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poems inspiring me to write my own by cristinewakesuphappy

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Submitted on
November 13, 2012
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52 (who?)
Salt-and-pepper hair contrasts sharply with the crisp, starched pillow;
bone-thin arms resemble bed rails--
tears in my arms, the morphine drip in your vein.
My inner rage refutes your calm acceptance.

You ask if we are waiting for you to die:  no.
We are waiting for a miracle,
we are waiting for you to heal--

We are waiting for something that will not happen.
We are stretching for something that is out of reach.
We are holding onto our obsolete hopes, the small fragments of our lives
so closely, we cannot see the bigger picture
of eternity.

In a paradox, God is calling you clearly,
but we can't seem to hear His voice--
only the silence ringing in our ears
as the monitor stops
your breathing ceases
your face un-creases--
and, for the first time in years,
you run Home.
I have always been close to my paternal grandmother, ever since I was a child. When I was in elementary school, the dementia began to set in. It robbed her of her clarity and, eventually, her dignity. My strong, independent grandmother was moved to an assisted-living facility, because she became unable to take care of herself without help. Despite crippling arthritis and the encroaching memory loss, Grandma held her own from that point on, even if she needed a little bit of help.

The spring of the year in which I was fourteen, my grandmother took a turn for the worse. She contracted an internal infection and landed in the hospital. Her heart was very weak, she struggled to breathe, she was immobile, and she was in unimaginable pain. Her morphine drip was near-constant, and even then, she was unconscious most of the time.

After several weeks, she was moved to hospice care. I played hooky from school to care for her while my parents met with the hospice workers; I shifted her on the hour to prevent bedsores, I rubbed her frail hands to warm them, I kept an eye on the heart monitor, I adjusted the cannula that fed her oxygen when it slipped over her papery skin. At that point, we knew she was dying. It was only a question of when and how we could make her most comfortable in the interim.

She was skeletally thin by this time, and it made her look unbelievably frail. Her skin sheared and tore when she moved too much. At the site of the IV, florid bruises bloomed like wilted flowers. She had stopped eating and drinking the day before and the dehydration was already taking its toll. Ever few minutes, I would wet her lips to keep them from cracking, she was so dry. As hazy as things must have been for her, she knew she what was coming.

The night before I resumed classes, I spent hours in her room, just sitting at her bedside, holding her hand. At some point I started crying. She was unconscious, or so I thought; her state was transient, and you could never be sure of how much she perceived of what happened around her. And as I stroked her forehead, her eyes opened, and she spoke for the first time since I had arrived. Every breath costing her, she begged me not to cry, and that's all she managed before she again lost consciousness. Disregarding entirely the strict policy, I removed my surgical mask, bent to kiss her cheek, and crawled into her bed to hold her. She weighed no more than a child in my arms. And that's when I finally accepted the inevitable.

I left that night with a promise to return after school the next day. I never spoke to her again. The following evening, the phone rang, and I picked it up without thinking first. She was gone. My father had stepped out into the hallway to have a word with the attending and she had slipped away in those few seconds. She was alone when she died. I still wonder if she was aware of this, if she was scared. And I still can't forgive myself for leaving her.

I had a ridiculous homework load that night, but not much was accomplished, needless to say. A few minutes after I had hung up, I sat down at the computer to continue composing my final essay for a class and just lost it. Any shaky grip I'd had on my grief just dissolved. I was a wreck. I cried so long and hard that I felt sick to my stomach. With everything else that was going on in eighth grade, I hadn't eaten in four days. I was fairly certain that the cavern yawning deep in my abdomen was no longer mere hunger. Food couldn't fill that emptiness. Nothing could. I had entirely lost my appetite. I wouldn't eat for another 48 hours. It didn't even register at that point.

The formerly paramount importance of schoolwork seemed laughable now. I had bigger things to worry about. I never did finish that crucial essay. Instead, I stayed up until 3 a.m. composing this before crawling into bed and crying myself to sleep.

This was written several years ago, so I apologize in advance for the fact that it's not my best work. I've matured a lot in my writing since then.

I hadn't thought of this in ages. A dear friend of mine lost her grandmother, with whom she was extremely close, this past weekend. And it felt like losing Grandma all over again. I wanted to post this not only for her but also for anyone else who has been in this situation before.

I want to say this: I know this isn't what you want to hear, but it never really does hurt less, that hole in your life. It never fills in. You just learn to dance around it. And sometimes, you will stumble, and you will slip, and it will snag you and you will fall. But you will climb your way to the surface every time, and the pain will dull, and you will make it through. I promise.

Please do not use without my permission.
Comments are welcome and greatly appreciated. Any feedback is great to hear. What can I do better?

EDIT: I've been featured here: [link] and [link] and [link] Thank you so much!! :heart:
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akkajess Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Student Writer
Hi! Your fantastic work has been featured here:heart:
samshadeslayer Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Student Writer
I'm so sorry for your loss, and your friend's loss. This poem really takes the reader through your experience. It's heartbreaking :(
ShineeSerenDipity Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2013  Student Writer
This is beautiful and so touching, thank you for sharing.
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2013
Your wonderful literary work has been chosen to be featured by DLD (Daily Literature Deviations) and has been selected as our “Pick of the Day”. It is featured in a news article here: dailylitdeviations.deviantart.… and on our main page.

Keep writing and keep creating.
SilverInkblot Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Hi there! Just a note to let you know that I've featured this piece in my journal :)
tguillot Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
This is an excellent writing.
Reading it made me feel at least a small part of what you felt.
I'm sorry for the loss of your grandmother.
forestmeetwildfire Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Your fantastic work has been featured here!
I'd really appreciate it if you could give the other features some love and :+fav: the journal! :heart:
GrimFace242 Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012   Writer
You've hit the two things I'm bad at. Poetry and religion. :lmao: So, please bear with me as I "critique" this.

I find when it comes to poetry, it's worlds easier for me just to tell you what I think about the words that are written and how they made me feel instead of trying to understand some hidden meaning or vernacular. Because that just doesn't happen with me. I don't get that kind of poetry. :ashamed:

Your first stanza drops an awesome visual. The hair against the pillow tells me age while the "starched pillow" gives that hospital feel. I immediately knew this wasn't taking place at "home." The arms resembling bed rails, again, I love the play on the hospital setting.

My inner rage refutes your calm acceptance.

is trumped only by the following line
You ask if we are waiting for you to die: no.

Initially I wanted to reverse those because that first line is SO powerful. It describes both people perfectly and honestly. But the second line holds more emotion to me. Emotion because she's obviously ready to die. She's accepted it and is ready and willing to go. A morphine drip means she's got to be in pain. But of course the people that aren't sick don't want to lose those that are sick. That's a completely different level of pain. So of course we wouldn't be waiting for them to die. We're waiting on that miracle that deep down we know isn't going to happen.

I really like that you dedicated an entire stanza to wanting to hold on to that life. Because it reflects life. We don't like to let og of things. Be it objects, people or memories. We hate giving them up. So it's necessary to dwell on that idea.

Your last stanza is where I get hung up and I'd prefer to refrain from going into a detailed comment because clashing beliefs will only cause controversy. What I will say is that the un-creased line is absolutely amazing. It's a grand way to describe death and yet keep it pleasant.

The only thing I can honestly see as needing improvement is all the "we are"s. I'm going to assume you used the repetition on purpose, but I ended up skipping over them and just reading the "good" parts. A stronger word choice could make that whole area show more emotion.
DamonLSalvatore Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It is very unfortunate these situations are not in our control. The truth however, is she knew you were there by her side. The times you weren't are irrelevant now. That is more than many people can say, those who treated members of family like trash until it was too late and look back with lifetimes of regret. They suffer due to their own foolishness.

She knew you cared. You showed it.
Life may get in the way, but being there when it matters..
That is all any of us can ever do.
kalamarizoo Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012   Writer
Very lovely piece. Thank you for sharing it with us.
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