Parents Shouldn’t Outlive Their Children

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Sheet turned down

bed empty for the first time in six months

angelic glow hovered just above your pillow

and I remember the peace that I saw last.

like the doves that flew for you yesterday

they never spoke

but as they soared through the late afternoon sky

their beauty was lost

and i was content to just let them be .

sometimes its easy to blame God

for the pain we feel

for putting you in a fight that was never fair…

sometimes its easier to blame God

than to remember;

bald head

aching bones and soft skin replaced by leather and scars.

my heart is breaking even now

as I remembered how you suffered,

I should be happy that you no longer feel the pain of the illness

that destroyed your body and my heart.

but i cant,

I’m selfish like that.

wishing that you could stay

just one more day, year decade…

then i could let you go;

after you had gotten married

or had that half-mixed baby that you always joked about…

then i could give you

my blessing…

after you had lived a full and healthy life…then, maybe then…

but we don’t get to make those choices,

don’t get to die before our children,

don’t get to catch the birds once they’ve taken flight.

you planned your ceremony down to the last detail,

maybe it gave you closer,

even now staring down at my nineteen year old’s tombstone

i’m conflicted,

but I love you,

will never forget you

forever remembering the brilliant white sheets and flying doves

and the day you lost the fight.

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One thought on “Parents Shouldn’t Outlive Their Children

  1. This … this is touching…. especially as I have about 4 weeks ago buried my cousin, who was only 24. True, we didn’t lose him to cancer, but I feel this. Even tho I wasn’t his parent, he was family, and the thoughts of his passing are still fresh.

    Very well written. Makes me FEEL. And that’s what good poetry is supposed to do.

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