October 10, 2020

The Other Side of the One-Way Mirror of Grief.


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The wounds of loss are what make us strong.

We experience loss in so many ways—physical deaths, loss of dreams, relationships, expectations of the future.

It’s coming on 13 years since the unexpected loss of my dad. As I get older, the tender experience of that tremendous loss grows alongside me.

Not that it grows larger, but just as we humans do, grief shifts and changes. My perspective of what it means to not be able to see my dad, to hear his voice, to ask him questions has changed and is changing every day.

I sat down to write (as I do when faced with something that I don’t understand) and, as always, the process of writing took me to a place that was unexpected.

I sat down to write about missing my dad, about witnessing my sister and mother miss my dad. I sat down to write about how it seems, at times, that there is one-way mirror between us and him.

And what I ended up writing about was him and his living loss of us—how it must feel for him watching us looking for him in little clues of his existence.

How it must feel to see but not be seen.

Wordless melodies and
Hummed questions fall from her lips
Spotting the air around her head
Dancing soft hair, soft swings
Of dandelion dust, cherry dreams
And plums, white dandelion, daisies
And rum, dripping from her crown
Did she know you were there?
That that’s why her words were
Not words, that that’s how they
Hung in the air?

Dripping down her long dark hair
Heavy rain and pearls, lay her bare
Bare back on a grey mare with
Droplets running down her arms, in
Rivers only known by you, did you
Take her there?
Her truth soaked into the bedsheets
White sheet, white heat, white glow
She will not drown in your droplets
Rain, not even the river
As she grows with the tender
pooling underground and the capacity
For all things unknown

She’s an angel in this house
Bare feet upon her throne, I’d ask
You again if given the chance
What does it feel like to watch
Her, watching out for you? For you,
In the twinkles and shimmer up there
In that big deep blue, what does
It feel like to see but not be seen?
To see her laid down, her fingers
like rivers running along photographs
Of you, photographs of her, how does
It feel to be felt in the breeze,
In the sun and in the trees but not
Be able to feel?

There are crickets outside
Her window, the one she peers
Through, face pressed against
The cold glass, as she watches out
For you in the glimmer of stars
Dancing, racing, hurtling stars
Moonlit nights lighting her cheeks
With a choir of crickets outside
Her window, they are singing
Your song, I wonder does she
Recognise it or has it been
Too long?

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