When Winter Cradles Spring

According to the calendar, this is spring’s first day
I can just make out the tinges of green on its way
But one more winter’s snowfall has one last say
Making this day, just like my heart, somewhat gray
Those first hints of green are a melancholy thing
My love I miss you most, when winter cradles spring

The spring day we met, the ground still had snow
And like the seedlings underneath a love began to grow
And the years like sunlight increased it’s glow
But on a snowy spring day, you were taken so
Trapped in a time warp, my eyes start to sting
My love I miss you most, when winter cradles spring

It has been a few years now, since you’ve died
And I concede, the tears grow less, that I’ve cried
I would love to say my pain has turned its tide
But on days like today all would know I’ve lied
For me it’s a lamentation, the morning birds sing
My love I miss you most, when winter cradles spring

When I look at the walls, in the spaces somewhat bare
In my mind’s eyes, are the pictures of you, still hanging there
The seasons come, the seasons go, in their time allotted share
But this, not quite winter, not quite spring, holds bittersweet air
I tug at the finger that sometimes wears your wedding ring
My love I miss you most, when winter cradles spring

Sometimes I’m hit with pangs that my heart can barely stand
But they’re starting to fade, like the tide wearing away sand

Those first hints of green are a melancholy thing
Trapped in a time warp my eyes start to sting
For me it’s a lamentation, the morning birds sing
I tug at the finger that sometimes wears your wedding ring
Wondering if, no when, my heart will ease its painful cling
Oh my love I miss you most, when winter cradles spring


SOL - Slice of Life March Challenge 2012

SOL - Slice of Life March Challenge 2012

* I wrote this poem eight years ago when my husband was very much among the living.
* Six years ago on this day, he became my late-husband.
* Two years ago this week I started this blog, referencing the above write, but somehow never posted it.
* Today I note, yet again, how time flies regardless of fun and I post and I remember and I smile and I give thanks again to all of you who have chosen to follow along with me on this path, no matter when you picked up the trail.


Each Day Anew…

I wake and start each day anew
I shake myself to clear my head
I take on faith I’ll muddle through
I make myself get out of bed

The day is as it was before
The play of life’s dramas unfold
The clay of my face gets new scores
The way it will for days untold

Time flaunts with me in its cruel way
Time wants me to think I’m all right
Time daunts my tears in light of day
Time haunts me then in dark of night

Can’t lie my pain will soon be through
Can’t fly away until it’s gone
Can’t buy back moments to redo
Can’t die so no choice but go on

It’s true that heartache ends, but when?
It’s few the days I feel it cease
It’s due I know, but until then
It’s through my pen I find release

I know I have the strength to cope
I go as heart and soul say to
I sow my seeds of faith and hope
I grow and start each day anew


[written several very short, yet long years ago – about six weeks after becoming a widow.]

The form used is called a Lento. Strictly speaking a Lento is two quatrains of eight syllables (a Double Lento has four quatrains, or as I have done, a Triple Lento with six quatrains). A Lento requires that you rhyme the very first word of each line in the stanza and have an ending rhyme of abcd. As you can see I took a little creative licensing here by repeating the first word and rhyming the second words instead and having an end rhyme of abab.

dVerse Poets Pub | Poetics: The Beautiful Sadness

NaPoWrMo — What If?

What if this fall of silence is as we portend?
Our cheetah lives left not much for the love
We tended to at such a slow caterpillar pace
That which was so fluid, has now grown stiff.

What if it’s lost in the daily push and shove?
Is it worth the time we give to this to exert?
The joy what time has washed away from us
These stolen moments with you do not replace

What if all that’s left is only that which can hurt?
And we’re too scared to escape this devil’s dance
For we haven’t given us a fair chance hence
For this to be the be all-end all of this litmus

What if this is our last and final chance?
Do we have what it takes to Loki’s face scoff?
When we choose to stare at separate walls
Than face each other in the quiet morning’s province

What if this love is a yarn of Cupid’s day off?
Can we just let it go – without a word?
Whose fault does it become it be then?
The nitty-gritty is do we fight or do we fall?

What if we’re at the crossroads of some lyrics I once heard?
‘Each new beginning is some other beginning’s end’
But what if it’s much too soon for all these “what ifs”
To spring to life as the keepsake “what could have been”

Finding Clarity

Reflections on the dire pasts
Learning or stumbling as life so casts.
Today the air is clear of everything
What was, is what was and has little bearing.
Yes, we were there, but we have never been here before
And the here and now is what’s needed to hold in store.
I stand strong, head held high and unashamed
One with myself , my heart and soul unafraid.
I feel inspired, and find myself in a world full of light
Illuminated from within, I find clarity, insight

But when…?

I have now attended a funeral for the third weekend in a row.

Third weekend. IN A ROW.

This new year is only 22 days old and so far I am not liking 2011 at all.

I walked out during the third or fourth person speaking on today’s dearly departed to go to the bathroom. I had my coat with me and instead of going back into the service I put it on and walked out the door. And kept walking;  I just wanted to go home. I was dressed very warm and could only really feel the cold on my face. It wasn’t a deal breaker and i really needed to clear my head so I decided to walk towards home until I became too cold and/or too tired.

That alone should have been a warning bell, but I was in no state to hear it.

As I’m walking I’m going through a tsunami of emotions.   I cycle in and out of insomnia, going two-three days without sleeping, then coming home and being out cold before 8pm and not rising until my alarm goes off at 5am.  These near weekly snow storms and work related issues have added to the stress. I bury one friend for infinity last week; then in a completely unexpected turn of events a former friendship I had emotionally buried suddenly finds itself resurrected this week, which brings in a whole new set of emotional turmoil as we awkwardly work out trying to find our way back to some state of what was.  Add in I went out, got completely wasted and had to go to work the next day with my head all over the emotional scale. And yesterday, I learn another friend has made the decision to move to another state and will be doing so relatively soon. I’ve put up a fantastic front, but I see this past week especially is taking its toll.

I was  five blocks from “home” when the warning bell I did not hear earlier went into full on Star Trek red alert klaxon mode. I was heading towards the wrong home. I was heading towards the home I lived in when I was still married. It is in the exact opposite direction of where I live now and had been walking out in this freezing ass weather for a good thirty minutes before I noticed. What the fuck? The enormity of it comes crushing down on me and suddenly I am freezing and exhausted. I hop in a cab and go home.

So here I am. In my warm bed, partially on my lap top typing this, partially gazing at what’s left of the sunlight bouncing off the snow-covered rooftops,  trying to defrost from more than the weather that’s left me feeling cold.  As I sit here, I realize, with all the emotional turmoil I’ve gone through, I’ve yet to cry.  Yes, I’ve shed tears. But I have yet to have that long hard, crawl into a fetal position, full-out, deep ugly soul cleansing bawl. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks hugging people, holding people, reaching out to people giving them encouragement, letting them know they’re going to be okay.  Yes, I could go and have been to my friends where I find succor and loving support.  But me being me, keep moving on. I’m moving on so well in fact, I head towards the wrong home. Why?  Because it was the last place where I was loved.

That no questions asked (because they already know or have a good idea), loved. That pull you into their arms, holding you tight loved. That not letting you go until it’s as out as it can be loved. That maybe it takes a few minutes, maybe it takes an hour, maybe it takes until you fall asleep exhausted loved. That’s what I need. However, only the Powers-That-Be can say when I’ll known such once more.

I know that breakdown is coming, but when? I pray that the tipping point does not occur in the middle of the work week, because that would be just craptacular to fall apart at work.

In the interim, I write and I wait…


In Smiling Silence – Redux

Feeling forced into a role of valiance
For my tears seem of little credence
I bear this all in smiling silence

They say “It’s not for us to ask Him why”
Or the “It’ll get better by and by”
It’s two weeks! I’m not entitled to cry?
I bear this all in smiling silence

Trying to squelch fears in their own attitudes?
Is it for me folks spew these platitudes?
And THEY’RE upset I don’t nod in gratitude
I bear this all in smiling silence

Because I’m sitting here shattered-hearted
Some take it as permission to get started
On a run of their own dearly departed
I bear this all in smiling silence

Tears flow and I hide feeling contrite
Are my tears only allowed in the night
Far away from everyone else’s sight?
I bear this all in smiling silence

I’m not asking to dwell in an abyss
But I’m consoling others – something’s amiss!
Much as I need to give a moment to this
I bear this all in smiling silence

===== <>  =====

I initially wrote the above as an angry, sobbing stream of consciousness in my journal within days of becoming a widow.  Even, now years later, I sat biting my lip resisting the urge to choke yet another person who says “I’m sorry for your loss”, “It’s all part of a greater plan”, “He needed him more” and other well-meaning but sickeningly trite counsel. Watching a new widow of barely a week graciously handle the condolences that come her way, I can’t help but be reminded of when I was in that exact position.

I can tell by the half-glazed look in her eyes she’s merely going through the motions expected of her and all I can do is watch.  One moment she calls me to her, as she feels that I am the only one in the room who really understands exactly what she is going through. The next moment, like the one in which I’m just watching from a distance, she pushes me away as I am a reminder of what exactly she is now – a widow.  The stages of denial and anger just beginning their ugly battling. I’m also hoping that she’ll see,  though she is far from being able to see and accept it right now, that she also will get through this and will eventually be okay.

I’m headed for home soon. I left a copy of the above poem for her.  Just a way of letting her know that this anger at everyone being nice, even if by route of traditional platitudes, is also normal.  I’ll happily pay it forward and help her through those clichéd, but so true, seven stages as I was lucky to have the guidance of those who also traveled this road. For as annoying as it is to hear in repetition, the only acceptable platitudes were/are “one day at a time” and “it does get better”.

Because eventually we all learn – one breath, one moment, one minute and yes, one day at a time, it does.

This Is My December…

And I’d give it all away,
Just to have somewhere to go to,
Give it all away,
To have someone to come home to

My December – Linkin Park

Oh, December in the Raivenne household was always a hoot.  The normally wannabe sophisticate, über-urban, gal-about-town, known and be-loathed all over, transforms into this insane “OhMyGAWDCanYouBeliveIt’sAlmostChristmas!” beast.  The weekend after Thanksgiving I (and begrudgingly the boys) would start dragging the decorations out and begin the annual tradition of transforming the abode into holiday splendor.

When we were living in an apartment, it was all confined to just the living room. However, once we had a HOUSE, oh good Lord!  I spared my family from decorating the bedrooms upstairs, but man did I didn’t vomit the holidays every where else! Each year, I moved the TV because the tree just HAD to be close to the window in order to be seen from the street.  The front porch and steps had their own garlands and lights. If you stood on the porch you could see all the little buildings and figures that graced the inside windowsill. The dining room had the Kwanza set. The kitchen and powder room would get holiday colored towels and mini decorations. Yeah, my family thought I lost my damned mind each and every year. And as curmudgeonly as all three males in the house would behave at the start of the process, at least the boys would catch some of my Christmasfluenza and get into the decorating spirit.

The hubby always stayed the Scrooge of the house; right down to his “Bah Humbug” black and white Santa hat, but deep down he enjoyed my shenanigans just as much.  One December I was depressed and refused to decorate. I think he thought if he waited me out I would pop into it, how could I not? When it was December 20th and no one iota of holiday décor was up, he got it. Mr. OhComeOnNotAllThisShitAgain? Was the one who got the boys and dragged decorations out that year. Yes, HUBBY went and got the decorations – that is how much he knew this was important to me and what a serious funk I was in to not be doing so. He was that desperate to do anything, even decorate for Christmas, to help me out of it.  The guys started to decorate the tree, but were doing such a horrible job of it the Virgo in me kicked in. Still, since my heart was not in it, which was the worst tree I have ever put up, to date.

I had not felt that bad again until the first Christmas after I became a widow. Still, I put up the holiday decorations that first year without him (or the boys, now men on their own, to help me) it was a lovely tree. Christmas 2007 was the last time I all out decorated and put up a tree. I moved in 2008 and all of my holiday stuff, including most of my spirit, is away in storage.  Something simple on my front door is about all I have been able to muster doing these past years for decorating.

I’m almost done with filling out this year’s Christmas cards (and man is my wrist tired!).  I am thinking about what to put on my door for this year, but that’s all. Still. It is only December 2nd and who knows? After a near three-year hiatus, maybe the Christmasfluenza bug will strike me again; I really do not know. Nevertheless, for right now, this very moment, the above verse from Linkin Park is my holiday song.

This is my December.

Life Goes On…

Some friends tell me I should post a blog;  I don’t know why.  My partial narcissist conflicts with my partial self-critic on this. I suppose I could have and probably should have chosen something more lighthearted for my first post.  I think you’ll understand why my head is where it is once you read it.  I just felt if I didn’t do this now it could be months before I would and sometimes you just have to dive in and see where the tide takes you…

I thank you for taking the leap of faith and riding with me.


March 1, 2006 -Day 1

“I’m sorry Mrs. …”

I really don’t remember the exact words in which it was broken to me; however, I do remember the doctor’s tone of voice. I remembered I just looked at him waiting for the rest of it, the punch line – something – anything. The manner in which I found out I just became a widow was delivered with about as much compassion as a market clerk informing me they were out of my favorite brand of canned goods.

But the doctor’s delivery of the words was the least of my problems as I suddenly understood why everyone who has ever been informed, hit, hell bitch-slapped with such news is usually asked to sit first. I wasn’t so lucky. “Can’t stand it” takes on a whole new dimension of meaning when you literally cannot stand. I felt the last breath of him being a living part of my life escape me as my back slid down a wall. And I remember hands – hands touching me, hands holding me, hands caressing me; hands unfamiliar and all too sanitary and just wrong. I just wanted them away from me and to see him, recall what was quickly becoming days of old, and feel what remaining warmth he had a little longer before all that I once knew was gone.

My first gallows humor: Bill loved his car and once told my older son he’d be allowed to drive it over his dead body. As this same son pulled off to drive us home from the hospital I found a need to remind him of the veracity of that statement. It was met with a grimace (a grim-look upon one’s f-ace, interesting how even that word also takes on new layers of meaning).

I mentioned somewhere else  how, through my now late-husband, I have learned how to shelve the things I can’t resolve at the given moment and concentrate on the things I can. Somewhere in the eternity between falling and rising (how apropos) I know this is where I started going on auto-pilot. The efficient, organized, take-charge aspect of my personality – took charge, even as my emotional aspect crumbled.

I had about an hour at home to absorb my new reality when the first of the telephone calls began. “I’m so sorry…” How many times can a person hear that in an hour? In two hours? More? Even now, it raises my hackles slightly to hear that from people who say it as automatically as the instinct to bless someone when they sneeze; and it’s almost always equally as heartfelt.

Once my best friend was by my side I simply let go and did the only thing I could do – go numb There are about two whole weeks of my life that are smoky vignettes of emotional moments. Some have since solidified more into concrete memory. I know others will remain forever from my grasp. With the patient guidance of those who have visited the grieving place before me, I understand that now. No, I still don’t really understand it – I just accept it for what it is.

March 1, 2007 Day 1 (of the rest of my life)

I’m now able to read through most my journal without wanting to cry. Although, oddly enough, I find I now have a little trouble reading When Winter Cradles Spring straight through; especially now with the crazy weather we’re having when changing seasons make no sense. I wrote that maybe a year before my husband’s passing, but I find I’m pretty much living those words each day right now. When all else fails the last stanza of a another poem I wrote  Each Day Anew becomes my mantra…

I know I have the strength to cope

I go as heart and soul say to

I sow my seeds of faith and hope

I grow and start each day anew

March 1, 2010 (life goes on…)

I still read Each Day Anew now and again to jump-start a bad day into something better.  My bad days are almost never about him any more.   In fact, except for an odd stretch of days last May when I could not excise thoughts of my late-husband from my mind and it started to freak me out, I’ve been pretty okay in that regard. I halfheartedly started dating a little over a year ago.  I’ll decide how much I want to delve into the details of that in a later posting.   I’ve had a certain India.Arie song stuck in my heart for a couple of months now. If you know her music you can easily figure out which song.  Let’s just say, I’ll be taking dating just a little more seriously and see how it goes…