Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Grief

Disorder claims the winning hand

With breathless speed life takes us away
And back again to this grieving space
Where time stands still but not quite
Unfolding our own demise and deaths
One wrenching sorrow after another
Seen through the mirror of our likenesses

I thought being oldest was dangerous
When it came to death and dying
Surely I would go first followed in orderly
Succession of eldest to youngest with
Time to laugh and cry and grieve together
Built into the inevitable equation of aging

Yet disorder claims the winning hand
Changing landscapes forever through death
Or in life made more challenging through
Unforeseen clashing of genes and unexpected
Gifts of generations and the heaviness of being
Afflicted with maladies we never expected to visit

On Christmas Eve my youngest sister had a health emergency that will likely change her life, not for the better. I feel as helpless now as I did when Diane (#3) called in the late 1990s to tell us she had ALS.

As a writer, I’ve asked myself this question over and over: What is mine (and not mine) to write about?

I came up with several beginning ideas, including the theme of the poem above. That is, how strange it is to be the oldest, watching any of my younger sisters going through life-threatening health crises. In this case, Diane, who died of ALS in 2006, and now Sister #4 facing unexpected health challenges.

Thanks for visiting today. I’m slowly getting back to blogging regularly. Blessings to each of you and your families with whatever you’re facing today. Especially if it’s something about which you can do nothing but be present, supportive, and aware of what’s going on inside you.


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 3 January 2020
Family photo taken in 1961, Savannah, Georgia

The high cost of loving

Just when I think
I’ve memorized
Every line in your face
Death rewrites it

My heart stops beating
Memory fails
A lump in its throat

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 31 August 2017
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Memorize

Grief | #5

Grief wave
Waves of grief on a gorgeous spring day. Unannounced, unexpected, healing and welcome.

Washes my face
With tears of sorrow

It started about 9am this morning. My heart Read the rest of this entry »

dark cold earth mound

Weeping beech in winter

cold dark earth mound

blankets newly dug grave

beech branches weep

* * *


interrupted Read the rest of this entry »

Ritual of Remembrance

~ ~ ~ King’s College Choir, Cambridge, U.K.

It’s Christmas Eve, 1998.  I’m sitting in a chair in our living room, facing our stereo speakers.  Tears stream down my face.  I’m listening to the annual live broadcast Read the rest of this entry »

Can we talk? – Part 2 | Dear Diane

Diane’s opening lines in Part 1 are loaded:  “I am dying.   Sooner rather than later.”  Her entire piece is available here.  The following letter is my response to her.

Dear Diane,
Your question and opening lines get right to the point.

I’ve been thinking about our family of origin and your immediate family.  From my perspective, they’re light-years apart when it comes to talking in general.

For example, I can’t imagine us as children sitting around the kitchen or dinner table, chomping down food, elbows on the table, Read the rest of this entry »

Can we talk? – Part 1 | Dear Diane

Houston, March 1999.  A small family gathering in memory of Mother’s death in February.  Several next-generation cousins are there.  We watch a video of the memorial service for Mother.  Death is in the air and on my mind.  Not simply Mother’s death, but Diane’s and mine.  Did Diane’s ALS break Mother’s heart? Read the rest of this entry »

Wait for me, PLEASE! | Dear Diane

Houston airport, June 1998.  It’s hot, dry, breezy.  I’m exhausted after little sleep the night before, and an early morning rise to make my 7:30am flight.  Diane’s daughter picks me up at the airport.  We finally arrive at Diane’s house.   As always, my heart is pounding Read the rest of this entry »

Hide & Seek: The game of life | Dear Diane

Houston, 1998.  Diane is slipping away from her ‘normal’ non-ALS earthly life.  Here’s some of what I experience when I visit in January and April. Read the rest of this entry »

Maintaining my space | Dear Diane

It’s 1998, only two years after Diane’s ALS diagnosis.  She makes a tough decision and chooses not to communicate it until after the fact.   Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: