What must come.

We sort silently through belongings
Sift through left-behinds,
remnants
Of last days.

Turning sweet papers and tissues and odd socks over in our hands
Pausing, sightless as though at rare finds.

Here is the throw-away razer
Clotted with skin and blood and hair
Here are your teeth, in pink, in the dish.

We thought you were Lazarus.
That last time, here, our
Vigils lashed your slender line of life
To our still insistent blood and pulse.

Willed into living.

That we could resent again
Your mess and phlegm and
Our weary self-reproach.
Forget the pain and fear of impending loss.

So here now in this shrouded room
with your stilled body, a trace-less cardiac screen
The sounds of magpies gathering
We clasp one another against what must come.

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10 thoughts on “What must come.

  1. Too true Graham.
    I couldn't have written this 10 years ago – or near the time. But distance and my own growing age brings clarity to it. And a knowledge that this is future too.

  2. What must come… I increasingly feel that as parents get older; me too.

    But what is that other saying?

    This too will pass.

    In a way grief is an encouragement to live more fully.

    Very best wishes.

  3. Piercing insight.

    Loved the Lazarus stanza:

    “… Our vigils lashed your slender line of life
    To our still insistent blood and pulse”
    is brilliant and reminds me of the hours sitting by my father's hospital bed in his last battle.

  4. Thanks Chloe.
    This has just taken me near 10 years to write… funny what triggers writing. My own father was ill over the weekend – and it triggered all the memories of my father-in-law (my husband and I cared for him in our home for the first 15 years of our marriage) and of what happened.
    It wasn't sad to remember it all. The distance of time has given me the ability to really see and understand.
    He was close to death on so many occasions. He was a cat – with nine lives.

  5. It is. Though difficult to understand as that when in the throes. I've written this from a distance of ten years. It's only now I understand and can see – if not clearly – then more clearly.

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