once set fire to the cafe curtains…

We’d just finished our oysters
When there was a knock at the door
Dad answered it to be greeted by
A Giant Chicken
Heidi had organised a singing telegram for you
I don’t know who was more surprised
Us or the chicken
He was expecting a larger gathering
But we got into the spirit of the thing
By the end my tummy was aching with laughter
I’ll never forget you sitting on the dining room floor
Singing with your very own Giant Chicken
As he was leaving he told us
Ours was the smallest gathering he’d attended
But one of the most fun
It was a wonderful evening
Lots of laughter
Loving reminiscence
And music
Beautiful music
You took requests between courses
After dinner you sipped your port
And improvised
I love how you could lose yourself
Once your fingers touched the keyboard

Tomorrow I’m letting go of your piano
It’s going to your cousin Molly
You never got to meet Molly
But you’d love her
She was born 40 years old
You’d love each of the next generation
Byron draws
Loves music
I gave him your cashmere jacket
I thought he’d wear it but
He hung it like a piece of art
That was when I knew
I’d found a home for your Doski blazer
He also has your drawing equipment
Young Quinn loves sport and computers
He’s also a quiet sensitive boy
I’m getting him an iPad
Because your computer equipment
Is so outdated
You’d be amazed by the strides in technology
In the 15 years since your death
And wee Thomas
Ellen’s little chap
Ah you’d love him so
Each time I look at his photo
I want to show you
I’m giving Thomas your stuffed Digbee
It’s 40 years old and well loved
But I want him to have something that was yours
We’ll also get him something new
Something a 2 year old would love

Dad died 10 years after you
Holding my hand
I wish I could have held your hand
I miss you every day
Happy Birthday my darling son

Tricia 18/9/2014

The Car Battery is Dead

The car battery is dead.
So what?
But it’s much more
than a dead battery.
The battery is dead because
the car has only been driven
once in 9 months.
Driving has become too difficult.
She can no longer manage
the getting of the walking frame
in and out of the car.
And then there’s the oxygen,
the slow growing cataracts,
the balance issue.

“Get rid of the car”
you might say
it was His car…

There’s also her sense of
while it sits in the driveway
she still has a choice.
Maybe one day she’ll feel well enough
to drive to the beach,
it’s only 10 minutes down the road.
Oh how she misses
the sound of the waves,
the scent of the sea,
the feeling of sand underfoot,
the cooling ripple of salt water
ebbing and flowing over her toes.
And what if she runs out of milk one day?
With the car there’s the possibility
she can make it to the local shop.

She would let it sit there
on Thursday they’re coming
for her son’s piano.
She told them they could have it,
wants it to be played again,
it’s going to hurt to watch it go.
No more Memories of Green,
the theme from St Elmo’s Fire,
no more family rounds of Fur Elise.
No “Bottle of white, bottle of red,
perhaps a bottle of rose instead…”
They won’t be able to get the piano out
with the car in the driveway.
She knows it’s pointless
to put another new battery in
if the car’s not going to be driven.

Why must she contemplate
letting go of
her husband’s car,
her son’s piano,
her illusion of independence,
all in one week?
It’s all because
the car battery is dead.

Tricia 9/2014

My New Pendant

I don’t know why I hate it
I wept when the technician left
It’s very light
And yet
It feels like a brick
A constant reminder
I want to smash it against the wall
But I won’t
Not yet…

Tricia 3/9/2014

Once More Unto The Maze

Punching, sobbing,
smiling for friends and family
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,
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,
taken by the sea
body and mind
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

Sometimes Only Telling Will Do

Why must we idle among euphemisms?
My husband and son
Didn’t pass
They died
I didn’t carelessly
Lose them
They died
From the moment of birth
Is inevitable
I have a chronic illness
Slowly stealing my independence
Eventually it will kill me
We’re all going to die

Choosing words that obfuscate
Pretty words to alliterate
Will in no way obliterate
The reality of death
It hurts like hell
To be the last one standing
In my precious family of three
It would hurt a little less
If I could freely confess
They are dead – I ache – can’t you see

It will never go away
I will miss them every day
Yet when I speak of it some say
“Cheer up it’ll be okay”
And then they stay away…
It feels like a punishment to me
For speaking of my leafless family tree
All I want is to speak my truth
These words are not meant as abuse
They are my sincere heartfelt plea
They are dead – I ache – please sit with me

Won’t you sit with me in my sorrow
As you happily sit with me in joy
I’m not always sad and miserable
Sometimes I want to speak about my boy
Share again the story
Of the day he took his life
“We’ll talk again tomorrow”
My final words a jagged knife
How my fear and heartache grew
With each unanswered call
The pounding on his door
The words that made me fall
Knowing I couldn’t save my son
The deepest cut of all
It’s fifteen years since my boy’s death
I will be forever bereft

Ten years later my husband collapsed
Died his head resting on my breast
Life and death had worn him out
His heart ceased pumping in his chest
He gently squeezed my hand
As he took his final breath
I didn’t lose him I was holding him
He died – I was witness to his death
A loving gentle caring man
He’d shared more than half my life
I’ll never tick the ‘widow box’
Because I will forever be his wife
Death will never define me
And yes it sometimes causes strife
He’d be proud and amused
By this determination of mine
He’d also understand and agree
Passed and lost can never define
The reality and finality
Of living life with grief
Death is a forever thing
It’s life that’s far too brief

My rhythm and rhyme are all over the place
This poem mirrors life
And death does not fit any mould
No perfect syntax can describe
Why I’m not one for passed and lost
For me it’s dead and died

Tricia 8/2014

Dying Alone

She keeps telling herself
“This is not about you”
Herself answers
“Then why oh why does it feel like it is”
She’s drawn back to the cold dark car park
Hears again the words “I’m sorry to tell you
There is the body of a young man In the flat”
She can still hear the compassion
In the voice of the young policeman
Feel the arms of her now dead husband
As they folded into each other
They’d lived in fear of this day for years
Their precious son
Who’d first spoken of his wish to die
At age 11
Was dead
He was 26 years old

Then she read the words
Of a fox newsreader in the US
Calling Robin Williams
A coward…
His ignorance left her speechless
All she could do was
In her empty room
Empty home
She thought of the family
She’d never know
How that word would slice and burn
When they were already
Broken by bereavement

In 10 days
It will be 15 years since her only child
Ended his life
Tears bleed down her cheeks
Tears for her son
Tears for her husband
Tears for herself
Tears for a family she’ll never meet
She knows Robin’s death
Is not her loss to mourn
And yet on some level
It’s everyone’s sorrow
When a fellow human is so ill
Ending their life
Is their only option
For her
The saddest thing of all
Is the dying alone

Tricia 13/08/2014

Twinkly Lights

I’ve decided to reblog this poem because it was inspired by i’m getting a lot of visitors today as a result of this wonderful blog and I want to share just an inkling of what this blog, Timaree, Jodi and precious Caemon, bring to my life.

Writing the roads of grief

Twinkly  Lights 

My discontent with the dark
Had returned
No bed for me
I can’t hold back the night
But I can refuse to sleep
In the too big
Empty softness
Place of our last laugh
Final silly cuddly conversation
I shut the drapes before
The coming of the ‘twinkly lights’
There shall be no night
Instead lamp light
On the dull days of 
My confused heart
Missing my husband my son my life
The pendulum of grief
Back to previous pain
I don’t understand why
Exhausted reliving mourning’s mystery 
No energy left to try
To make sense of unwanted night
Endless gritty eyed days
On swelling legs
Alcohol or lack of elevation
Who knows
Who cares
Resting in my chair
Holding my special bear
My iPad pings a message
The musical link broke me open
Jack Johnson – All At…

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