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.

 

 

Song Lyric Sunday: Sweet Dreams

This blog feature was created by Helen Vahdati. For guidelines, click here.

This week’s theme is “sleep.” The song I’m including is more about dreaming of the one you love, but sometimes when you’re dreaming, you’re asleep. I’ve dreamt about being with my husband Bill after he passed. The song echoes my sentiment after it was necessary for Bill to move to a nursing home a month before his death. I hope that tonight, you have sweet dreams, whether you’re with or without the one you love.

***

***

Air Supply—Sweet Dreams

Lyrics Courtesy of Google

 

This is the time when you need a friend

You just need someone near

I’m not looking forward to the night

I’ll spend thinking of you when you’re not here

How many times will I think about the things

I’d like to do

Always denied the right to live my life the way I want

I want to share it with you

Close your eyes

I want to ride the skies in my sweet dreams

Close your eyes

I want to see you tonight in my sweet dreams

I’ll think of your kiss as the days roll by

And I’ll write the words you love

What I can’t say in a letter

Will just have to wait till I get home

There’s not much time to tell you

Half the things I should

Only that I’m so glad I fell in love with you

And I’d do it again if I could

Close your eyes

I want to ride the skies in my sweet dreams

Close your eyes

I want to see you tonight in my sweet dreams

Sleep like a child resting deep

You don’t know what you give me I keep

For these moments alone

 

Songwriters: Michael Norman Sallitt

Sweet Dreams lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

***

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.

 

 

Song Lyric Sunday: Photograph

Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati. If you’re a blogger and would like to participate, click here for guidelines.

This week’s theme is “photograph.” The song I’m featuring below was popular when I started seventh grade, and for some reason, it was going through my head, as I walked to and from the bus stop each day. Its meaning wasn’t clear then. Now, I can relate to its sentiment and am thankful my late husband didn’t choose to just leave me with only a picture to remember him by. Enjoy, and have a great day.

***

***

Disclaimer: I don’t own the rights to these lyrics, and copyright infringement isn’t intentional.

***

Photograph–Ringo Starr

Every time I see your face
It reminds me of the places we used to go
But all I’ve got is a photograph
And I realize you’re not coming back anymore
I thought I’d make it
The day you went away
But I can’t make it
Till you come home again to stay
I can’t get used to living here
While my heart is broke, my tears I cry for you
I want you here to have and hold
As the years go by, and we grow old and gray
Now you’re expecting me to live without you
But that’s not something that I’m looking forward to
I can’t get used to living here
While my heart is broke, my tears I cry for you
I want you here to have and hold
As the years go by, and we grow old and gray
Every time I see your face
It reminds me of the places we used to go
But all I’ve got is a photograph
And I realize you’re not coming back anymore
Songwriters: George Harrison / Richard Starkey

***

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.

***

Saturday Song: Eddie Fisher–Oh My Papa


Since Father’s Day is tomorrow, here’s a song that has recently become dear to my heart. It was popular in the 1950’s, but I didn’t know it existed until a gentleman at the adult day care facility, where I occasionally sing, requested it, and I had to find a recording of it so I could learn it. When I heard Eddie Fisher sing it for the first time, I realized just how wonderful my own father had been, despite his faults. May he rest in peace. Enjoy the song, and have a great Saturday.

***

***

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.

***