Category Archives: grief

Ill of the Dead


The first thing I told the ER nurse,
was that you were too much of an asshole to let
something like a stroke take you down.
Except, they don’t really tell daughters
in the middle of the night,
how bad the hemorrhaging is.

I am not sure how to speak ill of the dead.
I only wish that besides the air they pumped in through
your trach, and the fluids they pumped through the iv,
the meds that flowed through your central line,
they could have also dripped in forgiveness.

I would stand on your left side,
to be out of the way of nurses
but you couldn’t feel me there.
So I would brush the sweat off your forehead,
and will the fever away.

If only intention was all it took-
because there was enough stubborn between the
both of us to fill that 8×10 hospital room.

But, cantankerous does not fix the entire paralysis of
one’s left side, does not stop the shutting down of kidneys
or cease the bacteria from becoming pneumonia.

But it will wake you from a sleep that has lasted twenty-six days.

Shook your hospital bed,
pounded it on it with my insignificant fists,
and goaded you into one more fight.
Yelled at you with the only voice I had left.

It took you only twelve hours to answer back.
Looked me sideways in the eye,
and showed me you were done.
Asked for every tube, line and iv,
to go away.

And when I leaned on my little brother,
What do we do now?
I’ve been fighting with him my whole life,
I’m not going to today. 

ICU moves slow – has its own timezone,
except when there is no more time left,
and then you’re looking for just one more second.

When they shut down the machines
I thought it would be quick –
But Pops, you were waiting for something,
and it wasn’t old hyms for me to sing,
or Willburys’ tunes
or even one last brush of the forehead.

Sixteen hours through the night,
till they said, you didn’t have to be in that little room anymore
because this was a room to make you well –
So we wheeled you off to the light of hospice –
A room with great windows,
Pine trees almost like home-
and there was sun.

I kept singing, held your left side,
useless as it was. Amazing Grace,
how sweet the sound –
your mother taught me that one –
then Sang the other
one the one you walked me down the aisle to.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night.
take these broken wings and learn to fly
all your life.   You were only waiting –

It is hard to speak ill of the dead,
but with your last breath,
and single tear,
And how I stood so damn brave,
didn’t crumple,
till you were long past gone
Old man, you must know-
I am long past forgiveness now.

Extending Condolences


Connecticut is so small. I mean, we pretty much all went to college together. And if not, we all know how to cheer for the Huskies. And our parents all worked at the same company, Be it Pratt, or Aetna, or Travelers.  Hell, we  all get stuck in the same traffic on 84 or 91. We are from a small place, and no clearer is that reminder this week. Too many are the six degrees, or far less, of separation from me to one of the lives taken in Newtown. Oh C.T. my heavy sighs for you this weekend are extended.

Something to Run to.


When I ran my first race, I was fifteen years old.  It was at HK High School on their indoor track, a track that measured just 100 meters. I ran around it ten times for a total of 1000 meters.  I don’t remember where I placed. Fifth maybe- my lungs burned, my legs were all weak when I was done. I had used all I had to get through that race.  When I was done, my coach grabbed my shoulders and said, “you did good Tara B. You did good”. Read the rest of this entry

a completely random and assorted list of the crap I am thinking about right now

  • I am getting another tattoo.  Yes it has been 16 years since the last one. Yes, I might have to realize that I am no longer 19. But no, I don’t care.

In the middle of –


In the middle of everything when Kai is making little snack sized sandwiches with his pepperoni and his cheese and his crackers-  When the radio is playing, just four songs apart, both the songs I had chosen for the DVD I made to play at the funeral home.  When the Giants beat the Pats, when it seemed that they just couldn’t.  When I am cooking your chili just as you would have, except, I put way too much cayenne pepper  on the steak I am browning.  It was in the middle of all those moments, when it was as if you were just off to the side, nearly present, like stuck in the shimmer of the transporter beams we used to spend Saturday nights watching together.  It is in those moments, the ones where you’re almost here – but just not, that I miss you something terrible. Because I can almost hear your giant laugh, almost feel your giant bear hug, but only almost, and it’s not nearly enough.

Seven Stages


They say there are seven stages of grief. I’m in the one where you dig a little hole in your house, and hope never to have to come out. I haven’t returned an email in two weeks (sorry). I haven’t graded a paper in nearly three (eek).  And people keep saying it’s fine, you do what you need to do, and me, I don’t feel fine. I feel less able to mother, more able to anger, and entirely lost in a sea of condolences.  I would trade every card, and bouquet of flowers, every nice thought, gift sent, and compliment paid on a eulogy well done, to not be in this place. Read the rest of this entry

and the thing is


“Would you just hush up. ”
I’ve probably wished that,
or said that,
a million times
to my
oh so
loquacious father.

(What, you imagine I was born in a vacuum?)

And the thing is,
I’ll take every
those wishes

Just to hear-
the same story of smashed pumpkins,
or nails in trees, or even
the time he caught me with his
back turned –