Sitting across from me,

I watch your shoulders shake as you sobbed

Tears of resignation and despair.

I hugged your frail frame in the doorway

And watched you walk down the hall

On your way to hope and healing.


Lying next to you in bed,

I held you as you cried tears of shame and fear

Upon learning that your livelihood was gone.

I rubbed your head and neck

And whispered soothing words

As pain gave way to sleep and comfort.


Cuddled up next to you on the couch,

Your head rested on my lap.

As you mourned your children.

I squeezed you tightly into me,

As if that could make everything disappear

Like a band-aid on a gaping wound.


I slid down the wall and hit the floor

As I opened your email.

Wails of agony escaped my throat.

Racing to your house,

I prayed, bargained and shook like a leaf

Until I pulled up to your driveway.


I ran to your sister and embraced her sagging shoulders

While utterances of disbelief and grief

Broke through the piercing sobs.

Standing in your driveway that night,

The cold January wind was a welcomed distraction from the pain.


I was led into your home by a group in uniform,

As I looked around at what your life had been

Just an hour before.

Your shoes neatly placed by the deck door,

The pillows and blanket still sprawled out on your couch.


Pick up the pieces

Sweep them under the rug.

There’s plenty of room

Next to the other messes.


Don’t say I saved your life,

Then ask me to watch your death.

Realizing I was too late.


Pick up the pieces of my shattered life.

Glue them back together.

Pay no attention to the cracks and chips.

They only grow bigger each time,

Until cracks were all that I had left.


Leave the mess to me.

I always took care of it

Without a complaint.

I held your hand,

Certain I would never let it go.

Until, it was no longer my choice.


I opened the bathroom door,

With a pounding heart and soaked face.

My hands covered my mouth

As I caught my breath.

Staring at what was left.

You disappeared just as you had wanted.

The only trace left,

Scattered across the shower ceiling.

One perfect, tiny hole amidst the mess.

One large, jagged hole left in my soul.


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