Tag Archives: Parental Bereavement

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

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.

Tightrope Walkers

1895, “The Tightrope Walker” by Jean-Louis Forain (1852-1931)

1895, “The Tightrope Walker” by Jean-Louis Forain (1852-1931)

tight·rope (tītʹrōp´) noun
1. A tightly stretched rope, usually of wire, on which acrobats perform high above the ground.
2. An extremely precarious course or situation.


 “I am always at the beginning,” said The Buddha, on being asked what life was like.

Hello 2015.

Here we are: at the beginning again.
Accidental acrobats.
On this tightrope twined
with the messiness of living,
threads of grief,
and strands of memory.  Continue reading

“Wanna see a picture of my baby that died?” she said.

Life had different plans

The day before yesterday (Thursday, May 1, 2014), I had plans to hit the month running, or at least walking. Post the first entry in the new series I’ve been working on. And then meditate—for at least ten minutes (a day)—a personal goal I’ve set for this May. Neither happened though. This day, life had different plans in store.

Reggie dog MayMorning road blocks. My old refrigerator had been crying for a few months. A sick, whining sound. On this morning it shook and sighed; lights out, literally. It stopped running. I got my coffee and noticed then, that my dog was staring up at me with big apologetic eyes. Not for the death of my fridge, I’m pretty sure. Although he does sense when I’m sad or stressed. No, he was apologizing for the big, messy, grassy, puddle of puke on the carpet. “Aww, Reggie. It’s okay,” I told him. How could I be angry at that face? Meditating and writing were moving to the bottom of my list. Deep breath.

Reggie watched me spray, clean, dab, wipe, spray, clean…and I sensed him thinking, Man, if I just had thumbs like you I’d help you clean up that mess, I would… I kissed his little coconut head and tried to be in the moment—the way he was. Interested, helpful, even without thumbs his eyes were cleaning, focused, devoted. I tried to use these cleaning minutes to breathe and not think about anything else. Not quite the meditation I’d had in mind, but…  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

Deanna

April 14, 2014

Boys laughing

Poem #14: “Two”

Tufts of hair,
Freckled noses,
Full cheeks
Below thick dark lashes
Body motions
Residue and remnants 

I have two sons
One in this world and
One in that world
Two pirates
Two feathers in my pocket
To shape my heart with