A poem by Daniela Caride
If the weight of your death
Had come crashing down on me
All at once
I would be dead
I’d have pulled my hairs out
Dug into my own chest
With my bare hands
With a single tear
Would that had been so bad?
Why can’t I go mad?
Why can’t I regret
All the pain I bear?
You are my family too
And oh I miss you
I hear you calling me
And you hear me
Sinister, huh? I’ve been grieving the death of my dog Geppetto for almost a year now, and in a moment of sadness I found this little book called “Permission to Mourn: A New Way to Do Grief” by Tom Zuba.
Tom knows the subject too well, unfortunately. As a young man he endured the death of his 18-month-old daughter, his wife and his son, and somehow he survived. Also, his book had almost 200 five-star reviews on Amazon.
So I bought it, and what a nice surprise I had! I was expecting a book full of lists for me to tackle or, worse, a mumbo jumbo of uplifting and inspiring messages.
What he wrote is actually a call-to-action poetry book. He found a very interesting tool in poetry — it allowed him to make important words and messages take the room they needed in each page and gave him freedom to repeat ad nauseam whatever thoughts he deemed worth of emphasis.
He did a terrific job with form. And in terms of content, he seems to give good advice too. At least his perspective sounded like something new that I could give a try.
I dive inward when I’m sad. I struggle with my darkness alone until I spit it all out in poetry. But when facing the loss of one of the creatures I loved the most, I became terrified of what feeling could do to me. Somewhere along that process I got stuck. I stopped writing as often, and sometimes I stopped writing altogether.
Among several things, Tom Zuba proposed to hang in there until you feel you can finally let yourself grieve. He also suggested to write a journal with whatever comes to mind.
That’s what I did last night. I let myself feel and think and write whatever. I cried a lot, rambled a lot, and that’s how I spit out “Calling”. In the end, a little piece of my darkness had left me, turned into words.
I also felt I grasped myself for a few moments. I don’t really know who exactly I am anymore. I feel I’m changed, forever. But thanks to Tom’s journal idea, I now feel curious and a bit excited about discovering myself just like when I buy a mysterious plant on sale at the end of the season.
The plant generally looks beat up and awful. No one wants that diseased piece of garbage. But I see potential and I like to imagine how that hopeless plant will look like in the spring.
I may see its picture on a tag. I may google the plant’s name for more images and plant guides. But no matter how much I read and research, I can never predict how the real plant will impact me when gloomy stems burst with buds under the warmth of the sun.
The thickness and softness of the foliage and petals, the speed it yanks itself out of the ground, the way the stems sway when a breeze hits, how invasive it is among neighboring plants. So much remains a question mark.
After burying the pitiful specter of a plant and preparing it for dormancy as best as I can, I wait. I go through an entire winter wondering if it will survive the cold and the drought and the storms. I hope I get to see it. I wait. And I like doing that. Yes. I can do that.
~~ Daniela Caride