Progress – seldom linear –
tosses me into unexpected decline –
stranded and incapacitated.
My son – with labour-hardened strength
leaps to my side, steadying me
and I feel the fear in his caring grip.
My daughter, ever compassionate,
reaches out for me with horror-filled eyes
as my body crumples onto the bed.
My husband, my oak, seeks to comfort
his voice betraying the helplessness
this futile predicament imposes.
Beloveds, I know that you see me
this dis-abled, non-functioning shell
weakened and sickly, lying on this bed.
Do not be deceived – that is not me –
it is only an illusion –
a vessel – temporarily fettered.
I am, in essence, beside you –
ambitions and desires intact.
Feel me there, tall and proud.
Sense the wholeness of my being
remember me for the woman I am yet to be –
My spirit stands strong.
(I first wrote this poem in August of 2015, when efforts to sit up and visit with friends caused a collapse. I wrote it as reassurance for my family that the woman they knew was still strong. I post here now as a reminder to myself – of how far I have come, and how strong my spirit remains.)
Found an old diary – days
when I prayed to the angels,
painted myself white, believed
in a God that cared about personal
forever after – painted myself pathetic.
Took me back to days of heartbreak,
when I pined after a man, noncommittal,
painted myself pink – an altruistic heart
yearning after unrequitable love, willing
to sacrifice, change – painted myself foolish.
Read between the lines about a woman
so desperately co-dependent she’d risk it all,
painted herself yellow, projected sunshine,
believed in fairy tale endings, threw away
dignity, sanity – painted herself delusional.
Wondered how she’d ever survived, knew
that life intervened in the end, saved her –
painted her broken; but somehow she found
strength, moved on, made better choices,
learned to love herself, painted herself indigo.