The last day I posted here was the day my brother died. I planned to write regularly, but life has a way of throwing a monkey wrench in things.
Anthony committed suicide. (I hate that word “committed”, like it’s a crime). He was not a person you would expect to commit suicide. In fact, people visited his Facebook wall and said how much they would miss him because of his “love for life.” How ironic, I thought. And how true.
If some day I can offer up this experience to help someone get through something similar, and they ask me, How do you get through it, I will tell them how I got through it: You write through it. Meditation helps too.
When you are grieving, you set aside that hour each morning and it is a safe place to grieve, to rage, to do whatever it is you have to do. You let all the feelings come because here’s a secret I have learned: when you let the feelings come, they also go. The crying grabs us, sometimes when we least expect it, but it passes like a summer storm. I felt the need to write about that too. So I’m going to share a couple of poems that I wrote the last couple of weeks.
Day After Suicide
The first thing I thought when I rolled out of bed was,
I am waking up this morning
And my brother is not.
The words my brother is dead
Keep echoing in my head like the refrain
Of some badly-written earworm. My brother is dead.
There are always a million questions you can never ask anymore
When someone slips the bonds that kept them here, and nearly all start with
Because it hurts.
If someone with cancer passes from us,
“Well, at least she’s not in pain anymore.”
Why don’t we ever say that about suicides? Is it a judgment we pass on them?
I’m saying it. He’s not in pain anymore. For only that I am grateful.
I will take this burden from you, my brother, I and everyone who loved you.
You have passed on your pain and we will carry it for you
Shed tears you didn’t shed because they weighed too heavily on your heart
Mourn the help you didn’t ask for and the things we didn’t say and the visits we didn’t visit
… and never will.
“Tears like rain” is another old cliché
And I hate to say it but as clichés
Often are, it is true. Not in the way
You would think — they are both falling water.
It’s more in the scrubbed-clean feeling I have
When they have gone, ozone scenting the air
Rays peeking from behind brooding storm clouds
Crepuscular, slanting over land.
I catch my breath, seeing the glinting tears
Standing on my eyelashes like dewdrops
Ornamenting shrub leaves after the storm.
I am purified afterward, at peace, drained.
Sometimes the storm comes on violently
Without the slightest warning — he is gone.
And I am wracked like storm lashed boughs, and drenched
In sorrow… it passes, leaving me whole.
Other times it comes on gently, and I
Do not resist, letting rain kiss my cheeks
And I let them come, as a remembrance —
If I do not shed tears, I might forget.