When I was in college, one of my professors had my class read the poem “Requiem” by Anna Ahkmatova and write a response poem from a particular line. The line I chose was “Remembrance hour returns with the turning year,” and I wrote about my great grandmother, who had passed away a couple of years before. Recently, a man I worked with passed away as well, and today is his funeral. In honor of both these people, I decided to share the poem I wrote during college.
If any of you have lost someone near to you (recently or not) my thoughts are with you.
You don’t eat,
You don’t sleep
When you’re waiting for the bad news,
But somehow praying for the best.
All you feel is crushing numbness
As your mind is flooded with memories.
At first the memories are all a blur,
All good but now tinged with fear.
Then you get the news.
You’re standing in the cold,
You feel all alone, but you see everyone with you.
They all wear the same grief-stricken mask
And you know they feel the same.
Standing at the graveside,
You keep back your tears
And they freeze in your eyes.
You try not to think, not to remember.
All alone again, the memories resurface –
Every joy and every regret – all filled with paralyzing guilt
And suddenly you wonder
If they even knew you loved them.
You can’t eat,
You can’t sleep
And all you feel is cold.
Eventually the pain dulls,
But every memory, the simple, the treasured,
Is drenched in sorrow.
Take care, fellow travelers.