Poem: Fragmented Sorrow


There are times when
I view your passing
in a new way.

A way that reminds
me how much I’ve

A new way to
mourn. A new
experience I
didn’t know I’d
have, so I couldn’t
fathom the loss of
not being able to
share it with you.

Like when I was married
and I didn’t see you
at my wedding, or the
face of any grandparent
for that matter.

Or when I had a child
and I couldn’t show
you his perfect
little nose.

Or when I realized
whenever I’m blue
I’ll always think
of you. Like I can’t
be sad about something
else without being
sad about you too.

Then there’s the time
when my first story
was published and I
looked at the pile of
things I’d never been
able to share with
you and realized how
big the stack had grown.

Then there was the
first time I wrote
about losing you.
And then the first
piece I had published
about losing you.

And losing you.
And losing you.
And losing you.

Each time it feels
like drowning.
I can’t catch my
breath, and this
boulder pushing down
on my chest weighs me
to the bottom of the

The first time I
showed my son
a picture of you, I
found a new
pain to mourn.

I mourned that he
would never
meet you, and no
matter how I try,
a two-dimensional
photograph will never
make up for that.
And I mourned that
he will never
truly know
what he missed.

It occurred to me
that I didn’t
even know if
I’d told you
about my love
for writing.

And I mourn
that I missed sharing
the most important
part about me.

And I worry about
the things I
don’t yet know
to mourn.

I mourn that
when my son first
saw your house
with its empty
rooms and halls,
he didn’t
feel the vibrancy
once held within
those walls.

And he wouldn’t
ever get to feel
like I did in
that house, my
because all he
saw was the
crumbling roof
and the tall grasses
that left no evidence
of the well-worn
trails we hiked.

And I can’t
even go there
without seeing
and feeling the
hollowness of it.

When will these
buildings stop collapsing
around me and the ruins
quit housing ghosts
of everything I’ll never
have again.

Sometimes I get
tired of pretending to
know what hope looks
like that when I can
no longer hold up the
illusion, I get buried
under the cave in.

I start over
again trying
to rebuild the images
that shelter my heart.

And I try to
the pull of
my sorrow.


  1. // Reply

    What a beautiful heartfelt piece! And I love those last two verses. It was the perfect note to end it on. 🙂

    1. // Reply

      Oh, thank you! There are many poems that I’ve shared where I have a debate with myself on whether I should share them or not, because my poetry tends to be more openly raw and vulnerable than anything else I write. This was one of those that I debated.
      I’m not sure why there’s a debate, I write to share with others. And even when I ask the question, there’s already part of me that knows by the mere existence of the debate, I’ve already decided I will share it.
      Thank you for reading!

  2. // Reply

    Everything about this piece was painstakingly beautiful.

      1. // Reply

        You’re most welcome, Mandie.

  3. // Reply

    Loved it, Mandie. I wrote poetry exclusively for 20 years before discovering the joy of writing humor. You really nailed it with the comment, “openly raw and vulnerable.” I’ve always felt that poetry is a window to the soul.

    I remember one poem I wrote called “The Visit” about seeing my Dad in a dream and how youthful and vibrant he was. It was a wonderful dream. He died at 95 after a few years of dementia, just an empty shell of the man he once was. I believe he is happy in his new realm, and that makes me happy too–but I still miss him. My tears are for me, not for him.

    1. // Reply

      Thank you, Russell! That’s probably one of the reasons I enjoy your humorous pieces so much, they provide a break from the darker pieces I write.
      Thank you for sharing the story about your dad. “My tears are for me, not for him.” I completely understand this.

  4. // Reply

    I can really feel this, every person dying leaves a vacancy of all the things that could have been… every part of your life (joyous or sad) is filled with that loss. I realized that my father would have had his 100th birthday a week ago. There have been moment when I wish that he could have read my words, even have him saying that it was no good.

    1. // Reply

      That’s one of the best parts of sharing my grief, Björn, having people share stories about their loved ones. It’s like I get to meet people who I wouldn’t have had the chance to encounter otherwise.
      I’m sorry for your loss. What a marker in time, to have his birthday just pass. And to think he would have been 100.

  5. // Reply

    I find it difficult to comment here, because of the lump in my throat.
    I love this, it says so many things that we all feel at times but have insufficient talent to put into words.

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