|I wrote the following poem about my son. Ironic, because I had no idea while, writing the poem, it would be about him. I began writing the poem on the seventh of May, two-thousand-fifteen, and he passed on the eighth. Two of my daughters, and my grandson, came that evening, around nine-thirty, to break the news to me. They asked me if I knew why they were there. "For Mother's Day?" Devastation doesn't describe how I felt. It was all I could do to keep from throwing up. Now, I am on the verge of losing my eldest daughter to cancer. It is just a matter of time. Her birthday is January 4, 1958. As a parent, I would take her place willingly.
Will you be there when I say goodbye?
Will you sit by my side?
Will you kiss my forehead?
Will you wipe the tears from my eye?
Will you fold your arms
Around my shoulder?
Will you hug me tight
When I say my final goodnight?
I don't want to go alone,
To a world unknown,
A world I am not familiar with;
Will You be there when I say goodbye?
Dedicated to my only son who passed away on May 8th, 2015, Richard Wayne Smith age 54
In April of two-thousand-fifteen, I began having uneasy feelings. A mother can tell when something is wrong with her child. Years ago a dear friend gave me a picture of an old mill with a deer by the water. It was in a small frame. Because I am an artist, she wanted me to replicate the picture on canvas. I believe it was around the year of nineteen-eighty-five. When I left the township, I packed the picture in a small box thinking I would get around to it sooner or later.
Over the years that box has traveled with me from place to place. Since I write poetry, a friend of mine in North Carolina, suggested I put the poems in frames and sell them. In two-thousand-thirteen, I made the move from North Carolina to Troy, Ohio where two of my children, and my grandchildren live. My health had waned; I decided it was time because I needed their help. I continued to write and followed up with purchasing frames from the Dollar Tree for my poetry. I was running short of frames so I went into my garage, pulled out a few of the boxes that held my art supplies, and low and behold, there was his picture. It was behind the painting of the old mill. I have no idea how it got there, but it did.
Another irony, I kept finding photographs of my son, when he was in the lower grades of school, around the house. In my guest bedroom on the floor, at the foot of the bed, was a photograph. He must have been twelve or thirteen years old when the picture was taken. On the dresser was another picture, and the greatest surprise came when I took the back off of the picture Pat had given me, was an even larger school photograph of Richard.
Richard lived with his father in another city but we rarely spoke. I called my second eldest daughter, "I know something is wrong with Rick, because I keep finding his picture in places they do not belong." The feeling was a feeling of dread. I couldn't shake it. My daughters, grandchildren, and me were kept out of the loop. I was right! He had had open-heart surgery, a triple bypass in April, and his father did not tell anyone in the family. To this day, I find it difficult to forgive him. That was my child too.
On May eighth, their father had been outside mowing the lawn; when he came back into the house he laid down, in his bedroom, and fell asleep. When he got out of bed, he went into the living-room; lying on the floor was my deceased son. When I was able to obtain the death certificate, I took the autopsy report to church with me. One of our deacons is a surgeon. I showed it to him. He said it appeared Richard's heart had gone into an arrhythmia and that was the cause of his death.
Grief, yes I am well antiquated with grief.