Time heals all wounds. Except grief.
I’m in my childhood kitchen. It’s a mess, to Mom’s dismay. Rejected pieces of frozen pizza dry out on the stove, dishes overflow from the sink onto indigo tiles. Junk coagulates in the grouted crevices of our countertops and coffee circles dot the scene like the freckles on her skin. She doesn’t drink coffee in the morning, just Pepsi, but she cleans her boyfriend’s stains, anyway. This kitchen is a battle she can win. She scrubs at the tiles, packs the dishwasher with impossible precision, reorganizes the glass canisters against the wall, descending by…
I went to a work happy hour last Friday. The first in-person one for over a year.
I arrive feeling fresh and ready: I’m a nerdy extrovert and work in communications. This is my scene.
As carve my way through the crowd, I start twitching. So many faces without masks. So many expressions and feelings in such proximity. I can’t shake the nagging voice in my head that says we shouldn’t be here; that we should all be at home or in small, socially distant groups.
A few conversations in and I’m fumbling for fillers; how does this work again…
On a Monday afternoon in late February, my best friend’s phone lit up on the coffee table of our Airbnb. We’d escaped to the foothills outside of Yosemite for a girls' week.
In between work hours, glasses of freshly-squeezed orange juice, and Wim Hof breathing sessions, we discussed the trials and tribulations of 2020. The pandemic and the worldwide depression, anxiety, and grief it caused.
She picks up her phone.
Hi! There are available vaccines at http://myturn.ca.gov. Go and sign up using code P7XYGXSNT7, they have extra vaccines bc not enough eligible people signed up.
I woke up with a haze in my head
This happens after death
When her body went limp there was one thing to do
Kissed her head packed my bag and all the pictures, too
I drove down 95
Left it all behind
Drove her right into
A tiny corner of my mind
An unfamiliar fate greeted me at the door
A family I barely knew and had nothing for
Even with their love, I couldn’t find what I had lost
My soul was steeped, six feet deep, in eternal frost
I drove down 95
Left it all behind
Drove her right…
I needed a suit of armor just to shop at Target
I remember the first Mother’s Day without Mom. It was a nightmare. The aisles of things I used to buy confused me with their newfound irrelevance: teddy bears, boxes of chocolate, cotton shirts, and mugs that said #1 Mom. The card section exploded with options I didn’t have, with words I couldn’t say. I stood amongst cheerful bouquets and wondered about the difference between flowers for the kitchen table and gravesite flowers. No one tells you how to make that transition. Could I find a dozen thorny roses? Did…
You’re never alone, even when you’re grieving
From above, thousands of red lights stutter
Salt Lake City’s inchoate rush hour
We left work early for once
Caught the fingertips of the waning sun
And the mountains, lit from behind,
Effuse a gold, jack-o-lantern glow
A film sets over the basin
(Actually, it’s always there
You’re just in it, so you never see it.
Oh, the living, how we trap ourselves)
The day arcs like a rainbow
Like the sun across the eternal sky because
Even when smog envelopes Salt Lake City
And Joey dies in his sleep at age 32
Poetry is your soul’s language. If you give it the chance, it will flow out of you at request. All it needs is your time. Will you be brave and chat with yourself? Will you sit with the silence to engage the chatter of your mind?
Are you afraid of the silence? Are you nervous to see what bubbles up to the surface when you spend time alone? Are filling your schedule with things that distract you from your soul’s voice?
It’s okay. You’re never too late to the conversation. You can always start now.
Pull out a pen and…
Trauma, grief, and healing from a poet with PTSD. I help creative people through blocks and trauma. | IG: @poetwithPTSD