My Mother’s Passing…..writing about loss and grief.

Today is my mother’s birthday.  I miss her.  It’s been seventeen years since her death, and I still miss her. For five years after her death, I couldn’t write about my mother.  Writing is one of the most important ways that I can express what I am feeling, including pain. But over the years I have discovered that writing grief requires time, time enough for me to even realize what I’m feeling beyond the vast emptiness of loss. Somehow, someway, words came to me, and I began reflecting on the whole span of her illness and death.  I began this poem in a painful memory, but by the end, I had found something more. And after I wrote poems of grief, I was able to begin writing about her.  All she was in life, all she still is to me.  Here is that poem.

Hospice Nurse

assumes I’ll help,


asks me to place

my mother’s limbs…


shift her slight and

sleeping body.


I am so afraid of this finality.


Her nakedness

strips me of denial.


Love has become violation,

deepest intrusion of her privacy.


Then shock passes,

as does guilt.


Even now

the quiet dignity

that has marked her life

rejects the shame

I try to claim.


As fragile as naked,

now a child, she curls in

upon herself in sleep


that will go deeper.













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