Poem – Saying Goodbye

We are going to arrange Tamlorn‘s cremation tomorrow. I have been gathering the poems and sharings from other people, but finding myself wordless. It was very hard to find some way to say what I needed to. In the end, I wrote this poem. All will be burned to ashes with Tamlorn’s tiny body.

Whenever I try to find
A way to say goodbye
There’s no words in me
No poems or flowers that can speak for me
Just a scream rising up inside
If I let it loose, the sound would break the world. 

I don’t know how to say goodbye.
I can’t bear this.
I can’t bear to face you
And I can’t bear that life goes on without you
Everything is wreathed in pain. 

Are you there?
I don’t know if you are there.
I don’t know where you came from
I don’t know if there is any spirit left
After your heart wound down.
I can’t, with all my agony, pierce the veil
I can’t find absolution
I can’t find certainty
I can’t find hope. 

My abdomen has deflated like a soft balloon
My breasts sag gently onto my chest
My body remembers you, little one.
I loved you so very much and
I’m not sure that you knew that. 

There’s a pain in me that nothing stops.
There’s a terror in me that nothing eases.
I feel like running, screaming through the streets
Naked, tearing out my hair, like a madwoman
Screeching “We’re all dying! We’ve so little time!”
The end is coming for us all. 

I felt you once, so near, flesh of my flesh
Now I do not feel you at all.
I cannot hear anything over the harsh sound of my breath
Over the frantic beating of my heart
Life is brief and it is taken from us
I can’t find meaning in this. 

Who were we, I think, to love you so dearly?
Unknown, unmet, undeserving
When the world is full of loneliness and death
When so many children grow without love
My hypocrisy chokes me
I am ashamed. 

I wish I knew you and I’m glad I didn’t know you.
I think about babies dead at birth, or 3 months, or 2 years
Dead at 8, or 16, or 27 – it’s unbearable.
I keep dreaming my mother dies.
I keep dreaming of losing everyone.
And in the meantime, try not to tear my life apart
Cutting strings with my sharp pain
The brutal arithmetic of loss, the restlessness
The need to run, to make a mark, to change something
Here in this little life.
To make it mean something
That I lived, when you did not.
To atone. 

I loved you, and it was not enough.
I do not deserve life, as you did not deserve to die.
I can’t make it right.
I’m just here, wordless, choked
Terror, and loss, and love
Empty hands and heart screaming
This is what is left of love, little one
This silence that has a scream beneath it
These empty hands, this empty womb, my breast folded soft against my skin.
This is love seen at night, love on the cliff at the edge of the void and it’s unrecognisable
It’s sharp as knives and burns like poison and there’s no comforting me
It tears my dress and pulls out my hair and runs blood down the inside of my legs
This is love in the shadow of your loss, Tamlorn
It’s a mad and terrible thing
It’s a death, of a kind, a kind of despair
The keening howl of a wolf returning, who finds the den destroyed
There are no words here, no peace
This is love, my love
This is how mothers say goodbye. 

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