In the early morning hours of January 3rd, 2015 my wife, Karen passed away from ovarian cancer. On this day, the eighth anniversary of her passing, I decided to repost this poem. While no relationship may be perfect, I’ve come to realize perfection is found in the things people share. Karen and I shared our love of dogs, so of course, in a dream, I met her as I walked the dogs, and one day I’ll meet her again, but when that happens, she’ll be the one walking all the dogs.
I thought to find you on the path
between the heather patches.
You were not there.
I thought to find you along the roads
from here to other places I traveled,
but there were no traces.
I thought to find you along the routes
where I walked the dogs.
Of course, there you were,
ready to laugh and say they loved you best--
as you always did.
Taking treats from your pocket,
you fed and petted them.
Looking up at me, you said I had more
grey than last you saw, but it didn’t look bad.
Your idea of a compliment, I know.
I killed the weeds of anger over things like that.
Now I must learn to trim back the hedges of grief.
Get electric hedge trimmers, you laughingly said.
Then whispered I should learn from the dogs
and you’d meet me along the path
between the heather one day.
And that was all.
You were gone.
Each new year brings
Now this garden grief
Nourished by regret
Each year, this day, here—
Standing, kneeling, sitting—I
Spend tears, words, wishes
All meaningless now,
In the barren garden grief
Flowers never bloom
Seven years gone now--
Nothing roots, though it has tried,
In the garden grief inside
I had not realized That still I wore the black, The widow’s weeds of anger, These five years hence Your death. Until today, When at your grave, I stood and, in finality, Cast them away.
Now, emerging from the black chrysalis Of my anger, Perching upon the vine, I can spread the wings, Waving them, allowing them to dry.
And you, my wife, are not here. Not under this six feet of earth. You have long flown away, Beyond the things we were and were not, Beyond the languages we spoke and wrote To one another yet could not understand, Beyond the desire of ego and want and need, Beyond the hurts and the pains of life and selfishness To where only truth, love, and real atonement Color a spirit and soul in a prism of flames.
And in my freedom from anger and pain, I wear your vine with my own rose, and I am the Monarch with wings ready to fly.
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