Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Grief, Revisited. A poem

Photo by Maliz Ong

The dying was slow, easing
the family into grief. The contrast 
for me was real. Sudden, violent 
death, catapulting loved ones into 
that same grief, barring
the shock absorbers of
preparation. Bit by bit, months
then years, of grief bolts
slamming into us with no
notice, no warning. Electric
brutality. Their impact abating as
years passed, but never relinquishing
their power.

I watched the wave knock the teenager
down, rolling him across the
bottom of the ocean’s shallow – cutting,
bruising, broken seashells piercing flesh. Swallowed
sea water, swollen eyes burned by
salt, by helplessness, by
regret. If only he’d ridden the previous
wave. If only he’d stretched out on
the sandy towel under the sun’s
warmth before the sea slammed him with
surprise and sting no ointment would soothe.

Watching him, I began to understand this
grief and its power to take me under and
brush burn my heart. What choice did I have as
I moved forward? A steel armor or
an exposed and vulnerable heart? I chose 
the latter. And now I bleed.

~Hana Haatainen-Caye ©2015

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