Years have gone by. Days weeks months have gone by. At the very end of December 2017, my world shattered. My eldest son, Alan, died in Los Angeles, in a sudden septic shock situation following what he had taken to be a gastric upset. He had been in New York for Thanksgiving, and to help organize my surprise 80th birthday celebration with his siblings. Within a few days, I plunged from a state of heady happiness, surrounded by husband, children and grandchildren, to a terrible crash into a boundless, borderless, unchanging relationship with anguish. My son was gone, suddenly and irrevocably. The wound still gapes a year and a half later, but now I can contain it for some of the time, and weep alone at night when the reality of my huge loss sweeps over me. The wound will never heal. The pain will never go away.
But now it is time to reclaim whatever remnants of myself remain.
That is the challenge I see ahead as I prepare to welcome my first novel later this year.
Meanwhile, I post today in memory of my firstborn son, a poem written months ago from the depths of my pain.
In the deepest black of night I cry your name,
Tortured by memories of a past when you were small
And I could tell you where to be.
"Don't run" I cry, "Don't get there before me.
You were never supposed to get there first.
Come back. Please, Oh please come back. You'll get lost."
I listen, holding my breath, but no-one replies.
Pain swells out and wraps my soul in fire.
Those are such bitter tears I cry for you my son,
Wrenched from your life out of your turn.
I can know nothing of you now except this silence.
My firstborn son, where are you now?
Are you alone? Afraid? Lost in eternity?
So much love I had for you from the first faint flutter
I recognized as yours, long before you were born.
You made me a mother and my mother's heart
Cannot believe that you have ceased to be.
And yet I call your name
And strain to hear, but no-one answers me.
Pain leaks from my heart with every breath
As alone and lost in the dark
I try to understand your death.