The Ritual of Leaving.


The usual goodbye routine,
I pack, guilt riven
her brave face as the carer serves her breakfast.
An hour later, the food un-eaten on the tray.

Seeing her there, helpless,
no longer able to fulfil our special ritual,
she at the window
waving till out of sight…
only enhances the pain.

Leaning over to kiss pure white hair
on the head of a valiant soul
who has weathered ninety one winters.

The pathos
is of the eviscerating kind.

That precious frame,ย  slight now.
Feeling her warm scalp under my lips
as I hold her hand…

Times stands still.

So what is life and death?
What is hello and goodbye?
Only a greeting or farewell
from one place to another.

We understand that
and so we treasure it

but still we struggle…

There is no place that love does not inhabit
there is no state that comfort cannot be found.
Even in the exchanges of the most futile kind,
love is there and will fill the gaps.
When the heart is over-burdened and heavy
with unspoken emotion,

In all things, and in the eyes
love will find a way.

Nevertheless, I drive away




© stormwolf 2023
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Hi Alison.this is beautiful emotional poetry,which helped me a lot, having lost my wife of 68 years two weeks ago.I was privileged to spend the last ten days of her life at her bedside 24 hours a day .I understand how you must feel, I am absolutely shattered though I had been expecting it.I am still lost.Thank you.I am only glad to hold my dear wife’s hand when she took her last breath.Take care Alison Thinking of you. Peter xx


Thank you Alison
for your very thoughtful comment.Yes, life is pretty grim at present,but I am lucky in as much that I have the support of a loving family.Like you I firmly believe that this is not the end, and that Edna and i will be together again somewhere in the future.Where,and when, Who knows?But that is my believe that we will be holding hands again..Hence my choice of the leaving song at the crematorium next Tuesday:”We’ll meet again,”. Thank you once more Alison,
with tears in my eyes,Love Peter. xxx


Thank you Alison,


Such a sad situation so brilliantly conveyed without even a hint of self pity. I’m sure, like Pommer, a lot of people in this situation will find great comfort in your poem .


Sad and beautiful all rolled into one, Alison. It so reminds me of when I leave my mother in her care home. I visit weekly. so am fully involved in her care. It’s got harder of late and she’s started screaming at me to take her home. So emotionally draining. Special poetry as ever. Take care. Mick.


A poem which is moving without being gushingly sentimental. Just the right amount of understatement, and a quietly effective ending.


Exactly right, another of those situations where “less is more”. But that restraint leads to powerful poetry.


A beautiful write that proves love is immortal. You honour her with an unforgettable pen that writes wonderful poetry that brings light to a situation that we will all face. I only hope I have someone there in my hour of need.

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