Mourning Has Broken

I know how to say good-bye,
but my good-byes are usually
spoken into someone’s eyes,
their soul peeking out
from behind colored irises.

We’ve never met—
on this side.
But I can promise you
that you are already loved.

I don’t know how to mourn,
because I was raised
to celebrate the life
rather than wail
over the death.

But perhaps my lack of
knowledge is due to my own
short-comings and not
due to inadequate teachings.

I don’t know how to mourn.
There’s no school for how to
properly wear black and
cry into a handkerchief.

I don’t know how to mourn
the life of a friend
who taught me that our
parents are not always
as smart as they seem.

I don’t know how to mourn
the canine companion who
comforted my mother
after her miscarriage.

I don’t know how to mourn
a man who cared for me
so immensely he terrified
me, for I had never known
that from a father figure.

I don’t know how to mourn
a woman, a mother,
who had grown so unlike
herself, you wouldn’t
recognize her on the street.

And, now, dear one,
I don’t know how to mourn
you.

We’ve never met,
though I have watched
you grow from the
outside looking in—
thanks to our connection
to this earth,
our roots buried
with the same
tenderness and strength.

What a pair we make.
Both fighting for our chance
to show this world
all that we are made of;
fighting to show
we’re worth more
than anyone bargained for
and how wonderful that is.

I don’t know how to mourn
a face so tiny and pristine,
a heart so good and unafraid,
a soul so open and ready
for whatever lay ahead.

So maybe that’s it, then.
Maybe you were meant
to bring one blazing, true
spark of fire to this world—
to those who love you.

Maybe your too-short time
in this life is meant
to remind us to hold
fast to what is good, like
love and joy and life.

That is what I will
choose to believe, anyway.

I don’t know how to mourn,
but perhaps I’m not supposed to.
Instead of gazing only
on death, perhaps my gift
is to see beyond such hurt
and bring hope to the surface.

Hope that this is not the
last time I look upon you.

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