gone

©2006 by Jennifer Honeycutt. May not be reproduced without permission.

when you’re young you don’t realize.
grandpa or aunt maggie or cousin rob will always be there.
nothing will ever change and no one will ever leave you.

when you’re young, loss doesn’t seem so real.
so you lose your grandpa – you’re only 16;
you miss him but you’ll still go to the homecoming game
this weekend. you’ll still go to wendy’s
and eat cheeseburgers with your friends.
in the back of your mind you pray that grandpa is okay
wherever he is, but you don’t dwell on it.

somehow the years go by and you’re grown up.
you’re grown up, and you’ve only ever lost your grandpa,
and you have no idea how to deal with dying or death.
but suddenly you find yourself at a hospital,
bewildered at how your grandma took such a turn –
she was perfectly healthy last week.

what are you doing here?
when did you become one of those people
who sits at the hospital, waiting, waiting, waiting…
expecting death at the end of every breath?

you hold your grandma’s hand
even though she doesn’t know you’re there.
you watch her struggle for breath, watch her chest rise and fall.
you trace the blue veins on her arm with your fingers.
she is cold, and you know it won’t be long.

one last kiss and you let go of her hand.
it’s time for someone else to sit beside her for awhile.
you’ve nothing left to do but wait,
to wonder why you feel completely empty;
to wonder how you’re supposed to get up tomorrow
and carry on with your life
when your heart is heavy as a boulder
and you don’t know how to bear the weight.

Back to Poetry