The last weeks
Have been a lesson
In the geography of loss

Any place I think to go
Your absence is already there

The bed we shared
The back verandah
Built for you
The garden you loved
Now overgrown with weeds

In town I visit cafes
Where you will
No longer sit
Walk past shops
You will no longer visit

Drive through the back streets
Where we used to park the car
To cry and fight at night
Away from the kids
And that one time
Make love

Within a two hour drive
Of this town
There is hardly
A beach or national park
That won’t wonder
Where you are
Next time I go to visit

And in our photo albums
India, Thailand, Laos
England, Scotland, Ireland
Italy,  Austria, Germany

So many countries
Whole continents
Empty of you

Closer to home again
The places you lived
After you left
The towns you drove through
On the final day
The end of the empty country road
Where you lay
In the backseat of the car
And waited for the end

And the rocky outcroppings
Between two beaches
Where I scattered your ashes

This is the geography of my loss

Hope is a song
Lodged deep in my mind
I catch myself
Singing along to it sometimes
Even now

Was it born with me
Or did I learn it
Along the way

And what about you
Do you sing it too

Lets Hope

Grief steals into my bed
At night
And I wake
In the early empty
Hours of the morning

To find it lying
Across my body
Making me gasp
And shake
And cry

Bedsheets stained
With salty tears
It leaves

To let me
Start my day feeling
Hollow
Uneasy

Grief is
A dark and
Secret lover

On a treadmill
The electric hum
The pounding of my feet
Running
From pain
From past
From memory
Running nowhere
Running towards
The next minute
The next calorie burned
The next metre passed
All laid out
On a digital screen
For fifteen minutes
I have the illusion of control
That feels
Dangerous

When you took your life
It felt like
You took mine too

And having to start anew
Like a baby
I cry
Eat and sleep irregularly
Crave someone to hold me
And find this whole business
of living overwhelming

When you took your life
It felt like
You took mine too
What I make of this
New life is up to me

Yesterday I didn’t cry
For the fist time
Since your suicide
I stayed out all day

I don’t want to be at home now

Walked the streets aimlessly
Sat in cafes reading poetry

Felt love
Bitterness
Regret

Not publicly
I hid these things
Secretly
I feel these things
Ceaselessly

In that last year it felt like
Some days you thought
I was your saviour
And others
That I was the rock bottom
You had hit

I just wanted
To be your husband

To love
And be loved

It wasn’t to be
And you found
Your rock bottom
Eventually

You have gone to the ocean
Pacific
It seems fitting for someone
Searching so desperately for peace

I was a mess
Couldn’t sleep the night before
Still clinging
Not wanting to let go

Sudden death is loss in stages

The shock of police at the door
Saying the unimaginable

Having to leave you there
In that room
In the morgue
Surrounded by the stench of decay

Visiting your body in the funeral home
A week later and
Seeing the way it had started to
Waste and sink

But still even then
Stroking your hair
Kissing your forehead
Holding your hand
Wanting to be able
To shake you awake

Watching my children in tears
At the funeral
As what had happened
Finally hit them

Putting the lid on your coffin
Walking you to the crematorium chapel
And then
Having to walk away

Sudden death is loss in stages

In the morning
I walked from that
Little brick office
With all that was left
In a small white box

The weight of the waste
Of your life’s potential
So much heavier than
The few kilograms
In my hands

Your mother and I stood
In the wash between some rocks
With my family looking on
And let your ashes go
To the wind and the waves

She wailed, I sobbed

I woke at 4am this morning
To the shock that
There was nothing of you
Left in the world
For me to cling too

Sudden death is loss in stages

You have your
Pacific
I have the harder task
Of trying to find mine
While living

The day of your funeral
And the  next
A butcher bird came
To visit on the verandah

It perched quietly
And ate bread from my hand

On the third day I waited
Feeling foolish
Wondering if it was some sign
Or connection to you
I could still hold
Its absence was like a little loss

People tell me they
See you in dreams
And you are somewhere
Happy and at peace
I envy their certainty
and their happily ever after

For me you are gone
Except in memory

 

May the love you couldn’t feel be with you now
As you are with us in our thoughts
May the hope you lost be found in the hearts
Of those who loved you as we heal
May the peace you sought dwell with
All those you left behind

The mailbox has been
Full of cards
These last two days

Death and bills
Seem to be the only things
That warrant a letter
In this electronic age

I feel lost and in shock
And full of regret

All there is to do
Is cry and sing sad songs
And write empty poetry

Nothing can change it now

But what if I had made that phone call?
Would you still be here?

What if I told you how much I still cared?
I think it might have made a difference

And the chorus cries
“It’s not your fault
You did all you could”

But still I wonder
Did I really?

To care is to live life on the edge
Or sometimes over it
To expose your heart
To an uncertain world
And say:’I Love’
Is an extreme act

To tie yourself to another
And care beyond reason
And love beyond hope
Takes foolish courage

To be the raft for someone else
Even when you know your sinking
Is an act of stubborn defiance

And when you finally go under
And all that’s left
Feels like loss and failure

Know you have not lost
For you can say
I Love
And
I have loved,
To loves very limit

You are gone and I grieve
I want the world to stop
And feel the full weight
Of your loss too

I want to wail from the rooftops
For people to know you
and understand
and grieve with me

I want to burn our house to the ground
And feel cleansed by the flames
I want to take full responsibility
And be beaten and cast out

I want to burn your body
On the banks of the Ganges
And drum and dance and wail
Until I am sick with exhaustion

I want to tear the flesh from my bones
And make you new again
From a tear stained rib

I want you not to be gone

I loved you and had to let you go
I hoped you could let the world in
To love you as much as I did
And as much as you deserved

But you chose another way
To find your peace
A way I can’t understand

And so now I have to let you go again
And that is so hard
And feels so unfair

But despite everything
You are my wife
And I love you
And now all that’s left

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