First Poem

I took sustenance from tectonic plates

of complacency, believing

earth was solid, identity a given,

at least in my circles.

my legacy was safe, the particular

crystal ball in which I perceived my future

was clear.

My, mine, my, mine.

All the while, you hid

behind matchbox cars, denial,

your room walled with secrets,

in battle with those same perceptions, despairing

over the vacuousness of your life.

A seismic apocalypse has freed you, opened

a hole of grief and loss for us.

We honor your passing with sorrow, wash

away the sadness with tears, pray that love

supports transformation,

welcome Emily.

Like the Ocean

Each day is different, so like mourning, ebbing and flowing in waves, some that soothe, some that flatten me onto banks of sharp shells. My son is dying and my daughter is being born. I tell one friend about it and burst into tears. I tell another and make a joke.  This is huge. For thirty years, after  a fire and a murder devastated my life, things were pretty normal. One awful death, but normal. No periods of being so crazy I’m speaking in tongues. I’m close to that again, Greenwich Village Liberal that I was and am, there are moments when I feel horror and something  really embarrassing…shame. Feeling s rise up and slam me. It’s easy to be tolerant of something foreign, no so easy to be the foreigner in a new land.


My prayers are only to change me – and my husband, who is heart-deep in confusion and resistance. What if nothing changes for him/her? What if anxiety and depression return  (he’s euphoric right now).  Then he’s a woman with an anxiety disorder instead of a man with an anxiety disorder. We go to Chicago next weekend for a session  with the therapist. We begin with…something.

The Outline Of the Journey

This is the outline of my emotional experience the first day day.

I. The phone call and revelation

II. An appropriate parental response from Michael and me. Even a joke: “At least you’re doing it when it’s trendy.”

III. Shock sets in.

IV. The fight against nausea

V. Calling my friend in CA who went through this with her daughter

VI. Contacting the support group in NYC

VII. Nausea and fear

VIII. Enlisting my support group (AA)

IX. The back and forth of grief,  all five stages at once.

X. Feelings of euphoria. I will go public. I’m a therapist, after all.

XI. Pain, nausea and fear

XII. Prayers for acceptance, prayers for radical acceptance.