As some have put it, it’s a day we both know is coming. Each husband and wife know it’s a moment on the horizon. But because it’s so frightening, we seldom if ever speak of it, except to make financial arrangements or deal with it through legal documents. Even poets seem to avoid the unanticipated aspects of the loss of a spouse. it’s simply too painful.
It’s a subject often approached by poets,
those who are married or otherwise paired
in at least a semi-permanent bond.
But it’s an approach a bit like
an aborted approach to an airport…
“Yes, folks, that was a close call….”
Yes, there’s an allusion to one of you
going on alone,
and an admission of a glancing nod
toward the empty spot
beside the one who continues.
But there’s no acknowledgment
that for many of us half of the self
is no longer there.
Family memories, jokes, shared experiences;
knowledge of your glaring faults
and fumbling attempts at reconciliation;
your glowing moments of triumph;
your overcoming of dark failures
that could have demolished you;
the love you shared – and gave away –
that was deeper than life itself.
On and on it goes, as part of you, perhaps half,
or simply, and literally, the better half of you is gone.
You won’t just be missing the one who is gone,
but the best sides of your self, as well,
the ones that remain invisible to you
because they’re only seen by those
closest to you, yet outside of you.