For Mathew: A poem

This is a difficult one, this post.

I wrote previously about doing ‘work’ on one’s life – the kind of emotional work that moves people to create huge change in their lives, if it’s needed.  That kind of work that feels a little scary but has all the potential for more possibility than one can imagine…because it’s unknown.

Part of my work is to be more vulnerable – aka; more exposed…and I don’t mean naked because I tried doing that a lot in my early 20’s (my right boob still has a tendency to pop out at the worst/best times) and here I am still trying to learn how to be vulnerable.

When I was at home recently in Australia I felt an inclination to write about life with my family more than I had before.  I had talked about it a lot – but this time I was inspired to write.

Almost 24 years ago, my youngest brother passed away in our house from SIDS.  Suddenly and tragically as if God chose our house to give a soccer punch to.  Our family never really recovered and no one really talks about it, at least not in a way that doesn’t feel like it’s a huge secret anyway.  There is always a shroud of protection around the subject.

I visit his grave every time I go home.  It re-calibrates me.  My visit usually starts with tears, even before I find his grave and then it feels melodramatic from there.  I curse, I howl, I look for answers.  Except, this time was different.  There were tears, but they felt more like they came from a deep sense of gratitude not sadness anymore.

So, I wrote a poem.  My first one.  This is why this is scary.

My life coach has urged me to publish this – put it out there.  Be vulnerable.

It’s a little exposing, and I already have this urge to apologize for it not being so prolific or brilliant – or whatever…….WHAT . EVER!

This is for Mathew but really, it’s for my family who I have, for so many years, kept a space between their world and mine but who recently taught me that’s it’s not the person who fills it; It’s their love.


For Mathew

A tear on your grave
my life, for yours
but you live in my memory
and It’s not you anymore,
It’s what I want from you.


The comfort of your spirit,
means you are near.
That knowing
breathes me.


So young.  A fresh life,
lived out in a small
window of time.
You were an older soul
than the body you lived in.


And when you arrived,
you had already seen a thousand suns.


You landed in our arms and we loved you,
like the fresh hope of a new season.


Our own new season.


And then came the next one –
Without You.


The wind swept through; A house filled
with empty hearts

Hearts that had burst at the seams
from love………and sadness.


Weighed down with loss.
The rains came and it felt like the world mourned you.
It was a loss that had no point of reference.


A loss that had no business being in our home.


In your place we put
retreat, silence ~ a hum.
the hum of rolling tears.
Tears without words, tears with
No destination.
Tears, whose only direction,
was down.


And then we closed our eyes,
took a deep breath and kept on living.
Our family,
with it’s blacked out spirit.
Eyes closed, following our tears.


We lived without you in our
I carried you to bed
every night,
Your precious little face, next to mine,
in the tears I shed for you.


And as each new season passed, we each secretly
reached for your little hand to hold
but only an empty space.


We walked our separate roads
Looking for something to put
in place of you.
It couldn’t be each other,
we didn’t know how.


In each other’s eyes, we could only see what we had lost.


Now, we inch back together.
A longer conversation
A bigger laugh
Our hearts smile a little more.


We color to the edge of the lines.


I sit by your grave today,
I have shed a tear and the sun,
the bright warm sun has dried it.
A dried, salty watermark of my love.


It says ‘God’s gift returned’
on your stone.
You were truly a gift to us,
and your passing; a question.


Our family died with you
and in its place; new ones
New love.


The kind of love that knows
there are spaces to fill.
The kind of love that takes a long,
deep breath before loving.


Love that fills a house, a house  with many rooms.
Some blacked out and some bright
with possibility.
Which is where we live now.


A tear on your grave,
a salty watermark of my love,
my remembrance of the little gift
God placed in our hearts.
Now returned.


3 thoughts on “For Mathew: A poem

  1. This is achingly beautiful. I hope that you are encouraged by this to write more poetry. You have a true talent for it. I look forward to reading more! (i’m putting in an advance order for your first chapbook!)

  2. Lovely, lovely, lovely. As you know, this touched a special place in my heart … the grief is still raw from losing my brother-in-law. Many thanks for sharing this wonderful expression of love, sadness, hope… lovely

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