by Elouise

Elephant in the room cartoon

The elephant in the room.
What I don’t want to talk about.
Especially with people I love.

Mortality sounds better.
Not so stark and final.
Wiggle room between now and then.

Abstract and ‘normal’ or
Concrete and truly normal?
Which will it be?

Can we talk about death?
My death?
Your death?

The elephant in the room
roars relentlessly.
It has my reluctant attention.


Just over a week ago I felt heavy with discouragement. I wrote at length in my journal. The excerpts below get to the point of this post. The direction above seems to be the only way I can deal with my feeling of being stuck.

The grief and shock and even horror of what has happened is still creeping up on me. Like flashbacks—especially to the moment I fell and heard my chin hit the pavement. I keep wanting to turn time back—even though I know this is impossible and senseless.

I feel like a child who needs comfort, and permission to cry and be angry. Not all alone, but with someone who cares about me and won’t try to ‘fix’ me. Someone who won’t just keep reminding me of how grateful I should be that it wasn’t worse. Or that I have insurance. Or that it’s ‘good’ I’m retired. Or one of a thousand ways of blunting the trauma.

How do I move forward with healing when my heart is breaking? And my body keeps reminding me of how broken it still is?

No pills on earth could possibly help me now.

Yes, I’m healing. But there’s also this ‘invisible’ damage no doctor can possibly fix. Damage to my psyche, my spirit, my sense of identity, my plans for the immediate future—and a thousand other things that won’t or can’t happen now.

How do I address this healing?

It’s all about not ignoring the damage done. My age won’t let me do that. Only facing into my death will bring clarity about what may or may not happen between now and my death. Refocus my direction and energy. Move me out of feeling stuck, and into new life and hope.


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 3 June 2016
Cartoon found at