Daddy Cat

The Unbearable Ache of Memorial Dates

Now I know what day it is

I wish I didn’t

I am not in the moment

Indeed, I am not

Here really

Here anywhere really

Lost, just so terribly, terribly, terribly lost

Wanting to save you Dylan

All over again

Photograph of a white porcelain butterfly with a raised, silver, smaller butterfly in the middle. The butterfly wing is inscribed: "With hope, we find our wings."
“With hope, we find our wings,” My Forever Son

Grief Remembers What Time Cannot Forget: Memorial Dates

As If Somehow

As if somehow I can stop him. But defeat lies in truth, which just for now, I cannot bear. It is not that I am so much pretending as it is that I am just holding my breath, captive heart, watchdog eyes and heart beating too fast, alert, terror in the outliers. An outline of what was and once upon a lifetime ago, all of my past.

As if I and when I change this, all of this, life will be different, easier, less sick, less stress, less pain. It isn’t. Life is not. Simple. Fair. Balanced in an equilibrium. Easy to define, shade in the edges that crosshatch the margins. 

I can’t find you. Anywhere right now Dylan.

Nights lie still. In sleep. Or not. In pain. But is it I who brings pain or you, my son. More than nights lost, I cannot sleep in rest. If I breathe. If I really deep breathe, will I break? Yes, I will. Fall from sky. Dylan-sized wide and gaping, a hole everywhere and consumptive, heeding not any law yet of physics.

You did what I cannot undone do. And I hate that. The limitations of my motherhood. Helpless. Unable to bring you home. When I’m here in this place of inward dwelling, down the spiral, hurdling towards your memorial date, I hate that, though mostly, I am just not here right now. It is too hard, too painful, too desperate for thoughts and the bearer of all words laced hard-edged and jagged. 

I wait here, not breathing, hoping, no consciousness of thought, just not really wanting to be here at all. I Only Hurt When I’m Breathing. Earth to sky to moon blue and yearning for you. Where to from here when now I cannot be? 

Lavender Heirloom Rose in Spring
Lavender Heirloom Rose in Spring, My Forever Son

Where to From Here When Now I Cannot Be? 

Ripped here, where body birthed son, where son birthed the all and who of who I am. How now to be and where? How now to close what life cannot undo? How now to hold pain where flesh held you. Once. A long time ago. A story, remembered. A story without an ending, or so I pretend. A story with chapters wanting written, or so if you were here.

I live instead this absence of you. Breathing, sometimes, and not breathing, at this time, in this, your month, your day, your year. Numbers I did not wish to know are all now what tracks the flat-line of motherhood where once our two hearts beat.

Without you, I cannot be, and yet must be, because here I am being something, someone, and yet without solace or distinction. A ripple in a pond, having circled out to go wide growing smaller and smaller, inward, concentric rings, all of these, and yet nowhere to be found–you.

I wait here, not breathing, hoping, no consciousness of thought, just not really wanting to be here at all. Earth to sky to moon blue and yearning for you. Where to from here when now I cannot be? 

Where to From Here When Now I Cannot Be?

Pink Roses in Twos. Close Up Photograph of two beautiful pink roses with yellow centers surrounded by glossy green leaves
Pink Roses in Twos, My Forever Son

If Only a Mother’s Love Could Have Saved You

Bones bear girth where once, 
wisdom birthed you, where 
love lost in the framing,
art for art's sake, created
this portrait of you
(because and as if) 
a mother's love could 
have stopped you, been there 
to catch your fall,
stars deep as dark's cry 
to where now forever 
you forever reside.

Your descent of life hers, 
labored love born,                                                           
on wings beating too wildly 
and too soon on your own.
Your beat of heart hers, 
now her own to live on,                                                       
Sick pulse of ache 
holding death in her arms.

Oh my heart and oh my son
without you life empties
yet love forever beats on

And so now, my forever,
"Why?" ad nauseam  
on repeat in my soul

which has always, 
and still, child, reverberates
in grooves you made whole.
(because and as if)
a mother's love
could have stopped you
And so (because and as if)
she could have heard your heart cry,
she could, and if only, 
save yet you both 
falling stars in a moonless sky.

© Beth Brown, 2022

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