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Posts Tagged ‘death’

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He liked two things

when he came to our house:

his Buzz Lightyear placemat

and the scent

of Jergens cherry-almond

by the sink.

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          We judge the addict

          who will do anything

          for his next fix.

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The last time he came

he was 16

and we had pizza

and he wanted to use

the worn-out placemat

for old time’s sake.

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          We look down, look

          away,

          close our eyes.

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He said he was reading

The Catcher in the Rye –

a favorite of mine, I told him

as he was leaving.

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             We pretend that we don’t see –

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             until it’s our own grandson

             who dies of an overdose

             and our hearts break apart.

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When he is gone

I wash my hands

breathing his presence

in the scent

of Jergens cherry-almond

by the sink.

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           We don’t always recover

           from the underlying condition

          of being young

          and oh so invincible.

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© 2020  Betty Hayes Albright

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(This is about my dear grandson Jacob who died last March at the age of 24.)

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Forty years ago today – May 18th, 1980 – Mount St. Helens erupted in Washington State, killing 57 people, including one of my dearest friends, her husband, and her two young children. Most of those who died were camping in the supposed “safe zone” around the mountain. No one imagined that the volcano would explode sideways to the north, ending the lives of those who thought they weren’t in danger. (100 miles away in the Seattle area we heard two explosions, like sonic booms.)

Barb was always full of laughter, always saw the funny side of life. The poem below was written shortly after her death.  (This is a re-post.)

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Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980, at 0...

Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980

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(In memory of Barbara Pierce Morris Seibold, 1947 – 1980)

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You laughed above the heads

of those who couldn’t see

your wings,

but those of us with vision

always flew along with you.

Even in the rain

you’d soar above the mud

with a smile and a wink.

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But just this once

your takeoff was too slow —

St. Helens grabbed you

in her smoky claws

and with one spicy belch

she burned your wings away….

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I found a bird

the cat brought in,

buried it

in forget-me-nots,

then heard your laughter

rise from the dust

and fly

to the curlicue clouds.

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(c)1980, 2020 Betty Hayes Albright

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How is it that grief

stays so fresh year after year?

It must be the salt.

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© 2019  Betty Hayes Albright

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My lungs are on fire,

my breath is smoke.

Help me, please help me!

I can see it falling —

the last straw.

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(c)  2019  Betty Hayes Albright

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As most of us know, the Amazon Rain Forest (often referred to as “the lungs of the earth”) is on fire. This great forest provides 1/5th of the earth’s oxygen – every 5th breath we take.  So far, the fires are out of control. I heard on the news that millions of animal species have perished. We need more than thoughts and prayers on this one….

 

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red love heart christmas

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When we hurt,

grief wants nothing more

than to light a candle

and sit with us

in our keening.

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If we look it in the eye

we’ll see

its soft depth

as it holds us tenderly

to the flame.

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And when we’re ready

we’ll hold it in return

and watch the spiral

of warm smoke

rise to the sky.

.

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© 2018  Betty Hayes Albright 

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Photo from Pixabay

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Arlie & Wagon (2)

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I dreamed

he was a little boy again,

sitting in his red wagon

waiting for a ride

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but he talked

like a wise, old man

and showed me a scroll

of his life –

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diagrams, notations

I couldn’t understand.

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“I’m shifting manually

through the cosmos,”

he said.

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I woke

with an ageless song

playing in my head.

.

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©  2018  Betty Hayes Albright

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*This was an actual dream, early this morning, about my late son, Arlie.  I jotted down his words, not fully understanding them at the time.  Later, when I told his older brother about the dream he agreed: only Arlie would say something like that.

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Arlie & Jason (2)

Arlie on left, and big bro Jason.

Both photos taken in 1976.

 

 

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Late at night

after she washes her face

and slips from her dress

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she becomes a teardrop

quaking with grief

on the tip of God’s tongue.

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But there —

see how the light

shines through.

.

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©  2018  Betty Hayes Albright 

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cats carved by Arlie

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It was your favorite book,

the one with Goldbug*

hidden in every picture.

You’d turn the pages

and find him peeking

from the window of a car

or riding in the back

of a fire truck.

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When you grew up

you had your own cars and trucks

and never failed to wave

and beep your horn

when you drove away.

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A year ago today

you left this realm

but you are not gone.

I feel you standing next to me

as I water the grape ivy.

Your wind chime rings

when the air is perfectly still.

The little wooden cats

you carved for me

change position during the night.

Something invisible

tickles my arm.

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You tell me in a dream

not to be sad

and you wave at me

from the windows of everywhere.

I wave back

and turn another page.

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©  2018  Betty Hayes Albright

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* from Richard Scarry’s – Cars and Trucks and Things that Go

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Cats carved by my late son, Arlie, when he was 8 or 9.

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IMG_7939

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I’d fly on white wings,

one of joy

one of sorrow

balanced

on crosswinds

above

and below

to mate

in mid-flight

with a prayer.

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(c) 1990, 2018 Betty Hayes Albright

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(A re-post from 2011)

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My thoughts and condolences are with Santa Fe, Texas today, and with all those affected by this most recent school shooting. When will it stop?

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If you must choose

be not the rose

nor the wintering compost

but rather the seed,

the capsule that knows

beginnings and endings

are the sacred vines

which weave immortality.

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(c) 2013, 2018  Betty Hayes Albright

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(a re-post, revised)

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