5 Stages of Grief

1 – Denial
I rush to your room,
a small iced tea from Dunkin’ in my hand,
lemon 2 sugars

I see your face and the world is still,
the screams in my head the
only thing I could hear

“She’s gone”
and whispered “sorry”s from
nurses who don’t even look at us
“The social worker should be here soon,
she died 5 minutes ago
we’re still filling out the
paperwork”

You lie in
that bed in
a room
overlooking
the water and
it almost feels like a vacation,
though your face shows
no color

You lie there and
my tears are falling
like each of my eyes
a broken faucet,
filling the sink of
This Can’t Be Happening
until we reach the point of
This Is Not Happening

This can’t be happening

We go home and
the air around me is
imperfectly still,
completing the scene I created in my head.
You’re coming home soon
I’m going to see you again
Repeat
Repeat

I search for your voice
every time my phone rings,
I won’t eat pickles
except on cheeseburgers
because I’m waiting for you
to share them with

I walk into your house and I can almost see you

Sitting

Asking me what I want for dinner
and why I haven’t done anything with
those papers on the table
Almost

2 – Anger

Why did you leave me
You didn’t have to leave me
Not yet
It wasn’t supposed to happen yet
You didn’t even tell me
I need another day
just 5 fucking minutes and
I could’ve seen you.
Am I not even important to you?
Do I not matter?
How can you leave me here like this?

3 – Bargaining

Maybe I could’ve given you another day.
Maybe if I missed that concert the night before,
maybe if I sat by you all night and
didn’t let go of your hand
maybe you would still be here
maybe I could’ve helped your lungs
to keep breathing,
your heart to keep beating
I should’ve been there to save you

I’m sorry

4 – Depression

I know this is my fault

But I don’t know how to live like this
I don’t want to live like this

My heart is empty and
there’s no one to fill this space and
I don’t want anyone to fill this space
it’s not theirs
it’s not even mine
it’s yours

I see you in everything and
how can I get out of bed
knowing you won’t be there to
catch me when
I start crumbling

I am crumbling

I can’t stop crumbling

I don’t even want to live anymore

5 – Acceptance

One year later,

my heart still feels empty sometimes,

maybe most of the time,

but other times…

Other times,
I know I have enough of you to
fill the empty spaces to the ceilings with
photo albums and
home videos and
everything I learned from the
greatest teacher out there
(but nothing involving math homework
because that was never your specialty).

I don’t know where you are or
what you’re doing and
I could spend years trying to
figure out if there is a heaven,

but right now…

right now,
I am trying to fill that
emptiness in my chest with

everything you would be proud of.

I Need You

I can hear your heartbeat across the miles that separate
your hospital room from my classroom. It’s straining under
the weight of years of life. I am sitting here
thinking back to every time I’ve cried in your living room,
every time I hid in your bathroom to get a second
alone, every time I ran around the kitchen table
or played basketball in your driveway. I sit here with water
swelling my eyes thinking that it might be over soon. I’m
not ready for this to be over. I’m not ready to
let go of your voice when you complain about the three
papers on the table that must be cleaned because the house
is a wreck. I am not ready to walk through the door and
not get bombarded with questions and accusations
about what I must have been doing while I was away.
I sit here crying. I cry and I just want to run to
your house because it’s the only way I know how to keep
my heart in my chest and my brain standing still. You are my
safe place, my playground, my sunrise. You are my smile after
a week of struggling. But you grasp your chest and gasp for air
and the clouds I created to block the future from my
view are lifted a little more.
I don’t want to see this.
I don’t want to lose you.
I can’t let you go yet.
I can’t loosen my grip.

I’m Not Sorry Anymore

She remains, muttering the same two words
Bruises cover her delicate framework
Blood stained, on her scraped knees looking upward
How did she fall for his every small quirk?

Now she spends her useless time dressing wounds
Thinking back to the times before her love hurt
Her tears form lakes, depression all around
His hands always return to squeeze her heart

Electricity fills her crippled bones
Tension rises with the shake of her hands
She pleads, he screams without a change of tone
The air escapes her lungs with his commands

Her courage heightens for a mere moment
Left her life behind with one last movement

Generation Gap

They look down at me spitting words like
lazy,
dependent,
internet-crazed,
I wasn’t like that when I was a kid,
adding to
boulders already on my
shoulders.
This is
not
my
fault.

I am from the generation of hand shaking nausea and beds that haven’t seen sleep in years.

The generation of counting a piece of gum as a meal and
ripping open our wrists in hopes of feeling
better or feeling
something or
nothing or
maybe we’re just really good at
destroying ourselves.

The generation of quiet
tears at 3AM, holding our breath and
sinking our teeth into our blankets
terrified of waking our alcoholic father or abused mother.

The generation of helpless children
clawing at locked doors. We didn’t ask to be put in this
goddamn room and half of us are
stuck wishing our parents had a better understanding of
birth control. Maybe then everyone’s
lives would be easier.

The generation so painfully aware of the
mistakes of our ancestors, this mess
hanging above our heads like the
chandeliers we only see in movies.

The generation of struggling to remain breathing.

Of brightly colored hair and
stretched earlobes and
“how do you expect to get a job looking like that?”

Of falling short of expectations,
but when we were playing with dirt and rocks in the backyard,
we never would have expected to grow into
this.

The generation of desire.
Of wanting.
Needing.
More than what we have in front of us. Maybe that makes us
greedy but we are
not satisfied jumping from therapist to therapist,
staring at bookshelves of journals at midnight when
no one is willing to listen.

The generation of loneliness.

I am from the generation of trying.

We are trying.

I am trying.

A Loose Definition of Okay

Tears stream down my face and you look
at me like you’re watching a lion that
escaped from the zoo, waiting for me to
attack. I’m not attacking, but you back
away slowly as I fall to the floor.
“Don’t worry,”
I say forcing a smile to appear on my face.
“I’m okay.”
But you roll your eyes, shake your head, and take another step back.
The tears won’t stop and you keep walking
backwards, step after step. I’m sorry.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
I’m sorry you’re here to see this.
I’m sorry I can’t hide this.
I’m sorry I want to run away and never come back.
I’m sorry I thought I could make it through a train ride without crying.
I’m sorry I didn’t stay home by myself.
I’m sorry I ruin everything.
I’m sorry I’m ruining us.
I’m sorry I’m still here.
I’m sorry I’m still
alive.

You’re a million miles away now and I’m still stuck.
Sinking.
Into the ground where I’ve been standing.
Sinking.
I’m not stopping.
Sinking.
Drowning.
My head beneath the water.
Barely breathing.
Losing.
Losing myself in the knots tangling my thoughts.
Losing the smile I used to fake to keep them from questioning, to keep myself from crying.
Losing you.
Losing
me.
Suffocating.

I’ve reached the bottom of the ocean, but I can
still see you getting better.
I want you to get better.
I need you to get better.
Please get better.
Please don’t forget about me.
Because, truth is, I’m not okay.
I’m not okay. I’m not okay. I’m not okay.
I’m not fucking okay.
I just took my first step out of the house I built when I was 5 called
denial. Now I can see the
cuts on my hips that keep getting deeper.
I can see the weight I’ve lost since the last time I ate a real meal.
I can see.
Everything.
I’m not fucking okay.
I need help.
I need someone.
I need someone to stay.
I need
you.

Please come back.

Cold Tiles

And her heart swelled and
blocked the air from
escaping her lungs. Her hands
trembled and her head
throbbed.
She remained glued to the
bathroom floor, not able to gather enough
strength to scream.
Every organ in her body
tightened and every muscle
contracted as her
blood streamed from her wrists and hips.
She closed her eyes.
I guess this is the way it had to be.