Today’s post is not about cancer. This post, about grief, still affects me every time I read it. I am hoping that those of you new to the site are finding this month of re-posts to be a good introduction to my writing. Hopefully it’s allowing you to see some of the life experiences that have gotten me to where I am. It’s been very interesting for me to go back and re-examine so much of my writing through this new lens of metastatic cancer.
This post was written the day after my beloved mother-in-law’s sudden death in a car crash.
Written September 17, 2009
She went up to bed tonight,
Still pink-eyed and shaky.
Finally calmed enough to hopefully get some rest.
And as she walked into her room,
From beneath her bed,
The bright kaleidoscope patterned paper
Caught her eye.
I heard the sobs,
“My birthday present.
The one she gave me early.”
She stood pointing at it,
Like a child pointing at a dead
Animal in the middle of the road.
Together we looked.
And then all at once it hit me.
I knew what she was talking about.
Two weeks ago,
When my in-laws were visiting,
Paige’s grandmother had given her a wrapped box
“This is for your birthday.
Put it somewhere safe.
Don’t open it until October 28th.
I know it’s something you’ll like,
But you have to wait until then,
Because that’s the kind of 10-year old she is,
Paige didn’t peek,
Or lift the corner of the paper,
Or ask her brother what was in it.
She carefully put it under her bed
To wait until October.
We had no way of knowing we’d never see Grandma again.
No way of knowing that was the last present that would be bought.
No way of knowing that a truck which had no business trying to pass anyone,
Much less several vehicles at once,
Would slam head-on into my in-laws’ car and kill our loved one.
The very sight of the box,
And the thought of its giver,
Brought her to tears,
Racked her with sobs,
Riddled her with grief,
Filled her with anger,
And did the very same