To My Sister: It’s Time to Take the Wreath from Your Grave

“Yesterday is gone.  Tomorrow has not yet come.  We have only today.  Let us  begin. ”                                                       —Mother Teresa

It’s Time to Take the Wreath from Your Grave

It’s time to take the wreath from your grave
there where it rests up against the base of the stone,
the pink ceramic angel centered on the ledge.

I’ve been putting it off day after day
knowing the snow could come any time now
this warm, snowless winter and make the walk treacherous,
a struggle to lift the latch on the gate and walk through soft snow
as I have years past until I reach you there at the edge of the woods.

I like bringing you gifts–
bouquets of roses and pink carnations and white daisies,
the urn I fill with red geraniums and yellow marigolds in the summer,
and then the Christmas wreath a few weeks before the holidays.
I just don’t like taking them away.
It feels like one more loss every time I leave you.

I wonder if on Christmas you wished you were here with us,
with your children and the grandchildren you loved so intensely
that you held on longer than anyone thought just to be with them.
The wreath was just a small gift, one more attempt to link you closer to me,
but instead the distance and emptiness seems to grow.

It’s not like some who say they can’t remember after a while
the face of the one they lost, or the sound of her voice, or the lilt of her laugh.
I remember all of those.

I’ll take the wreath away because it’s time,
and I’ll try again to feel you there,
but really I hope you are somewhere with the angels
at peace during this holiday season as we move into a new year
when I think maybe, just maybe, this will be the year
when grief softens into acceptance.

© Barbara Flass 2012

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