I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

9 April 2013

Instructions to the Bereaved

Many things are just the same.
You still need to get on 
with the physical business of living.
Eat, pee, sleep, wash, and so on.

Do the dishes, put the dishes away ...
observe the normal routines
that made the household function
for two — as it must for one.

You'll notice you still cook dinner, 
still read, watch television, feed the cats,
sit at your computer, write ... do all
that you did before with company.

There is basically only one difference —
and the many small changes
which follow from that. Some you like,
some not. They may be the same.

You spread out in the double bed (you
and the cats). That can be luxurious
or bleak. Taking the other chair, not
to see it empty, you find it better placed.

No-one (except for those cats) 
will nag you now for meals, or when 
to come to bed. Be thankful for the cats!
You too need food. You need sleep.

At first you may decide and plan
activities your Other would have liked,
things you believe they wanted. 
At this point heed the wise advice

your son the other day returned to you,
which he says you gave to him
decades ago, after his father died: 'Don't 
live someone else's life; live your own.'

Poetic Asides April PAD Challenge 2013, 8: Instructional poem.

Submitted for dVerse Open Link Night #91


  1. Aww... so sad. I especially like the ending... wise words.

  2. keep living is essential...its not easy, and there are changes...i imagine having the cats or a pups does help, for my FIL it was the grand kids that became his focus...

  3. Wonderful poem. It captures the daily part of bereavement. Lovely read.

  4. I very much enjoy the realism and unexaggerated descriptions.

  5. You described well just how it IS. Your son's words are definitely right on target.

  6. Ah, your son's words are wise.
    That our young may be are guardians
    speak of success in the effort of upbringing.
    Or damn good luck! :-)
    Nicely penned.

  7. 'Don't
    live someone else's life; live your own.'... these are wise words..i can imagine how difficult it is and how much you miss him..it's good when there's a certain routine that also gives life a bit of a frame

  8. Very keen observations on the painful reality of bereavement. You captured those details that I've found to be surprising to so many...some of the same ones I have in my first novel, that point out the aloneness of it all: cooking for one, the empty side of the bed. And the message you've included is so apt. Thank you for this.

  9. You have aptly described what it must be like for so many. I like this. Thank you! Commenting from dVerse.

  10. We just move on. Things change but don't. You've described it wonderfully.

  11. Many thanks to all of you for your understanding!