Related in grief


In just ten days my son Paul would have been forty-one years old. Since the Newtown CT massacre I’ve thought of him more and more. I’ve been through thirteen Decembers since his death. This one is the hardest.

So I thought I’d share a poem I wrote about our last time together. Though my experience is totally different from the bereaved in Newtown, we are related by our grief of the loss of a child. No parent is ever prepared for that.

The Last Night

How could I have known
it would be the last night? A night
like all the others:
the low creaking groan
of the garage door,
tires screeching to maneuver
into the narrow place,
the roar of the engine before silence.
Then slamming the door,
my son, sweeps down the long hall,
calling out hello in his deep friendly voice.
I startle as I hear his heavy strides
pass my door,
I call out to him.
Returning, he enters my room –
standing, staring, looking more calm
than I’ve ever seen him.
His blue eyes like sapphires
fringed with thick dark lashes
never leave mine while we speak.
My lips kiss his cheek
cool as alabaster.
I marvel at his smile – lips
barely turned up not showing his teeth.
He looks like the angel
he will soon become.
He has already found peace.
Only I don’t know it yet.

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