Our daughter Eleanor died on 21st April of this year.
People mean well, but when to bypass
The word death, they say loss, “I’m sorry
For your loss,” as if I’d suffered a financial fraud
Or been in too much of a hurry,
mislaid you in the supermarket and never found you
Again, I find myself replying
Although I realise it’s unfair and indecorous
“Yes, we are grieved by her dying.”
Then I remember how for years I’ve been terrified
Of losing you, even when you were well,
Were you safe getting home from the night club?
Was the man you were with reliable?
How much more in your illness! If you weren’t answering
Your phone, I’d get in the car and drive
Miles just to see you, and if you were socialising
I’d need repeated proof you were alive.
My brother said I was trying to micromanage you,
But I knew you’d been assaulted
More than once, or taken double your medication;
So my anxiety could not be faulted.
Often I fore-imagined finding your lifeless body
Or having to identify your corpse;
Living in fear of losing one I loved so dearly
I lost you often in my thoughts.
But now you’re dead and gone from me, your ashes
scattered, it seems I have not lost you;
You talk with me from the other bank of the river
And show me how to trust you.