Posts Tagged ‘funeral’

Stereotactic

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These machines would be softer
had their creators been women.

There would be less smashing,
for starters. Less smashing
and gentler needles.

In the waiting room you fidget
through piles of last year’s  glossy models
and wonder if this blonde ever dangled a breast
through a glory hole in an elevated table
like a Toyota awaiting tire rotation.

Yesterday on the phone, your doctor
avoided all words beginning with C
and instructed you, belatedly,
not to worry.

But the second that fuzzy-lipped nurse
pinned you in place with a well-practiced
look of pity, the moment she plied you
with poorly-written brochures
about procedures and tissue samples,
you bypassed worry and shortcut
straight to funeral planning.

The nurse’s voice, tuned to a level
statistically proven to be soothing,
turned to static before she even
got to the part about how calcifications
are “usually” benign.

In your head, you’re already malignant.
You’re already bisected and breastless.
You’re already ash.

It’s like that pre-dawn phone call
months ago warning of tsunami.
And though they swiftly chased it
with platitudes about low probabilities,
and the tide could barely be bothered
to rise half a foot, you had already seen how the wave
would hulk down on all those complacent roofs,
turning your haven into so much flotsam
polluting the slipstream.

Panicked and pajama-clad, you stuffed
the trunk with non-essential photo albums
and the long white box in which your
long white wedding dress lay entombed.
You scooped up your favorite boots and
tossed in a notebook of poems and drove
up the hill to the safe zone while your neighbors slept on
and woke calmly to their coffee mugs,
immune to overreaction.

Now you sit bared to the waist
in a sickly pink room and memorize
the letters you must write to your tiny daughter
about how she shouldn’t try to be popular
in high school, because it’s the nerds
who always turn out better in the end.

When they open the door smiling
with gauze and hollow needles
you begin to understand just how far
your body will go to betray you.

 

-Lo, who got the negative result today. And I mean “negative” in the most positively benign way possible. Happy ending and all that.

Passage

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Mood: Un-birthday | Drinking: Warm Dr. Pepper

casket

Today, my birthday, was also my grandmother’s funeral.

I was asked to do a reading during the service, and I read two poems, one that I wrote last Tuesday, the day after she died, and one that my writin’ group friends, Melissa & Kathy recommended. I’d like to share them both with you…

The End

I hear the sirens
from the end of the driveway
winding up Meheula
riding to the rescue.

It has already been three minutes,
three minutes and a lifetime.

On the floor inside the house
daughter cradles unseeing mother
rocking,
waiting.

The end comes
sooner than you want it to
and no matter how much you prepare
you’re never really ready.

Today in the dappled green park
birds flocked
to wheelchair and stroller
as side by side,
grandson and great
grandmother
flung crumbs to waiting beaks
and flirted.

Her last day was lived in the sun
lit up with laughter,
encircled by love
high above aquamarine waves.

It has been four minutes,
four minutes and 85 years.
The sirens spin closer now.
There’s no more time
to say goodbye.

***

Remember
by Christina Rosetti

Remember me when I am gone away,
gone far away into the silent land;
when you can no more hold me by the hand,
nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
you tell me of our future that you plann’d:
Only remember me; you understand
it will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
and afterwards remember, do not grieve:
for if the darkness and corruption leave
a vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
better by far you should forget and smile
than that you should remember and be sad.

-Lo, in remembrance of Mary Ellen.

Mine Are Real!

Monday, December 13th, 2004

Mood: Candied-out
Drinking: Water

We attended a memorial service for Dennis on Friday. It was sweet and sad and bizarre, all at once. Never been to a memorial service in a dog park before. I think the worst part was seeing Dennis’ dog, Nika, who was very depressed and in a week’s time had already lost a lot of weight. She’ll never have another guy like Dennis.

Neither will we.

In the midst of all the mourning, there have been holiday things to do. My parents are coming to California for Christmas, so Boy and I are all a-flutter trying to get the place ready for parental inspection. Not that they’ll white-glove it or anything. But still. There is a list, and things must be checked off! (Slightly obsessed with the list-checking, that’s me.)

The Christmas tree itself has been crossed off the list rather triumphantly. It’s all green and woodsy-smelling and fabulous-looking. And it looks perfect as seen through the window from the street. (I am so loving the new house, have I said that yet?)

When I was growing up back in Illinois, we always had a fake tree. I’m not sure if it was about tree conservation or reluctance to spend money on the real thing or what, but every year, our Christmas tree came out of a dusty box that had been hibernating in the attic all year long.

For some reason, it became the Witmer family tradition for my Dad and I to put the thing together. In the early years, that wasn’t so hard. All the branches were color-coded and I could just hand them to Dad–first the blue, then the green, then the yellow and finally red. But then the paint got all scraped off and from then on it was a guessing game. We could have made a hilarious-looking inverted tree if we wanted to.

The housecats (who had better manners than the barncats) would always make little nests for themselves among the lower branches. And some of them–the dumber ones–would eat long silver strings of tinsel off the tree. A day or so later, they’d be running around the house with Tinsel Butt. (Which is really funny and very disgusting all at the same time.)

Other Witmer family traditions: Dad did the lights, then the girls (me and Jo) would decorate with various handmade and sometimes hideous ornaments, as far up as we could reach. Mom would always top the tree with the angel at the very end. Oh, and there were real candy canes that were hung on the tree, but they never lasted long, since my Dad and I are peppermint fiends. There was the Christmas Card Door, also. Every single card and picture we received was carefully scotch taped on the living room door (which led out to the front porch and piles of snowdrifts, so it was always closed off with plastic and duct tape during the winter.)

During the years when there was snow, Mom would make snow ice cream from the tallest, freshest snowdrift. Once I learned in science class that snow particles formed around dirt, the concept of snow ice cream became instantly less delicious, but still. It’s hard to resist fluffy, cold piles of sugar.

Boy and I have made an effort to establish our own Christmas traditions since we’ve moved out to the coast. For the past 4 years, we’ve spent Christmas Day alone, just the two of us, (and last year, LeeLoo, too). We open presents in the morning and then drive down the coast until we find the perfect abandoned beach. We do some beachcombing and ocean-gazing and just generally meander about. It’s the most peaceful kind of Christmas I’ve known.

There were a whole lotta years in there where I hated/dreaded/tried to ignore the whole depressing holiday rigamarole. But now that we’ve found ways to make it our own, it’s not so bad. Especially when you can watch your pup tear the wrapping paper off a stuffed penguin while it sings an obnoxious, tinny, christmas carol. When the Ler is around, it doesn’t take much to entertain me.

-Lo, who never once played the virgin Mary in any of those Sunday School pageants.