These selections from my poetic journal, small slices of a complex life, share an ultimately hopeful story. Various threads are woven over time into a narrative arc: ongoing medical events, my longtime deep connection to my husband, the closeness of our family of four, and celebrating my relationship with my mother through poems inspired by our Monday phone calls. I grieved her loss and also that of my youngest brother, my father-in-law and mother-in-law, and many other close family members and friends in five-year period. My youngest sister, Dorothy, was diagnosed with aggressive stage 4 breast cancer. The disappearance of a friend of my daughter (a girl who used to sit at my kitchen counter) profoundly affected me as a mother (“For Kelly’s Mom” and “Vanished”). I selectively read the news and wrote about it. The “Walking Series” poems are peaceful meditations of being present in nature. Many people inspired me, many people helped me. I am most grateful. When I was pulled into the medical realm, the poems more narrowly focused on that world. As I emerged from an intensive healing period, the poems became more wide-ranging again.
Even in the hardest times, not every minute is relentless conscious healing work. Sometimes you need a vacation from grief, a respite in nature, a good laugh, a nap, a walk, a book, singing, a silly movie, talking with a friend about anything else, some sliver of perspective. You want to feel normal, to remember that there is life apart from all the dark, a life you can slowly move towards—in zigs and zags—as the days go on.
Change is possible. Healing is possible. It is possible to heal our whole selves, to heal relationships, to heal our severed connection to our life purpose, and to heal trauma, whatever the cause. We can heal our past and set a new course for ourselves free from old ingrained injuries. If one person heals, healing energy radiates out from them with the possibility of healing their families and communities. We all benefit as it spills over to all of us.
So take this lifeboat with me through possibly rough seas and calm, into the streaming light on the far shore. Let me tell you a story…