The minute I heard He called you home,
my arms hung like a wall clock at 5.35,
every appendage saluting the floor
while disconsolate eyes spat bitterness
from the flooded alcoves of my soul.
I wish you were still here.
Your passing fractured blistered air,
redirecting draughts to the passageway
of a tortured torso inducing
pressure that made cavity walls puff.
Your ill-timed exit crumpled my lungs.
If only you were not stolen.
Gasping for memories would be
the distant cousin our family forgot.
Assumpta Ozua 2015
The thing about life and the loss of a loved one is that it’s a little like climbing a precipice. No matter how prepared you may be – death is an inevitability so one should anticipate it but wilful blindness and head-in-sand burying notwithstanding, – you are often never, or rather rarely, fully equipped to cope with the fall.
Because that’s what it feels like… a fall. At least to me anyway.
It’s as though you are climbing the cliff of life one minute, calloused hands and scraped knees delaying but not dissuading you from going on. That is until debris temporarily blinds you and / or you rest your foot on a loose rock, slip and slide back several metres, freefalling, awaiting the harness (better known as family and friends) to catch you.
It’s a feeling you never really get used to and the recovery time varies.
For those without a harness (family, friends or professional help), recovery must feel like a game of Russian roulette; you may survive or the grief could end you too? All of this to say I really miss my cousin. It’s been over two and a half years but I sporadically still feel like I’m falling.
Today was one of those days but I have the best safety nets I could ever hope for. If you have ever felt the pain of losing someone close to you, I hope you also have adequate support during the tough times.
I wrote the poem above for my cousin after the 1st anniversary of his passing. I entered it into a competition and as a result it’s now published in an anthology. It never ceases to amaze me what beautiful catharsis can be born out of seemingly unending pain.