Monday, September 07, 2009

Two Weeks


It’s been two weeks now since our friend died
Shocking, sudden death that left us all reeling
The funeral, a celebration, a consolation
Life is short the eulogist began

Our hearts broke
Our minds worked to assemble the logic
Our wet eyes and runny noses
Said there was no logic to this loss

But it’s been two weeks now
We mourners are back at work
Back tending our jobs, our lawns, our book clubs
Mindless tasks interrupted briefly with vague haunting of the death

Platitudes fill our minds and mask our ache
A good thing, sudden and probably instant death
The way we all hope to end our lives
A better place, only the good die young

Repeat those trite remarks
Shake off the shadowing sorrow in our search for comfort
The days seem to have flown by since we heard the news
Each day we dwell a little less on his absence

But what of the spouse, the bereaved, the widow
It’s been two weeks for her also - two that have not flown by
No uninterrupted rest
Only heavy sorrow and swollen lids

If only she could roll back the time, the words
Just one minute, one embrace, one whisper of love in her ear
But her turn in the night finds only the cold and empty hollow
Blessed sleep is no more, only the weeping

Friends see and call her to ask how she is
She wants to scream back at them
How do you think I am, you imbeciles
Exhausted, sleepless, bereft beyond measure

Life is upside down
It will never be the same again
She answers her friends -
I’m fine, I’m doing better each day

The inquirers retreat murmuring
She sounds awful, it’ll take time
We’re praying for her
It’s been two weeks now


  1. Anonymous2:55 PM

    Hi dear Dianna. My heart breaks for your friend and these words of yours say it all so well. Truly we are clueless to how empty all will be if we survive our own spouses. Thank you for writing this. Your words always bless me though I don't look as often as I'd like. JG

  2. I don't want to imagine how she's feeling now, but it's crept into my soul as well and matches your description. Death has come too close this summer. It leaves me stunned and slightly raw. Thank you for writing this. I need to do some writing too.

  3. This...

    "If only she could roll back the time..."


  4. Dear Anon - thank you, have loved catching up via email today.

    Wren - your words are dear to me. Yes, death comes very close and no matter our faith, it is wretched to contemplate it for our loved ones...stunned and slightly raw is such an apt set of descriptors!

    LL - "if only we could" - there's never enough time to tell people we love them but we must make time for this important gesture of God's gifts in our lives.

    Thank you all so much for your wonderful words. They are precious to me.

  5. I somehow missed your earlier post about your friend's death. I'm sorry to hear of it.

    What you write captures perfectly both the human need to speak ("How are you") and the human depth of pain ("How do you think I am, you imbeciles"). Beautifully done, a fine and tender memorial.

  6. I will continue to pray for your friend.

  7. Tess, We can't keep ourselves from asking "how are you" but striving for different words is important, like I've kept you in my prayers, are you sleeping yet, can I get something for you from the store.....I don't know, I guess anything but "how are you" might work. Thanks for your nice words about this post. I felt it was a memorial but was not sure of how it would be "read." You read it the way I meant it!

    Jennifer - thank you for your prayers for Sheryll. I appreciate your gesture very much.


  8. you bless us with your words. thank you for even attempting to articulate what is impossible.

    "She answers her friends -
    I’m fine, I’m doing better each day"... all of the things we leave out when we say "i'm fine." in your poem, you have also spoken on her behalf perhaps adding AND my heart is breaking, life is hard, i'm angry at God...

  9. Anonymous10:19 PM

    hard to have people asking how she is doing i suppose, but harder if no one called at all, maybe.

    good words well written.

    i notice that you are in walla walla...our daughter just graduated from whitman this spring.

  10. Nancy, Thank you for your comments. Yes, we must pay our respects to our grieving friends and it's hard not to start with "how are you?" A friend recently counselled me about opening a conversation with a very shy introvert acquaintance (not a griever) and my friend said, "whatever you do, don't start the conversation with how are?" Wow, that advice served me well as the shy person was NOT burdened with telling me "how" she was. We just had a great conversation about what was going around her. Anyway, I'm trying to take them for myself into a bereaved situation and see if I can't craft something more original than the old "how are you."

    Whitman - congratulations, we think it is a fabulous college!