| General Poetry
posted April 15, 2016
loss of a loved one
A chapter in the book Euthanasia Betty: An Anthology
Euthanasia Betty- EDITED
"Oh dear, I have so many problems since my Harry's passed away,"
you despaired during each of our visits,
your tiny face crinkled like a floundering paper puppet left inert after a play.
"I'm so lonely in this inexplicable world
that has left me alone, passed me by!"
"Computers speak in silent foreign languages!"
You smiled wistfully
eyes closed, exhaling a cigarette cloud
and reminisced on hand-written
letters scented with lilacs,
wondering why such gestures were now
seen as stodgy or unnecessary--
an albatross clogging our system.
"There are taxes to pay,
Rain gutters to empty,
And weeds to pull"--
I wanted to say, "Betty, have you
heard about Euthanasia?
If your entire life has shrunk into
fearful doctor's appointments, the car
always backing itself into rhododendrons
while you remain busy, wondering
where on earth you belong,
it's really almost painless."
English tea was the cornerstone of our companionship;
a table was always set with linen and candles, my teacup
waiting to be chosen from your collection-full.
Flowers freshly-cut and set in crystal sat between us--
their days ending on my home desk.
We read from first editions in words we both had inherited;
other-worldly maps of World War II, bound from your husband,
meticulously unfolded and explored.
How could I help my friend? Your age and fragility
had silently overshadowed all else.
On Christmas Eve we had played cards in a
nursing home like vacant strangers--
a broken hip making you listless.
Now I see your evanescent face lingering as I
have coffee in one of your hand-painted bone china cups.
Where are you, Euthanasia Betty?
Betty was my mother-in-law and didn't care for me when we first met; however, after my husband and her husband died, we became close.
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