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Here I Sit

By Deanna Parish

Here I sit

Living inside this shell of a life

Moving forward but getting nowhere

So tired that I don’t even care

Here I sit

Living inside this shell of a marriage

Talking but not sharing our mutual pain

Feelings too difficult to explain

Here I sit

Living inside this shell of a mother

Loving but yet afraid of the cost

Knowing the grief when a child is lost

Here I sit

Living inside this shell of a person

A body alive but not really living

Too little left to keep on giving

Here I sit

Living inside this shell of a home

Pretty but hiding the ugly ache

No amount of time will ever shake

Here I sit

Living inside this shell of a faith

Asking but afraid of His reply

To why my dreams have all run dry

Here I sit

Living inside my shells so frail

Trying to protect them to no avail

One small blow will do them in

And crush the woman sitting within

candlingday7a

I wrote this poem on November 15th, the day Eliana would have turned nine months old. I scribbled most of it on a piece of scratch paper at the library while my living children played with the puzzles and books. As I sat there surrounded by the other children, some about the age Eliana should be, I just started thinking about all the things I miss. Not big dramatic things, but the everyday, simple things that mean the most when it’s too late and you can never do them again. I miss my baby so much. I’d give anything just to hold 254448-r1-01-23-2her little body against my chest again. Moms and Dads, love your babies. Love them every single day enough to last a lifetime, yours or theirs. You just never know when you might not get another chance to hug them and tell them you love them. Do it now. There are so many regrets. Don’t let this be one of them.

Try

By Deanna Parish


My arms cry

Long to hold you

Long to try

Desperate to do

What they should do

Asking why

You had to die.


My hands cry

Reach to protect you

Reach to try

Desperate to do

What they should do

Asking why

You had to die.


My fingers cry

Weep to touch you

Weep to try

Desperate to do

What they should do

Asking why

You had to die.


My breasts cry

Ache to nurse you

Ache to try

Desperate to do

What they should do

Asking why

You had to die.


My lips cry

Want to kiss you

Want to try

Desperate to do

What they should do

Asking why

You had to die.


My eyes cry

Burn to see you

Burn to try

Desperate to do

What they should do

Asking why

You had to die.

My ears cry

Strain to hear you

Strain to try

Desperate to do

What they should do

Asking why

You had to die.

My heart cries

Screams to love you

Screams to try

Desperate to do

What it should do

Asking why

You had to die


My soul cries

Searches to find you

Searches and cries

Desperate for you

Lost without you

Asking why

You had to die

My God cries

As He holds you

As He tries

To tell me to do

What I should do

Trust in Him through all the whys

And cling to those who didn’t die

In the darkness

Unseen forces

Prepare once more

Run their courses

Swelling aimless

Nothing within

Cyclical flood

Unleashed again

Crimson river

Where dreams flow on

Silently pass

And then are gone

Tides of regret

Washing  away

Remaining scraps

Of hopes decayed

Aching empty

River runs dry

What never was

Is still goodbye

10/2/08-This poem was written by request for the facilitator of my poetry group. She asked me to write a poem about a daisy. I’m sure someday I will start writing about something other than Eliana, but for now, she is my inspiration. I live for my living children. I write for Eliana.

See Her

by Deanna Parish


The daisy dreams, lies swaddled in the Earth

‘Til spring demands she strain toward the light

Her petals open, whisper of her birth

While nature weeps in wonder at the sight

Sweet gentle breeze to lull her fast asleep

As golden haze of summer stretches on

Bright blossom dips and sways and seeks to keep

Her beauty pure and perfect ’til she’s wan

The chill begins to seep up from the ground

She droops and wilts as autumn days rush past

She lets go of this world without a sound

A flower’s life was never meant to last

But through the aching winter, dark and cold

To memories of the daisy I will hold

There is a poem I love by Ruth Whitman called My Daughter the Cypress. I wrote something that is an adaptation of it. I want to make it clear that I am giving her the credit for the poem, and that mine is a copycat. I’m not trying to violate a copyright. As such, I’d like to request that you do not post my poem anywhere else until I look into it further and try to get permission from whoever it is I need to get permission from. The author is deceased, so it may take awhile.

Here is the original poem:

My Daugther the Cypress

Ruth Whitman (1922-1999)

Sleep, little daughter, I’ll plant you a tree

Even as grandmother planted for me,

One tiny sapling more for the hill

Where two little cousins are flourishing still.

Sleep. Sleep, dream of the sea,

Your cradle’s a caïque, your tree, your tree

Will be a mast to take you from me

Grown for the boy who fells you free.

Sleep, sleep, the tree is yet small,

An infant tree, not three years tall,

It mocks its sisters, flutters its boughs,

Hush, hush, it rains, it snows,

Summer suns lengthen your hair,

You grow tall, you move with care,

And from the sea bright blue and white,

A sailor whistles in the night.

But sleep, sleep, not yet, not yet –

The hull is carved, the mast is set

Sleep one more night in Arcady,

My little girl, my cypress tree.

My Daugther the Cypress

by Ruth Whitman (1922-1999)

adaptation by Deanna Parish

Sleep, little daughter, I’ll plant you a tree

A tribute to you, a reminder for me,

Your stake in the world, here on the hill

Where your two big sisters are flourishing still.

Sleep, sleep, dream of the sea,

Your cradle’s a caïque, your tree, your tree

Will be a mast to take you from me

When the hand of death comes to fell you free.

Wait, wait, the tree is so small,

An infant tree, not three months tall,

But the winter has come, freezing the boughs,

The leaves are falling, it snows, it snows,

Summer suns you’ll never see,

I yearn for what can never be,

For from the sea bright blue and white,

Death whispers to you in the night.

But wait, wait, not yet, not yet –

The hull is carved, the mast is set –

Sleep one more night here next to me,

My little girl, my cypress tree.

Interestingly enough, I looked up the symbolism of this tree, and it turns out it represents bodily death and spiritual immortality, and is a tree of mourning. So I guess it is even more appropriate than I thought.

I wrote this 3 1/2 months after Eliana died. I realize that I’m probably depressing the heck out of everyone who reads this, but hey, it is a journey of grief, right? Anyway, I guess writing is my way of letting out all of these horrible, dark, depressing feelings. Doing so relieves the pressure a bit, otherwise it just leaks out or explodes at other times. Better let it out in my writing than in my life. Thanks for bearing with me.

This started out as a poem, but I like it better as song lyrics, so I changed it around a bit. This is my first completed song. Now if I could just find someone who writes great music….

What’s Left

by Deanna Parish

I prayed at your bedside

and wept myself dry.

Now I’m left here grieving

and wondering why.

If God’s in control,

then why did you die?

A reason for everything

just feels like a lie.

So what now? What’s left?

Just a shadow of myself

and the agony of your death.

What now? What’s left?

A lifetime of pain spent waiting

to take my final breath.

Now I spend my days

just wanting you here

and I spend my nights

with your ghost and my tears.

I hate my new self;

full of sorrow and tears.

I hate my new life;

because nothing is clear.

So what now? What’s left?

Just a shadow of myself

and the agony of your death.

What now? What’s left?

A lifetime of pain spent waiting

to take my final breath.

I’m tired of feeling

like there’s no end in sight

of the absence of joy

and the absence of light.

I’m tired of knowing

this will never be made right.

I’m tired of the aching

and I’m tired of the fight.

So what now? What’s left?

Just a shadow of myself

and the agony of your death.

What now? What’s left?

A lifetime of pain spent waiting

to take my final breath.

You’re gone,

so what’s left?

This poem was written three and a half months after losing Eliana. I wrote it not only for me, but for all my friends who are grieving their losses, whether it be dreams, or illusions, or children. I am so sorry for our pain. I wish things were different.

Dreams

by Deanna Parish

My yearbook tells the story

of the dreams that we all dreamed

of dating and true love and weddings

and happiness that seemed

to be just around the corner

just waiting for us to find.

We knew it would take effort

but it would be worth it. We didn’t mind.

We all moved on. We settled down

with our men and with our babies.

As teenagers how could we have known

that as adults we’d realize maybe

we should have been more realistic.

We should have seen the light.

Sometimes dreams just don’t come true

no matter how hard you fight

because men still cheat and money runs out

and babies sometimes die

and no matter how long and hard we question it

we will never understand why.

We’re left to grieve and hurt and cry

and just try to muddle along

wondering how the story in my yearbook

could have turned out to be so wrong.

(Note: The questions have already started, so I need to specify that I am not referring to my husband cheating. It has, however, happened to people I love. The pain and grief they feel is no less real or horrible than my own. This poem is a lament for all of our dreams that have died, regardless of their nature.)

I wrote this poem about three months after Eliana’s death. It’s about the day they told us she had tracheal and bronchial stenosis, and the only chance she had was to do reconstructive surgery. The chances were not great that the surgery would work, but without it she was certain to die from the stenosis at some point fairly soon. They told us to pray and to just love her. I prefer reality to sugar-coating, but it was a terrifying thing to hear them say. I guess I figured that if they were telling us to trust in God, rather than to trust in the doctors, then it must be really, really bad. And it certainly turned out to be. I wish my faith in either God or the doctors could have saved her. But at least I listened to their advice about loving her. I held her every moment I could. I just wish now, knowing how it ended, that I had put off the surgery a little bit longer. I wish I’d have had even more time to love her and hold her. (D-Day means Diagnosis Day)

D-Day

The word

Ricochets

Around and around

Covering

Hiding

Every other sound

Abhorrent

Lethal diagnosis

Scared

To breathe

Eardrums pound and pound

No comfort

Only fears

Start to surround

I loathe the word

Stenosis

I wrote this about 2 months after Eliana’s death. When you lose a child, everything of theirs becomes sacred to you. This bear is my most precious possession out of her things, because it holds part of her.

What Remains

I can imagine the thoughts, the whispers, the looks

But I can’t bring myself to care

That I make people cringe when I tell them about

The blood on your teddy bear.

It ripped holes in my heart and tore at my soul

To see you lying there

And watch what you went through to leave

The blood on your teddy bear.

But that was nothing compared to the stab

When they said they could not repair

The problem causing you to shed

The blood on your teddy bear.

Part of me died when I walked out the door

With only a snippet of hair,

Some photos, some clothes, a blanket, a book,

And the blood on your teddy bear.

I had to come home to an empty house.

Now I wander around in despair

For the closest I can get to you

Is the blood on your teddy bear.

I close my eyes and in my dreams

I search for you everywhere

But the only part of you left for me to find

Is the blood on your teddy bear.

I write and cry and moan and scream

That life just isn’t fair

Because you are gone and all that remains

Is the blood on your teddy bear.

So people can laugh or recoil or whatever they wish

But I want them to be aware

That I’ll continue to cling to my memories of you

And the blood on your teddy bear.

I can’t let it go, for to give it up

Would be more than I could bear

Because all I have left to hold in my arms

Is a blood-stained teddy bear.

written by Deanna Parish

in memory of my precious Eliana

I wrote this poem in the few days between Eliana’s death and her funeral. One of my best friends read it at her service.

She’s Gone

My God, wake me up

I can’t take any more

Why don’t You answer?

I pound at Your door

I prayed and I pleaded

I begged You and cried

Why did You let

My baby girl die?

I don’t want to live

I don’t want to eat

I don’t want to breathe

I just want to sleep

Then I want to wake up

And see that she’s here

I want to wake up

Without any tears

I just want to hold her

And smell her sweet head

I open my eyes

Oh, God, she’s still dead

This nightmare won’t end

It just keeps going on

How can I live

With my baby gone?

My soul has been crushed

My heart broken in two

My mind is in shambles

I don’t know what to do

I cry, then I stop

Then I start yet again

I mourn and I grieve

For what should have been

Faith does not stop

The ache that’s inside

That started the day

That my angel died

It’s so hard to believe

In Your goodness and grace

When I can’t hear Your voice

And I can’t see Your face

I can only cling to the hope

That maybe someday

It won’t hurt as bad

As it hurts today

written by Deanna Parish

in loving memory of Eliana Parish

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