Six years ago my sister died of breast cancer. The last week of March was her last week of life that year. I know that many people do not like to read depressing posts. After all, don’t we get depressed enough just listening to the news? Still, I need to connect to my sister this week. So I’ll apologize to anyone looking for humor or upbeat thoughts from me this week. I wrote this poem in the spring after she died, after frequent visits to the cemetery seeking solace from my grief. On Friday I will go to the cemetery again, hoping the snow has melted enough so I can place flowers there. Maybe next week will bring sunshine and warmth and hope and peace to all of us.
It is silent here in the grass
sitting by your stone.
Two pale pink roses, three white carnations
stand tall in green cone-shaped vases.
I’ve seen a rabbit here at times,
sent him scurrying away at my approach.
Could the rabbit that so often
feasted on your tender lettuce plants
have followed you here?
Do any of the same birds that sang to you
in the cool summer mornings
sing to you still?
I can feel some peace here,
though not really enough to soothe
the ache deep within my heart,
and I wonder if you are now at peace.
What I wonder mostly is where you are.
I think I should feel you with me,
should sense your spirit,
connect to you somewhere,
but I am surrounded by an emptiness
too vast to be filled.
The grass is cool and scratchy against my legs.
I absent-mindedly seek out four-leaf clovers
like we did in our childhood days,
but there are none here.
I touch the stone as I get up to leave
the way I always do,
but it’s just cold marble,
the letters reminding me of a reality
I don’t want to acknowledge.
I walk away from you,
where you rest without me by your side
as I vowed I would always be at the end.
Instead now we are both alone.
© Barbara Flass 2005