Thursday, March 26, 2015

Grief Story #2: A Poem and a Letter by Julie Lunden

The second installment of the Community Grief Story project.

A Poem entitled
by Julie Lunden

He didn't wait for me.
I thought he was my buddy.
I hurried to be with him. Only him.
He didn't wait for me

They said, “He's resting. See him in the morning.”
A neighbor woke me with the dawn.
“He's gone,” she said.

He was supposed to wait for me.
Now, I'm lost.

My friend. My buddy.
My mentor. Gone.
Daddy didn't wait for me!

I have been lost these past fifty years.
Perhaps someone will find me.
Maybe I will find Me.

Dear Family,

Those many years ago, I didn't know what I was feeling beyond the shock of losing my beloved Daddy.

I distanced myself from every one of you because, as I now know, you all lied to me and then left me to flounder: confused, fearful, threatened, insecure. I've spent my entire life being angry at you—collectively and individually—for the lies. 

“Your dad is getting better;” “He is going back to work the first of the year.”

Instead, you, we, buried him in a tomb in New Orleans. I can still hear the coffin slide across the cement floor, a grating sound of solid against sand.

You told me, “Be strong for your mother.” She, and all of you, should have been strong for the children, for me.

Up until that time, January 1959, as a family you guided me, planned my life, provided security and guidance, were caring, and gave me a safe place to grow.

In the catastrophe of Daddy's leaving me, there was no one to take my hand, to acknowledge my sadness and confusion. To this day I don't know how I came to be standing outside the circle of mourners surrounding the “city” of tombs. It's too bad we could not have stood together, supporting one another in the love and spirit of C.B., father and husband.

Because of my feelings of abandonment, I left home--did not write, call, or make any effort to visit. I learned then I could not trust anyone.

Now—these sixty years later—I choose to believe and live that a family is a circle that shelters our pain and delights in our joys. We can laugh together, cry together, and just hold us together and become “strong, freer, and more powerful.”


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