Thursday, March 08, 2007

grief is never quickly gone

I read Psalm 8 today, and was reminded again that it was a favorite of my friend Jeannie, who died of cancer last August. We sang it at her funeral, and I think it will forever remind me of her. Anyway, I pulled out a poem I wrote not long after she died, and figured I'd let it be today's post.


I didn’t know.
The last time I heard you laugh
when you joked about growing old,
and when you greeted me with a hug-
I didn’t know then
that I should have been memorizing it all.

I would have taken a million mental snapshots:
The look on your face as you led us in song,
hands rhythmically directing our voices,
your eyes ever reminding us to smile;
I would have framed that picture.

I am making mistakes more freely now,
Jeannie,
trying to sing my wrong notes loud and long and strong,
trying to learn to throw my head back and laugh,
to fully enjoy the humor of my own foibles.
I heard those words before,
but I’m listening more closely now.

And how I want to sing!
To raise my voice to keep you near.
“May your gifts always include music,”
you wrote to me.
I’ll do my best, Jeannie
to never live a life that’s void of melodies.

I just didn’t know you would be gone
so soon,
long before I could call to say I’m in town,
long before I could fill you in on every major milestone.
I didn’t know how hard the tears would fall
once you’d left.

The gifts you said I have,
the strength you saw in me,
the life of love you lived…
I heard those things before, Jeannie.
But as they echo through death’s silence,
loud and clear,
I am listening a lot more closely now.

4 comments:

Jason Rhue said...

Beautiful and painful at the same time. Like a rose fully appreciated. The thorns as well as the splendor and fragrance. Thanks for sharing Katie, but I may not be worthy of such personal words...nor others.

Carrie said...

Agreed. You make the pain beautiful.

Anonymous said...

It IS good to love deeply--to have relationships like that, though it IS a bugger when they pass. Why does pain seem to be as much a part of love as joy?

Katie said...

I know those feelings well; you expressed them beautifully. Thank you for sharing that.