Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Portrait of a Family

Catherine Cole
September 19, 1981 - March 17th, 2013

Her mother stays strong,
not because she feels strong,
because she has to.
No one else can do it better,
Or understands her more

Her husband (not her father)
Stays quietly strong, and stands by
Waiting. Watching, doing the small stuff.
It is all he can do, until he needs to do
Something else

Her father does what he always does.
Harangues, and scolds and tries to motivate
Not understanding that this time
That isn’t even close to real
But he doesn’t know what else to do

Her brother wishes he could sell everything
to be close to her
but he has a life, a daughter of his own,
and really, what could he do
His mother is already doing everything.

I stand by, and sign for wheelchairs,
Buy Girl Scout cookies, and jamba juice just in case,
Once egg salad sandwiches because she craves one
I walk past strangers crying in the driveway,
who were not expecting me to need my car just then,

There is nothing to say, no way to help
Until the end
When her mother shatters
Into bright glittery shards of grief
And we quietly begin to pick them up.

Only then, will it change,
The Family, never again the same
Her husband, not her father,
Will still be quietly waiting and watching
And doing what is needed.

On Mother's Day, her best friend will drop off flowers
a dying request, an attempt to comfort 
To let her mother know.
It will happen again on her birthday
Year after year, until she falls.