We fought a war together,
pokes and prods,
chemo and radiation
the cure as deadly as the disease.
We watched our friends go,
Baby Justin, first,
we waved the white flag,
You died, and five of your friends followed.
There was a big parade in your honor,
sirens and flowers,
everyone turned out,
no flag draped your coffin, nor guns saluted.
You will be remembered,
a hero, a trooper,
a battle well-fought
a purple heart for bravery.
I exist now, shell-shocked,
post traumatic stressed,
at each bump, cough, or mole.
Relieved that your suffering has ended,
though some days,
that I could have gone, too.
December 19th, 1998
Friends need to get over "get over it" condolences
It's time to get over the concept of closure. The only way people are able to get on with their lives is if other people will please stop urging them to get on with their lives.
No one believes more than Miss Manners (her name for this column) in the obligation to express sympathy and offer help to the troubled. When the society rejoices that no one has to suffer alone now that there are counselors, support groups and strangers from cyberspac available, so one needn't depend for loving understanding on such unreliable types as relatives or friends, she has nothing to say.
When something terrible happens, all sorts of people close in on those most affected and make a grab for their wounded feelings.
Some ask the people they mean to comfort how they feel, some guess, others will tell them how they feel. "How does that make you feel?" and "I know what you must be feeling," have replaced "I'm devastated at what happened," and "You have my profound sympathies".
The new sympathizers the explain The Process they expect sufferers to follow: The specific list of feelings that still must be produced (denial, anger and so on to acceptance) and the order in which they are to appear.
Also annouced are activities (such as crying, visiting the site of a tragedy, attending the trial of a perpetrator) that are firmly recommended for getting them to the goal, which is CLOSURE.
Finally, there is the timetable. Anyone who lags is gently told, "By now you should....." be in this or that stage. Then come those with sterner admonitions to get on with it - one's life that is.
If the Process drags on too long, the word "still" begins appearing, as in, "He's been dead for over a year, and his mother is still grieving."
Well, he's still dead.
Miss Manners doesn't mean to be harsh because she knows that people who come forward in a tragedy mean to be kind. She infinitely prefers even the most bumbling of them to those who ignore other people's troubles - especially when they make the excuse of "not wanting to remind them of their loss".
But no two experiences are alike, as no two people react to things exactly alike. So she finds the idea of managing other people's wounded feelings insufferable. And all this talk about closure has a way of sounding remarkably like, "Oh get over it; we're all getting bored with this now."
Stop the children's singing,
The voice I long for has been stilled.
Turn out the sparkling lights,
They are no longer reflected in his eyes.
Close the shops, lock the doors,
The gift I want just isn't there.
Take away the Joy, the Peace on Earth,
the Season's Greetings,
I want company in my misery.
Throw out the baubles, the ornaments,
the pretty packages,
I can't see them through my tears.
Light a candle in his memory,
Tell me you remember,
Send me a blanket of pure, white snow,
To cover the Earth,
and his place in it.
December 15, 1998
In Memory of Ross...
by Gregory Jones (1998)
I sometimes still cry myself to sleep
and I wonder why it had to be this way...
(No answers, just questions)
Wishing you were here only makes my heart grow heavier with each
(The days seem endless)
Does time truly heal, or does it
merely illuminate and bring into focus the permanence of my loss?
(Time dulls the pain)
You came for such a short while, MargaretAnn... you left
with painful suddenness
(I miss you so bitterly)
The time we shared
was glorious, for then you nuzzled in my arms, hugged me close,
and walked with me, holding my hand...
("Read story papa" - such boundless joy)
I miss your touch the most, your smell, second. (Baths, wipes, lotions, and
even dirty diapers)
One month, 2, three months, 6, pretty soon will a year
have gone by? (I still can't believe it)
Time is a foot race, and the
sprinter rushes me farther away from you, my child, with each hurried step.
(I am lost
I try to memorize the few things you said, the many things you did, and
your playfully cute face...
(I thought -- I'll never keep the boys away)
However the memories are slipping from my mind like sand through my
fingers. (I try, desperately, to hold on to them)
How did your voice sound, what was it that you said, when did that happen?
(God, I wish I could remember)
Time moves on, but my final remembrance of you is as frozen in my mind as
that icy hospital room where you took your last breath.
(Can I help you? ------------ Sorry, I am all out of miracles today)
Now, only your pictures, clothing and toys remain... (I keep you close)
They are paltry trinkets on temporary consignment. (Priceless)
Like a holy relic. (The temple is torn)
In loving memory of MargaretAnn Smith Jones
August 28, 1995 - May 24, 1997
A pink rose blooms
The hibiscus turns its red flower to the sun
by, warmed by the breeze
College students study, talk and play
against the shore
On the hill a man sits
When he came he laid flowers by
His words cannot ease her pain
Nor his fear of losing his
He comes to spend time, to share his life with her
and to share
hers with him
He worries that she is cold, that she is dry
Music comes in
the air, music that only he can hear
The father longs to hear the stories
of her years
He is pained that they are no more
Sad is he when he needs to
His daughter lying here
For his daughter, Amanda
Thank You, Alex
When a child dies, it is one of the hardest things in life to understand. We look into the tearful eyes of their parents, and we see ourselves. We know that without divine help, we could not bear that pain. We think about a young life so full of vitality snatched away before it was fully formed, like a rosebud snipped from the stem just as it was beginning to bloom. When we think of Alex, our hearts cry out, "What a shame, it is not fair!"
Considering this more deeply, I've thought that God would not take a life so young, unless their brief life and death would have a tremendous impact on those of us who remain. This morning, I took a few minutes to ponder the legacy of Alex Boisclair.
I recall a community rallying around this young boy as we stood in a long line at St. Andrewís Church. We were there to be tested to see if we could possibly be a match for his marrow. Each of us secretly hoped we would be the one. We wanted to sacrifice. Thank You, Alex for showing us that we could have sacrificial love for another.
I recall eating pizza last spring for the E.T. Hamilton pizza fund-raiser. There were other community and neighborhood fund-raisers where people gave of their money, time and energy. We wanted to give. Thank You, Alex for shown us that we could be generous.
I recall sitting with other Moms, cutting Halloween cards so that a fourth grade class could send a note of encouragement to Alex in the hospital. I remember the hours spent by the faculty at Hamilton School trying to include Alex in the educational process. For a time, his classmates even carried around a life-size replica of him when they went to their various activities. We wanted to be thoughtful and caring. Thank You Alex, for teaching us to be thoughtful and caring.
I recall the families of Carriagebrook providing meals, notes of encouragement, collecting money. They wanted to be loving , supportive neighbors. Thank You, Alex for showing us the beauty of a neighborhood.
I recall praying alone and with others that God would heal Alex and strengthen his parents. I know that God heard those prayers and answered a number of them. We wanted to pray. Thank You, Alex for showing us that we could be prayerful, faithful, people.
I recall holding my own healthy children a little closer and dearer. We wanted to be grateful. Thank You, Alex for helping us keep our own problems in perspective and be grateful people.
I realize that the brief life of this little boy with wild, curly hair and an infectious smile has made each of us better. Thank You, Alex; we'll miss you.
Four years ago,
at this hour,
he was still here.
He was still breathing.
I went out to the cemetery tonight,
took a balloon,
a stuffed dog,
some Hershey Kisses.
His sister asked,
could he see the balloon from Heaven?
I hope he can see the grave I decorated,
but not my tears.
I wanted to curl up
for the angel that took you,
This night, four years ago.
December 19th, 1998
In Memory of Ross...
THE YEAR BEFORE LAST
The holiday season is approaching,
and with it comes the New Year.
Although for me time passes slowly,
New Year's Day will ring in quickly.
I dread this New Year's Day
because they will look at me
in a terribly strange way
when I get misty-eyed,
and talk about something you had done.
After you first left me,
they reasoned when I cried,
"He's only been gone a few months."
And I would catch that look of
understanding in their eyes,
and found some comfort that they knew.
But on last New Year's Day,
my first thought upon awakening was,
Oh God, my son died last year,
not just a few months ago, not even this year,
but last year.
He will never live in this year.
They didn't understand, they didn't reason,
that last year, for me, the loss was still new.
They thought, "It happened last year,
so long ago, why does she still cry?"
I could see it in their eyes.
This New Year's Day, will it be different?
Will my first thought upon awakening be,
Oh God, my son died the year before last,
not a few months ago, not this year or even last year,
but the year before last?
He will never live in this year.
Will they even listen, should I not look them
in the eyes, for fear that I shall see,
"Why is she still crying? It happened so long ago.
It was the year before last."
Those words that we use
to describe the passage of time,
a few months,
last year, the year before last.
They don't know that time stands still for me.
Will they understand that's why I cry?
Don't they know
my son just died ...
the year before last?
How do I tell
I pick up
a ringing phone
and a heart
at the sound of
"She's in Heaven."
I'm sorry, Daddy.
all they could.
I rocked her soul
If tears could build a stairwell
I would walk right up to Heaven
and bring you home again.
No farewell words were spoken
no time to say good-bye
You were gone before I knew it,
and only God knows why.
My heart still aches in sadness,
and secret tears still flow,
What it means to lose you,
no one will ever know.
writings by Peg Kaiser (copyright)
I wrote this one on Feb of '96 during a bad time
Will he Won't he
This one was written the summer of '95 after he relapsed.
Cancer is waking up one morning to the horror that your son has cancer
Chemotherapy is the numbness that your son will survive cancer
Remission is the false sense that he will live
Relapse is the reality that he might die
Experimental chemo is...frustrating.
Hoping and hoping...
such hope that is really not there
This one written in July 1995 in the car on the way to chemo.
his eyes looking at me,
they say so much, they sparkle
his smile lights up the room
his face, his eyes, his smile
his heart, his soul
forever in my mind, my heart, my soul
He's crossed over that line...you know the one, the one from child to adult. He's 16 and he has crossed it. In one spilt second it was done. He use to say we all worry too much and now he is one of us. He's scared, he realizes he is not invincible. He should be in school with his friends and being carefree and thinking about college. Instead he thinks about life and wonders if he will live another day. There's something different about this time. He's pasty he's too thin something in his eyes. He's seen too much this time. His spirit is almost gone. I see it going. It's different this time.
Copyright Peg Kaiser
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