We are told that our lives
Should be spent with smiles on our blank faces
Gratitude for the day, despite
The tragedies that strike—war, famine
The death of our precious babies.
We are not told of the beauty of being
Fractured, of living yet with
Broken limbs and broken hearts
Scars that disfigure, both in and out
The imperfections of a mortal life
As humans we are meant to suffer.
We are meant to endure the horrific
The shadows of the sun
The veins and tangles beneath the surface.
Instead we are to be sterile, shutterlipped
Yet after death, our minds turn towards the worst.
My infant nephew had a seizure,
My brain firing neurons of panic—
Cerebral overdrive, powered by grief,
Will he be buried next to my son?
Why us? Are we cursed?
He made it out alive!
My mind a cacophony of hysterics,
Joy mingled with "Why me? Why us?"
Why did the angel of death steal my son
Why did he not steal hers?
Yet we must be thankful
We must not grieve, although our souls are meant
To bend beneath the weight as tree branches.
To endure the unendurable.
Today I honor my pain with honest words
I do not placate the suffering with lies
I do not numb with empty platitudes
I do not brand my scars with faith
"It was meant," my friends say
My husband stops them–
And what of the children that die?? The babies?
The ignorance of those too naive
Not jaded enough
Never stricken down to their knees
From unbearable suffering,
From the inevitable
Today we do not sugarcoat,
We do not warp reality
This broken family of wisdom and pain
This family of equal joy and grief
It's ok to not be ok
To not be complete
To smile while your heart stings
To laugh amongst tear-streaked eyes
It's ok to wear your wounds on your chest
The same way you wear your love.
We endure this life as trees
Bending to the weight of love and pain.
How do you feel about not being okay?