Category Archives: Surviving

Words of Hope

Photo by Deanna Kassenoff: Cardinal and Chickadee

“Hope” is the thing with feathers

BY EMILY DICKINSON

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
 
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
 
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

As long as we are here

After the death of a child, grief extinguishes our hope–our hopes, our dreams, our future. With nothing to hold on to, hopelessness becomes seemingly tangible. Life becomes unreal and unsteady. But as long as we are here, hope still flutters deep inside us. Though it’s an impossible thing to see. It’s there. Perched in our souls, our sons and daughters, though gone, still live within us. And they never stop singing; so don’t ever stop listening. Even though the songs or sounds may be fleeting and without words, hope is the thing with feathers that never stops – at all.

Photo by Deanna Kassenoff: Cardinal and Chickadee

Poem source: Poetry Foundation

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To the nines

“Form is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly form.”

Buddhist “Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra”


Sam.

It is the year of the Monkey, the ninth of twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac cycle. And, the ninth year of living without you—and your monkey-hugs.

I had you for nine birthdays, nine years. Nine photos on a wall. And now, you’ve been gone for nine years. How can it be? That I had you for as long as I have not had you.

You would be turning eighteen! You’d be graduating in a few months; you would be driving with your brother to school each day; you’d be sitting in the fourth chair at dinnertime; you’d be laughing, flirting, texting, dating; you’d be telling stories, reenacting every hilarious detail; you would be staying up late, and Reggie, your dog, now old and gray, would be curled beside you, snoring and content; you would be….

I suppose the “would-be’s” will continue as long as I am here without you, balancing form and emptiness. And finding within me the courage, the way you did, to continue and never give up.

Deanna

April 18, 2014

My apologies for this snarky poem. Starting to show some NaPoWriMo wear and tear. Wrote commentary (below) to explain more.

Poem #18: “Interview”

What do you do?
I’m into haiku

Where do you work?
In my head (smirk)

How much does it pay?
Nothing, but Namaste

So how do you eat?
At a table, on a seat

No, I mean—
I know what you mean

And how do you dress?
In tie-dye no less

Do your words always rhyme?
No, and I
’m out of time

I see…so we’re through?
I am, aren
’t you?

No, just one question more
Look, I really don’t need another chore

Just tell me, my friend, why your eyes are so sad
Because…because…my son is still dead

I’m sorry, real sorry, to hear of your sorrow
Call me again, then? Maybe tomorrow?

I will…I’ll do that…I’ll try you again
And maybe then, I can ask how you’ve been

Continue reading

The shadows beside me

 Boys at sunset, Naples '04

While we (bereaved parents) are readjusting to our perception of what grief is, and who we are as we grieve, and how our relationship with our deceased child will be, grief changes and evolves, subsides and resurfaces.  Continue reading

A mother’s words can be so black

Black Bird

These are a mothers words:

“Of all the daughters I could have had, why did God give me an ungrateful one like you? Everything I endured for you! How dare you! How dare you abandon me like this…”

Then she tried guilt.

“I’ll die if you go…”

These timely words, from the novel I am reading, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, mix into the rip tide of similar discourse that is swirling on the surface of my current mind. Lately, in my life, as in Hosseini’s novel, I am dealing with the heroic and not-so-heroic ways in which characters are struggling to survive. And experiencing how one can be consumed by anger and maliciousness, grief and yearning. Continue reading

Save yourself

Words that delivered

In her memoir, Lucky, Alice Sebold said, “No one can pull anyone back from anywhere. You save yourself or you remain unsaved.”

It is true.

You have to save yourself (no one can pull you back from this place). You have to trust yourself. You have to be the expert on you, and your grief.

In my case, after the sudden death of my son, I withdrew, cocooned from the world, and ignored those who told me to do otherwise. I was the expert on my grief. This was my way.  Continue reading