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One Shot Wednesday Week 15

It is once again time for week 15 of One Shot Wednesday!  Write a poem, link up and visit other poets.

A long illness;

A slow demise.

How am I supposed to feel?

If only someone could tell me.

Mind and body, I am worn out;

Tired from two years of caring and grieving,

bathing, feeding, dressing.

Day after day

unending care to the end.

Watching her body diminish in strength and size,

wishing I could somehow help.

When death finally came, I could no longer feel

the sorrow that everyone expected of me.

The guilt of feeling relief at her passing

is doubled by the guilt of outliving my child.

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21 thoughts on “One Shot Wednesday Week 15

  1. Teresa, this is such a powerful piece, drawing the reader into your grief, that which was there way before the loss, bits and pieces of life letting go.

    Since it is such an overwhelming loss, I would try breaking it into stanzas, maybe four, allowing the reader a breath, to build a moments strength before moving on.

    maybe here…

    A long illness;
    A slow demise.
    How am I supposed to feel?
    If only someone could tell me.

    Mind and body, I am worn out;
    Tired from two years of caring and grieving,
    bathing, feeding, dressing.
    Day after day
    unending care to the end.
    Watching her body diminish in strength and size,
    wishing I could somehow help.

    When death finally came, I could no longer feel
    the sorrow that everyone expected of me.

    The guilt of feeling relief at her passing
    is doubled by the guilt of outliving my child.

    The loss of a loved one is a difficult topic both for the reader and to write well. Your words hold much power and depth of heartache. Beautifully shared…. fabulous last lines.

  2. Hello again Teresa–

    I think you can strengthen this piece by stripping out some of the superfluous words and redundant phrasing that aren’t adding much in terms of meaning to this tender poem. I would also add a couple of stanza breaks to allow the readers a bit of time to breathe. Please feel free to disregard these suggestions if they don’t work for you.

    [cut in between]
    [A] long illness;
    [A] slow demise.
    How am I supposed to feel?
    [If only] someone [could] tell me.

    [Mind and body, I am] worn out;
    [Tired from] two years of caring, [and] grieving,
    bathing, feeding, dressing.

    Day after day
    [unending care] to the end.
    Watching her [body] diminish in strength and size,
    wishing I could [somehow] help.

    When death [finally] came,
    I couldn’t [no longer] feel
    the sorrow [that everyone] expected [of me].

    The guilt of feeling relief [at her passing]
    is doubled by [the guilt of] outliving my child.

    (so would look like this)
    long illness;
    slow demise.
    how am I supposed to feel?
    someone tell me.

    worn out;
    two years of caring, grieving,
    bathing, feeding, dressing.

    day after day
    to the end.
    watching her diminish
    in strength and size,
    wishing I could help.

    when death came,
    I couldn’t feel
    the sorrow expected.
    the guilt of feeling relief
    is doubled by
    outliving my child.

  3. This hit me just as hard as it did when I read it last October. I cannot imagine how something that is so totally you can be changed, let alone improved. It would be like changing who you are.

  4. Hello Teresa–

    I believe that some of the poems we write may be more for ourselves (catharsis) than for others and I feel as though this poem feels too personal for me to critique it –

    You have really punched your audience in the guts with the last line. Took my breath away.

    If you feel as though you would like some feedback about this poem in terms of phrasing, poetic devices, or form, I would be happy to give you some suggestions.

    The grief and heartache in this is palpable in this. My deepest sympathy for your unimaginable loss.

    Thank you for linking up.

  5. i had to catch my breath at the end of your poem. I really thought it was about a child caring for her ailing mother. This is so beautiful and heartfelt I just want to hug you! , and may any guilt you feel be eased, even if slightly through the sharing of these beautiful words. I’m sure so many can relate to your words.

  6. Blunt take on loss; the end line lacks artfulness, but then often the most gut-wrenching grief and poetry isn’t “art” – it’s about being real about things, and this is plenty real.

  7. hard to critique the quality of the poem whenthe emotion of it is so direct and real,i recognise that feeling though of the grieving taking place whilst someone is still alive and the almost empty when the death comes…brave writing

  8. Teresa,
    I cannot begin to empathize and I can only hope that the writing of this poem has found you some relief and healing. Thank you for having the strength and bravery to share.

  9. wonderful and a piece so thought out and true…pain, guilt, and the relieve of the grieve….”it is finished” well done….bkm

  10. You brought tears to my eyes with this. My daughter is a breast cancer survivor, and this is and will always be my greatest fear. My heart goes out to you. Anyone who thinks you don’t feel grief is not really looking.

  11. The relief and the guilt…you expressed it so beautifully…and this poem tears at my heart, it reminds me of when my brother passed. Such utter exhaustion of heart and soul can swallow grief whole…and leave an empty space that never gets filled.

  12. This is gutwrenchingly sad. We cannot feel sorrow just because others expect it of us – and if they had been at all sensitive, they would have seen the grief was there all along. Gosh, that on top of everything…

  13. Teresa, this is a very heartfelt poem. And I feel so sorry for your loss. I think you did your grieving before she actually died. That perhaps was why the sorrow wasn’t so evident. I understand this entirely.

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