Sometimes I feel like I am not doing enough as a widow because others create foundations, charities, races, and memorials to honor their lost spouses. But I have learned we all deal with grief in different ways, and none of them are wrong. When I catch myself feeling like this, I remind myself that I cope through writing. I have my MFA in Creative Writing, and I have been teaching poetry for over 20 years. I wrote an entire manuscript about losing my husband. I planted a memory garden for him where I can go to sit and think and talk to him whenever I want. I am raising two sons alone. I have realized that is more than enough. Each month I will feature a different poem from my book, The Queen of Joyful Things, as well as shop around for a publisher. Poetry is one of the many ways I move through my grief.
By Amanda Crane
Featured in Beyond Words Literary Magazine
I knew that you were gone,
but I floated in the in-between,
which is not past or future
not present or progressive
not earth or heaven
not alive or dead.
It’s the nine and three-quarters platform.
It’s a dark and quiet sliver of time.
When I started chest compressions,
when I started beating your heart,
I remembered you once told me
you could hold your breath for 3 minutes
if you really tried,
just like a Navy Seal.
And it took exactly 3 minutes,
which is 180 seconds,
which is 180,000 milliseconds
for the paramedics to burst through the door.
I slid into an infinitesimal wormhole
in the great void.
Suspended in that shard of time.
I was the figure in the soundless Scream painting.
A chunk of fruit floating in Jell-O.
A slow-motion VHS tape.
Click. Click. Click.
My adrenaline did not flatline
when you flatlined.
A stranger drove me,
my hands pressed hard on the dashboard.
I could not believe I was breathing.
I remember the soft swell
of your belly undulating
as they rushed you in
on the stretcher.
I’m so sorry, love.
I’m so sorry that
it wasn’t a heart attack,
which is pouring water on the wick.
It was a sudden cardiac arrest,
which is a permanent flip of the switch.
A short circuit. No way back.
I feel awash with guilt
for not taking better care
of your health
in the wake of my mother’s death.
Because when you are motherless,
you are dangerous.
And I was dangerous,
drowned in my own loss.
The whoosh of air
through the automatic doors,
me sliding down the cold wall,
the white heat
spreading through the interior of my body.
Then I opened my eyes
in your pool of water –
At first it was lovely and blurry,
and then it swallowed me whole.