Stain

I close my eyes and see your body on Maximum Life Support.
I’m instructing nurses to turn off the machine.
The single hardest thing a mom has ever done.

I get up and clean the kitchen until I’m tired.

I close my eyes and see your lifeless body in that box; an image that never leaves.
I hear the monks chanting to help you on your way.
“Make happy wishes” they say.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

I mop the floors until they shine.
Maybe now I can rest; sleep for just a short time.

I close my eyes and see our hands push the button to light the flames as your cold body enters the cremation chamber.
No mother should have to say goodbye this way.

Wall washing occupies my time.

Don’t. Fall. Asleep.

I close my eyes and see myself on the Longtail boat with the monk in Kantiang Bay. Spreading your ashes.
The waves take you away.

I clean the mirrors, hoping for another view.

I close my eyes and see the sparrow, you. Landing in my hands at the service on the beach.
I knew it was your way of saying goodbye.

Scrub. Rinse. Repeat.

I close my eyes and see the butterfly, you. Landing on my butterfly tattoo of your eyes.
Crying as you flutter away.

I’ve cleaned the house so many times. Anything to keep from closing my eyes.

I take a shower but can’t get clean.
Tears the only way to wash away the pain.

My broken heart casts a sheen on everything.

Grief leaves a permanent stain.

~ Jen Troyer, August 2020

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