Friday Fun Poetry Challenge: Afraid and Grave (Synonyms Only)

This feature was created by Colleen Chesebro. This week’s words are “afraid” and “grave.” I’m giving you a two-for-one special on Tankas today. The following reflects my fear of death and my longing to be with my late husband. You’ll note that instead of “afraid,” I use “fearful,” and instead of “grave” I use “burial place.”

***

Fearful of being

laid in a burial place

and never wanting

my dead body to be burned,

I am just staying alive.

 

Yet the one I love

Lies alone under the ground.

If I lay with him,

Oh, would we be together

in death as we were in life?

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

Book Excerpt: The Morning My Husband Passed

Six years ago today, my husband was found dead in his room at the nursing home where he’d spent the past month. I’d been caring for him at home for six years after two strokes paralyzed his left side. He’d started going downhill, finally getting to the point where I could no longer lift him.

I’d hoped to get him into Greenhouse,, a facility where residents live in cottages holding no more than twelve occupants and each have their own room and bath,. However, there was a six-month waiting list for people on Medicaid, so he and I decided that he should move to a regular nursing home for the time being. He must have decided he couldn’t wait for greener pastures.

The following poem, from My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds, talks about how I learned of his death and my reactions. You can click this link to hear me read it.

***

 THE MORNING MY HUSBAND PASSED

 

 

The nurse’s call wakes me at six thirty.

Relieved but unable to drive,

I call my father—he agrees to take me.

 

I think to myself,

this is it—I’m a widow.

I knew it would come, but why so soon?

 

He just turned seventy.

We were married only seven years.

I took care of him for six.

He wanted to make it ten.

 

Driving through the streets,

I see, hear, feel nothing.

When we arrive, I hurry to his room,

to his bedside where he lies,

swathed from head to toe.

 

I uncover his face,

eyes, mouth closed,

his body at peace.

I kiss his brow,

bury my face in his hair,

hold him, tell him I love him,

pack his belongings, leave,

my life having turned a corner.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

Friday Fun Poetry Challenge: Haunt and Spell (synonyms only)

This feature was created by Colleen Chesebro. This week’s words are “haunt” and spell.” This was tricky because I couldn’t find any one-word synonyms for “haunt.” With Halloween approaching, for this Tanka, I settled on “visit as if a spirit,” and instead of “spell,” I’m using “aura.” It’s not exactly haunting, but it’s a portrayal of how I feel as a widow. Enjoy!

***

Gone for six years now,

As if he were a spirit,

my love visits me.

I still welcome his aura

and will never let him go.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

Friday Fun Poetry Challenge: Ghost and Hollow

This feature was created by Colleen Chesebro. Click here for guidelines. This week’s words are “ghost” and “hollow.” In celebration of my late husband’s birthday, which was yesterday, the following Tanka depicts my life without him. Because the trick of this challenge is to only use synonyms of the words, you’ll note my use of the words “spirit” and “empty.” Enjoy, and have a great day.

***

His spirit with me,

Though my heart is still empty

six years after death,

I go on with life, knowing

that he’s in a better place.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.

 

 

Saturday Song: Unchained Melody

I often sang this song to my late husband Bill. After his strokes, whenever I hit the high note close to the end, he was always moved to tears. I hope my rendition of this song, as I sang it to Bill many times, moves you, too.

***

Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

***

Review: After You

After You

by JoJo Moyes

Copyright 2015.

 

In this sequel to Me Before You, Louisa struggles to go on after watching Will, a man she loved, a quadriplegic, take his own life. After traveling through Europe for a while, she ends up in London, living in a small apartment and working at an airport bar. An accidental fall from her apartment building’s roof catapults her into a series of interesting circumstances, further complicated by the arrival of Will’s teen-aged daughter, the result of one of his numerous affairs before his accident that left him almost totally paralyzed and before he met Louisa. The ending is more positive.

I enjoyed a recording of this book produced by Randomhouse Audio in which the British narrator did an excellent job. As I mentioned in a previous post, Me Before You delivers a negative message about people with disabilities taking their own lives. After You centers on hopeful themes of love and moving on after loss. My favorite scene was one where Louisa, while eating lunch with friends in a French restaurant, mistakenly orders beef cheeks, and I don’t think they were the ones located on the cow’s face, either. Louisa is the most memorable character in the book. With no real direction in her own life, she’s only too happy to try and sort out the life of Will’s teen-aged daughter, who is misunderstood by her own family.

Like many books I’ve read, After You helped me put my life into perspective. Losing a loved one is hard enough, but imagine how you would feel if that loved one took his own life, and you felt powerless to stop him. I’m so thankful that wasn’t the case with my late husband Bill. You can read our story in my new memoir, My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

 

 

Mourning Has Broken: A Book Review

I would like to read this book, but I can’t find it in an accessible format, even from Audible. However, I thought I would share this review along with my rendition of a song that went through my head, as I read the review, never mind that the spelling of “morning” is different. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15213189/morning%20has%20broken.mp3

Annika Perry's Writing Blog

mourning2

I read this book during a time of loss and sadness. When my spirits were so low neither music nor books could enter my heart. Numerous books remained unread, the words and stories therein unable to penetrate the wall. 

Then I recalled reading about Carol Balawyder and ‘Mourning Has Broken’; her book on loss and grief. On a whim I bought it.

My attention was seized from the very first few sentences and as I devoured it within two days ‘Mourning Has Broken’ left a deep and profound impact on me.

The writing is exceptional and beautiful. Poetic in places, full of wisdom. Her words spoke directly to me, then at times mirrored my experiences of loss exactly. I have never highlighted so much in a book since my student days. Nor have I I talked so much about a book – I am sure my family by now feel…

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