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Hair

I don’t know why I’m reading this tonight. Maybe it is seeing my kids after a year absent – seeing in the light of their eyes the omnipresent brightness of their mother. Maybe it is Sadie asking her questions, continuous, into the deep morning. Maybe it is part of the work of grief, the carrying of the weight in the dark to the mountain-top that is never reached.

Of everything I have ever written, this is the one I think of the most. Not the longest, by far. Maybe nearly the shortest. But the one that lives on my mind.

I was asked, by Murshida VA, what three things would I have someone know about grief.

I took a day to answer, then three things came at one. It has no schedule. It doesn’t end, or heal. One simply incorporates it into one’s life – a wound, a laming, to which one adapts, with which one lives, from which one learns, and with which one may become stronger. It cannot be controlled, anticipated, prepared for – it will be different each time and come in different ways. I will now add a fourth. It is the price of love – never shut it away and you will be able to love more, and again, and see love in all things. Those who cannot grieve cannot return to love, cannot return to grace.

Adam Byrn Tritt

I had pulled the car out of the garage and set up a chair.  Months earlier I had purchased a Norelco family hair cutting kit, and electric razor and attachments, for next to nothing at a garage sale. I had no idea why, but I brought it home, and now, now, it was plugged in and ready to be used.

The chemotherapy had left your hair in clumps.  It fell into the shower drain, left bits on the pillow, left itself on the couch. Each bit that fell, you cried. I watched as you turned once, as I held you up in the shower to see your hair on the drain.  Out of the shower, you stood, facing the mirror, clutching at your hair, pulling it out in clumps, tears falling, falling into the sink with the strands from between your fingers.

Hats you didn’t like. The scarves you used…

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Posted by on June 24, 2016 in Family, philosophy, Social, Uncategorized

 

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(Im)perfection

There are no scars I can see,
but we know they are there.
The flesh is warm and
tender though beneath
it feels different
than I would have imagined,
I suppose.

Years before
at a youth conference
I was a mentor for the teens
and my partner in class
was a young
lady of forty,
I suppose.
Margot had a close crop of hair
and we talked about imperfections
as we sat on the floor,
she on one side
I on the other
in a circle of kids
all there because they didn’t belong
and so was I.
Margot’s turn came
and she reached into her shirt,
pulled out her left breast and
threw it to me.

Dear Margot,
this is not a normal introduction
is what I said
and the kids laughed
the shock away
as I squeezed lightly
the translucent bag,
jostled it between my fingers
making a mental comparison
which could be seen on my face,
I suppose,
and the kids laughed
as I passed the breast to the left.

Dear Margot,
may I compare
is what I asked
and she said yes, with a smile
I walked the few feet as
she pulled her bra out from her sleeve,
I squeezed lightly
and jostled it between my fingers
making a mental comparison
which could be seen on my face,
I suppose,
and the kids laughed
while passing the breast to the left.

I wouldn’t have imagined,
I suppose,
anything,
because being here
with you, in this way,
feels normal, fine and right,
but who could have seen it coming
as I squeeze lightly,
jostling them between my fingers,
making no mental comparison,
which you can see on my face,
I suppose,
until I kiss your warm flesh
and my face disappears.

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Culture, Poetry, Social

 

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