Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The night I lost you
someone pointed me towards
the Five Stages of Grief.
Go that way, they said,
it's easy, like learning to climb
stairs after the amputation.
And so I climbed.
Denial was first.
I sat down at breakfast
carefully setting the table
for two. I passed you the toast-
you sat there. I passed
you the paper- you hid
behind it.

Anger seemed more familiar.
I burned the toast, snatched
the paper and read the headlines myself.
But they mentioned your departure,
and so I moved on to

Bargaining. What could I exchange
for you? The silence
after storms? My typing fingers?
Before I could decide, Depression
came puffing up, a poor relation
its suitcase tied together
with a string. In the suitcase
were bandages for the eyes
and bottles of sleep. I slid
all the way down the stairs
feeling nothing.

And all the time Hope
flashed on and off
in defective neon.
Hope was a signpost pointing
straight in the air.
Hope was my uncle's middle name,
he died of it.

After a year I am still climbing,
though my feet slip
on your stone face.
The treeline
has long since disappeared;
green i a colour
I have forgotten.

But now I see what I am climbing
towards: Acceptance
written in capital letters,
a special headline:
its name in lights.
I struggle on,
waving and shouting.
Below, my whole life spreads its surf
all the landscapes I've ever known
or dreamed of. Below
a fish jumps: the pulse
in your neck.
Acceptance. I finally reach it.
But something is wrong.
Grief is a circular staircase.
I have lost you.

"The Five Stages of Grief"
-Linda Pastan

This is just a beautiful compilation of words. Whenever I read it the first time I get to the end and go "That's so sad, she's lost him and forgotten him," but then I pause and read it again and realize.... She didn't forget him in her climb, she lost him all over again.
The most common interpretation of this poem is death, but that's not all that this applies to. It applies to everything in life. Grief, in all it's facets is a part of everything.
If you think about it you're always in the process of losing something even if you're gaining something else.

So really, Grief is Life.

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