3.15.2012

grandfather

Grandpa, the day you died was a normal day.
I was in the library at school,
And when the voice on the intercom said
Is Marian in this room please?
I thought maybe you were dead.

I walked out and saw my mother
And then I was sure. Then I knew.
I cried right there in the hallway. She said
It's your grandfather.

The white walls started to close in
And then the bell rang, the rush, the din
Like a crazed alarm inside my head that kept sounding
He's dead! He's dead!
And all the kids came out of the rooms
They were everywhere, the walls loomed
And Marshall Troop came up and said
Mizz Kent, Mizz Kent, he's dead! He's dead!
The lockers slammed, kids were screaming
I hoped that I was only dreaming
Kids were yelling
He's dead! He's dead!

I started to fall, and my mother held me
And she said
It's all right. He doesn't have pain anymore.
It's all right.

Grandpa, I hope there's no pain.

I wrote this in high school. It's my first poem, or at least the earliest one of which I still have evidence. I have not edited it except to add italics.

I decided to share this, rough as it is, because today some friends found themselves in the position my mother was in here. How difficult to suffer such a loss and yet be required to be strong for your children. As happens so often, I'm reflecting back on my own childhood memories, thinking about my parents and what the experience might have been like for them.