It Happens

The smell of freshly brewed coffee
A lightness in the morning air.

Sitting quietly around the kitchen table
A fresh, mouthwatering breakfast made.

Strawberries glisten on the plate
Toast perfectly buttered, with eggs.

The most decadent breakfast
About to be sadly interrupted.

As I lift the fork to my mouth
Grief washes over my mind.

Mom cooked the best poached eggs
I will never eat her cooking again.

This delicious smell now soured
My stomach hurting, fork down.

Suddenly, I no longer want to eat
The breakfast remains, unchanged.

It sits there growing colder
While I catch my breath.

It happens.

My career is flourishing
People are asking for advice.

My hands are finally skilled
Mechanical Maintenance Planner.

Grandpa’s “little millwright girl,”
Now a millwright without her witness.

So I think about him and take in memory
His icy blue eyes trapped in my mind.

His generational skills
Passed along my way.

Without him here
To be proud of me.

It happens.

My daughter plays out in the yard
Laughing, smiling in the sunshine.

My life’s dream of becoming a mother
Realized in this moment, watching her.

Then suddenly, like a gut-punch
I am reminded I am without mine.

The mother who watched me grow
Will never watch her grandchildren.

My daughter looks into my eyes
So I try to hide behind my smile.

She does not know this pain
I could never let her know.

It happens.

My husband looks into my eyes
The most perfect shade of green.

He makes me laugh again
He fills my soul with love.

As his arms wrap around me
His head settles into my neck.

I am reminded of Mom’s hug
Her undying, unending love.

She brought me to him
I know that; I know that.

He will never know her
Mom’s life told in stories.

So I pull him closer to me
As we all come together.

Tears roll down my cheeks
She would have loved him.

It happens.

I read tarot for you now
Detailing your loved one.

Shuffling tarot cards
Stirring up memory.

Cards remind me of my grandma
We would play for hours on end.

Cards shuffled by her hands
Then folded neatly in her casket.

Reminding me that she left
Bereaved by so much loss.

She plays on through my hands
My most precious ancestor.

It happens.

My eyes opened today
My body worked today.

My mind illuminated in thought
My body acted out mind’s wishes.

Yet my soul remains heavy
Bogged down with sadness.

It happens.

Some days you float
Some days you sink.

Some days you’re fine
Some days you’re not.

It is okay
It is natural.

The finality of death
An accepted part of life.

The reality of afterlife
Mostly hidden in parables.

Life and its mysteries
Illuminating death.

How do I know?
How can I know?

I teetered the line
Because of grief.

Knife to delicate skin
Waiting to bleed-out.

The air from my lungs
Removed by the silence.

Crawling from the floor
I took that breath back in.

Writhing in immense, torturous pain
The bullet slipping from my heart.

She is still here
She never left.

I got too close
To the end.

It happens.

Pulled back from the ledge
I said I would let others know.

In case they couldn’t hear
In case they actually jumped.

Because I know that’s easier
To remove oneself from pain.

To silence oneself finally
Numb the onslaught of grief.

Let the tears fall down your cheeks
Let the anger roar from within you.

Natural, human emotions
Made for us to feel them.

You are not wrong
They are not gone.

It happens.

Day by day is a mystery
I can only offer my best.

Some days I will cry
Some days I will smile.

Some days I will not believe it
Some days I will totally accept it.

Some bad days will happen again
Because that bad day happened.

But some good days will happen
Because I cherish them more now.

It happens.

In the stillness of the silence
They wait for us to listen.

Grief will happen because
We were all born to die.

Grief will happen because
We grieve the love we lost.

A small, unacceptable fact
Is that we were born to die.

A big, largely un-accepted reality
Is that it is only our bodies that do.

Our spiritual energy survives
Despite our disbelief at that.

I wouldn’t be here
If that weren’t true.

I couldn’t be here
If that weren’t true.

My rational mind unaccepting
Of falsely created realities.

No heaven would suffice
Heaven was too far away.

My logical mind accepting
That Mom’s body had gone.

The doctors signed the paper
She was officially declared dead.

My spiritual mind unaccepting
That bodily death was the end.

So I waited and I prayed
Until I was told the truth.

Because of this grief
I have truly come alive.

Kaila A. Notto

©TMM 2020-2021


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