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"The colors of life shift

within a fixed parameter,

movable blocks of shadow

and light, interchangeable

or not."

"Chaos is a friend of mine." ~Bob Dylan

"Chaos is a friend of mine." ~Bob Dylan
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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Unfinished Business

In response to my Sister's recent post on her blog about survival in the face of loss, this is a poem I wrote while trying to come to grips with Mama's death and her reaction to my father's death 6 years before. After Daddy died, as Kelly said, her mantra became her wish to only live long enough to see Kelly grow up. The power of negative thinking? Perhaps. I just know that, before all was said and done, I had a lot of anger to deal with in my grieving process after Mama died. How sad that Mama had begun to enjoy life again when she found out she had Cancer.....

Unfinished Business
(For my mother)

I don’t think you realized
the force of your words,
the power of negative thinking
that carried you through
until fate granted your wish.

The day the call came
saying you’d slipped away
I’d been watching sparrows
dive into the reflected world
of my windows,
stunned by the force of reality.
After Daddy died
you curled up inside him,
left us, except for your youngest,
her graduation your expiration date.

What of my son, first grandchild,
the one you clutched as your own,
who crept under the wing you spread?
He curled up in silence
when I told him you were gone.

What of the grandchildren who will know you
by photos and secondhand memories?
Three months ago I stood in for you,
held your youngest’s first child
through her first night at home,
the warmth of new life against my cheek.
Feeling the tiny wings of her heartbeat
I thought of the sparrows
on the day of your death.

When the phone rang
I knew you were gone,
my sister’s graduation
only days in the past.
How many times had your wish sliced our hearts?
The Cancer that severed Daddy
so suddenly from our lives
chewed up your body,
organ by organ,
spit you out of our world
right on schedule.

In that moment before flight
did you turn to confront the love
that couldn’t hold you here?
When you severed the ties,
slipped out of your pain,
did you briefly pass through ours?

~ Pam Patterson


Donna said...

Wow. I thought about this poem today. How weird is that?

This is one of your most emotionally moving poems. I'll never be able to say enough. It grabbed me and never let go.

Marion said...

Oh, Pammie. This one is a heart breaker, yet so beautifully written, like a lament.... You are so gifted.

Ray's been depressed this week because his mother died on his birthday several years back and they were estranged for many years before she died and it still haunts him that he never got to tell her goodbye or settle their differences. There is just no pain like losing a parent, I don't care how old you are.

Thanks for sharing your heart. Hugs!

Kelly said...

It's really close between this and Circles as to which is my favorite, but I think this one wins.

I love the entire poem, but the last line is what always gets me.

Glad Debby's post inspired my post which inspired this post!

Debby said...

Pam, I've really become convinced of the power that your mind has over your body. This brings it home to me again, in a really poignant way.

Bob said...

Wow this is powerful.