16 years

She hadn’t seen me in 16 years so she cried
and I imagine now, it must have been like the pain she felt when she died
A feeling of yearning
hopes detached from living
all the while feeling searing
shots of pain
in the dying body that’s living
She hadn’t seen me in 16 years so she cried
and I imagine now it must have been like the pain she felt when she died
Arriving 16 years too late
to a vision of your life as it walked through the gate
All your hopes boiled away in the heat of a temper
And never having the space to remember
Remember…my only connection to you has now lost a bit of her mind
And I can no longer rekindle the sands of your time..
Oh Ma, this was the daughter you knew,
and I’m so glad I got to know you too
even if it was 16 years too late
..through that gate
because too many of your entrances were filled with pain
homes, hospitals, hospices..
I’ve sealed your wounds Ma..
No longer exposed.
Rest well now,
our love still grows,
as I heal those parts of me with these words,
hospice prayers and chants,
“Mummy, I can’t..”
Gut torn from inside
The disease of pain pierces your side
And grimacing you came to see us one last time
One last frame held in thin air
As a memory, it lingers there
Static and binding
this dissolved feeling of yearning
hopes detached from living
all the while feeling searing
shots of pain
in the dying body that’s living
Mummy, look, see, I’ve healed us
Covered us
And this is the smile you will always remember
“Don’t cry Ma..”
I’ve solved us like mysteries
of pain’s root/route to dis-ease
I know you tried so hard to see this smile again,
and it took 16 years, so you cried
and I imagine now it must have been like the pain you felt when you died


— JanBerry © 14Sep2021. 4.05am

🖊 This poem reflects on the short life my Mum had and how it was intersected by the hopes she had for happiness whilst feeling the deep, dying realities of pain – both physical and emotional pains.

📸 This picture was captured by Emily, who befriended me as a fellow commuter in college. 21 years later Emily and I are still friends and she recently sent me this photo.

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