O Mother, Where Art Thou?
15 years ago,
My safety net tangled.
How do you mend a heart that’s so mangled?
I still don’t know for sure,
though will I ever?
A lifelong journey-
completion date: never.
A girl of 11,
grappling with the idea of heaven.
a false sense of rejection.
Her death set me off kilter.
Gave my eyes a new filter.
Could no longer touch her;
could no longer feel her.
Her voice reduced to a soundbite.
Her life is pictures & memories
Just flashes of light.
This piece may be impolite,
but it’s the reality of my fight.
It’s not just black and white.
This challenge has opened my eyes,
made me wise,
made me realize…
I just want some understanding.
Words that are kind, not commanding.
A hug, true compassion.
Especially when I fall out of fashion.
I feel so alone.
Her numbers not in my phone.
There’s nothing online/for me to find/that’ll give me peace of mind.
Because she died in 0–1.
When life was still fun.
Before fear and terror won.
Did my grief cause the fall of those towers?
My emotions seem to hold so much power.
God Bless America, but what about me?
I’m not okay yet; can’t anyone see?
Not having a mom made me stand apart.Felt infinitely separate with this scar on my heart.
A hard-knock life; though charmed for sure. Others couldn’t understand my strife; I was normal no more.
My booboos stopped getting kissed.
An unfathomable loss to others, so it’s weight got dismissed.
But I still have my daddy.
And now I have Kathie.
They give me True Love.
& guide me to that which comes from above.
And I have my brother Liam at my side,
to light, to guide.
Her absence made us grow fonder. To appreciate one another, we didn’t needn’t wander.
For that I am thankful;
my familial bond.
Abbie, Adam, and the oldest John.
And of course, the love that they’ve spawned.
Rebecca, Christy, Kasha,
& Abbie’s future Don Juan.
And maybe, just maybe, there’s one for Siobhan.
I like to be positive.
It helps with my breathing.
But if I didn’t show the darkness.
I’d be lying; deceiving.
An emergency call,
while in line at the mall
caused the downfall
of a girl so small.
Thank God for my dad Paul. My white knight through this all.
Thought he was laughing;
both me and Liam.
But they were tears he was masking,
I’d just never seen em.
Family in town.
Sympathetic frowns abound by everyone around.
No wonder I hate the 4th of July.
No wonder I hate casseroles.
No wonder I hate apple pie.
The one who got to me was Daniel Marsh.
Awkward interactions made my nightmare extra harsh.
Over-socialized; stimulation galore.
Please no more.
Don’t get me wrong- I needed support.
I just felt I had to fill in their retort.
People don’t know what to say.
But how could they?
The were not having the same shitty day.
It was not their time to pay.
They’ll go home and play,
while in the dark I lay, trying to figure out a way to make her stay.
One day they’ll know, when the one they know they love “passes away.”
I still went to camp that year,
so I could ride a horse.
But distance, I learned, doesn’t throw destiny off course.
Thank God we walked into a beehive.
Got bucked and sent home
while mom was still alive.
Had a few stings-but the thing is- the ones from that day went away.
The fateful day,
I was at the pool
watching pennies sink.
I felt a pull-
my mom’s soul, I think.
I walked home- very uncharacteristic.
I walked alone.
I couldn’t miss it.
I needed to witness it.
Into the house, into her room.
Cringing at her moans.
They’d become commonplace, yet their unhinging doom kept me thrown.
IIRC, it was me, Cheryl, and my dad.
Also mommy’s social worker holding her hand.
“I don’t feel a pulse.”
This stranger’s bold utter of The End.
A surge of anger.
‘I met you… when?’
That’s not fair,
but right now, I’m laying it bare.
The real chiller
was the scream of anguish by Mrs. Miller.
A True Christian.
An angel who God sent here; fulfilling her mission.
Same goes to Miss Chris.
The one’s who got us through this.
May they live in bliss.
Kiss kiss kiss!
Tragedy breeds unity.
This I’ve seen irl and on tape.
But tragedy can also separate,
perhaps a working of fate.
When confronted with death,
when someone you love has left,
You’re forced to be morbid.
All tragedies get reported.
‘Cheer up!’ They’ve retorted.
‘At least you weren’t aborted’
your dad can afford it.’
‘Most aren’t so rich! Just look at your gifts!’
‘Your gift is your looks.’ ‘You can read & write books.’
‘When your mood starts to shift,
just quit being a bitch.’
But that’s not fair.
It’s not that simple.
I needed a formal education just to handle a pimple.
How often should I wash my hair?
Omg! There’s blood in my underwear!
‘Dad, I can’t go to swim team,
Cause I’m a woman now, so it seems.’
Though I don’t know my bra size.
‘Does plucking out all my brow hairs accentuate my eyes?’
Constantly had to swallow my pride.Thank my neighbor for the ride, but once inside I cried and cried because my mom had died.
I felt like a burden.
I was so sure of it then.
An anthropomorphized chore.
One who deserved to exist no more.
Retreated to bulimia /
to free me of /
my grief; /
a false belief /
yet it gave a bit of relief. /
Or at least an escape.
From those who were fake.
A savage route for me to take,
but you lie in the bed you make.
A cry for attention.
Embarrassing to mention.
Yet for understanding’s sake,
this sacrifice I make.
Something to do;
“Your eyes look so blue!”
…as gagging tends to make them do.
About as long as I knew her, Maire had cancer.
But I still played soccer; was a gymnast, a dancer.
I was kind of embarrassed of the depth of love that she gave.
I took it for granted.
Granted, I was a child then- now I’d obviously trade.
My dad found a journal.
She called me beautiful, lovely & opinionated.
I wish I knew more.
I’m above and beyondly frustrated.
‘If she were here,
who would I be?
Would I have done my homework?
Attended an Ivy League?’
I know she believed in me.
Saw what others didn’t see.
Beyond just the pretty.
But the true nitty-gritty.
Upon consideration, I like who I am.
I possess an uncanny ability to understand.
I want to appreciate what I have left.
Though I’m bereft, it wasn’t a total theft.
Most girls don’t get what I have with my father.
He nurtures me, when many men don’t even bother.
He listens while I cry,
even though it’s hard-cuz men are from mars.
And honors my divinity,
when I’m living amongst the stars.***
He’s a great role model.
Just like Cheryl Cottle.
Never has she forgotten me- she always remembers.
Putting smiles on my face all Februaries and Decembers.
And every other month- she proves she cares.
Providing evidence that my mom was really there.
Though its not biological,
more like emotional and logical,
Kathie has become a mother.
She’s been so good to me, my dad, and my brother.
I’m inspired by all she creates-
Tradition; crosses, ornaments, her collection of plates.
A woman of substance-
though my creator she wasn’t.
She sees me more than I realize.
She lets me take off my disguise.
An unloading of dead weight.
And Liam- my fellow bereaved child.
Letting me know it’s okay to be wild.
And read Oscar Wilde.
And that finding the right path can take a while.
But all his success and growth
Empowers us both.
A genius of the mind.
A gift of our family’s kind.
My barometer of coolness.
With whom I can be silly and foolish.
He is my brother. We share the same mother. He relates to just how much I love her.
I can’t expect this wound to ever fully heal.
But it’ll just get worse and worse if I never truly feel.
I lean on my support system to help me deal.
I trust the signs and synchronicities my mommy sends are real.
Lamb of God,
I want you to know me.
In my thoughts/ in my feelings/
and in my body
I can’t distinguish what’s you & what’s me
I ask for guidance to help me see.
For faith; to believe.
What’s the cadence of your voice? What do you think of my choice in boys?Would I still be allowed to smoke? Would you join me in a late-night toke?
Would you appreciate that half of what I say is a joke?
Would you be proud that I spiritually awoke?
I’m learning to give myself what I thought was taken.
I always have you; but sometimes I get mistaken.
Thanks for the challenge as I’ve learned so much from it,
though I wouldn’t mind life easing up just a bit.
I know it’s unrealistic to expect that.
But as you’ve shown me,
I can easily adapt.
Thank you for life Maire Bradshaw and I hope to honor your life with mine.
I love you,
Siobhan Kathleen Connolly
One of your final creations