Before Your Eyes Closed

I slowly lifted up my head 
And gazed into your eyes 
A stream of salt trickled down 
As I repressed the coming cry 

Before your eyelids slowly shut 
I firmly grasped your hand 
And flashes of great memories 
Came without command 

As kids we ran through sprinklers 
And dressed in clown costumes 
And you bathed our infant skin 
And sent us to our rooms 


You baked your famous pumpkin pie 
You knitted lovely quilts 
You made us feel protected 
Within the love that you had built 


You taught us important lessons 
You consoled our inner fears 
You stood by our decisions 
In our adolescent years 


You hugged us when we finished school 
You supported all our risks 
You gave away your hard-earned cash 
To help your own grandkids 


And now I'm sitting here in awe 
That you could do so much 
As you let go of my squeezing hand 
And I feel your final touch 


So now I'm standing at your grave 
And speaking to your spirit 
I have so much more to tell you 
If only you could hear it 


Many, many years have passed 
Since that very tragic day 
But I will not forget you, no 
You will never fade away. 

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Missing You

I miss you dad
More and more each day
I'm trying my best
To get up and stay
To be a part of this world
With all it's ups and downs
To wear a smile more
Than I wear I frown
It's harder than I thought it would be
Living without you
What are you trying to tell me?
I feel confused at night
When I dream of your smile
Knowing that you're gone now
For more than a little while
Why is the question
Because is the only answer
Why does my heart bleed
Because you are not there.


Brandy Noelle Souza


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There is You,
my son, and You.


The You that died;
the You which we see
on rising
in photographs on walls
or framed or there
by the window;
the You staring back at us
from our mobile phones.


There's the You I saw
brought into the world
pink and small
and wanting to feed
and latch on
for the liquid food.


The You growing up
from baby to toddler,
mischievous, but loving.


The You growing
into manhood,
stoic and quiet
and brave, going about
in your own way
to climb many a mountain
of adversity
and reaching the top
and over it
and quietly smile
and unseen
in a corner, sit.


There is the You
of quiet talk,
of gentle words;
You of soft
under the breath swearing,
if the referee
had got it wrong.


There was the You who
became ill so suddenly;
the You who was let down
by medical professionals;
the You we loved,
the You whose heart
flat-lined and died.


There is You,
my son, and You.


The You who was taken
and the You whom we feel
around us still,
walking by
out of the corner
of our red rimmed eye.

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You lay there
on the bed
with tubes and wires
coming from body and head.  


Tubes from mouth and nose,
eyes, those large eyes,
bright, laughing, kind,
now closed seemingly
in deep sleep.


You unaware
we were there,
we who loved you
and would have tipped
the scales of the world
to have you safe
and back with us,
who would have given you
limbs or body parts or eyes,
would have searched
the dark corridors of death
to have brought you back,
back with us, us whom
you loved and who loved you.


You lay there still and silent,
the day unfolding,
the artificial light betraying
the hours passing,
the minutes ticking away,
the hushed conversations
between us who watched
and waited, talks to you,
the telling of how things
had been and would be again;
clutching at hope like some rope,
wishing you on, watching
the dials of the machine,
the flashing lights, the hums,
the sounds, and you so still,
Stoic until the end, your
puffed up body, tinged with blue;
your hands, warm, soft,
which we took turns to hold,
arms which would have once
embraced, now still, unmoving,
touched, as if we might wake you,
see your large eyes open,
that hint of a smile, your smile,
that infamous smile and spread of lips.


You lay on the bed, tubed and wired,
unaware we were there watching
from the shore towards a deep sea
of approaching dark unbelievable death,
or maybe you were aware of us
standing or sitting there, taking
your last walk amongst us, unseen,
touching us, brushing a hand
against us as you passed,
and we unaware of you going by,
right until the last second of time
as we watched you die.

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As the numbness
of your death
wears off,
the harsh reality
sinks in, bites
at the heart and nerves,
tightens its grip
about the throat,
clutches about the heart,
sends punches
to the head.


I still can’t believe you,
my son, are dead;
seems unreal
despite the reality
kicking in,
despite the hollowness
where once you were,
despite the silence
of your laugh and humour,
despite the absence
of your hungry bear walk,
the look you gave,
the softly spoken talk.


We put fresh flowers
on your grave, took
away the dying ones;
we stood and stared
and watched the plot
where now you lay.


Wish you were not there,
my son, but here
with us today.

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We went by train
to an old familiar
seaside resort
with children
and grandchildren
and others as such;
and it was a good day
with fine weather;
and the laughter of children
and the distraction
of their enjoyment
on the beach, but you
my son,weren't there,
or if you were in spirit,
I was unaware.


But I guess you were,
there amongst us
tagging along,
your silence and humour
there in spirit,
remembering as I did
the days when you
were young and played
upon this beach
with your brothers
and sisters
of a much tender age.


I wish now I was able
to turn back to that time
as if in a book's page;
to relive those times,
hold on to the excitement
and youth of that time,
but time passes us on,
and on we go whether
we wish to or no;
the times passing us by,
moving us on
in a continuing motion.


The children played
on the sand, I watched
the wide expanse of ocean;
the constant rush of the tide;
the memories of you, my son,
out there, playing on the edge
with your bucket and spade,
engrossed in the game.


We went to the seaside and beach,
but it will never be the same;
now you will always be,
seemingly, out of reach.

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I miss your humour,
the look you gave,
that twinkle in the eye.


I miss the smile,
but harmless,
healing wounds.


Your flat was emptied
and some other
lives there now;
I avoid the place now,
haunts me somehow.


I miss you coming in
for lunch and dinner,
your quiet presence,
your hungry bear look,
that soft foot tread
looking for food,
but most of all
I miss your wit,
your one liners,
that gentle humour
now gone,
but not forgotten;
aching heart,
as if wounded
and dumb rotten.  


Feel I ought not
to have left you
in that ward,
I feel I ought
to have stayed,
still haunts me,
I'm afraid.

If you come
in the spirit sense,
be near, talk,
even if I cannot hear.


I miss you son,
miss you
not being here.

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Your youngest sister
wears your blue
and white coat now,
my son; it brings her
some comfort
since your
sudden death.


She zips it up close,
to keep her warm,
thinking you
are still there inside,
to keep her safe.


I remember
you wearing
that white
and blue coat,
on your way
to work or back,
or out for the day
in all climes.


They were
the good days,
good times.


You use to zip it up
close to your chin
to keep the cold out,
the warmth in;
hands in the pockets,
elbows back,
like some large bird
about to take off
on a long flight.


You have taken off now;
set your soul's keel
to the open sea
of eternity.


I sometimes dream
of you at night,
see you as you were
before the stain
of death approached;
your smile spreading,
your blue eyes bright.

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I seem to have inherited
your Che Guevara tee shirt,
red and black,
with the huge
Legends lettering
and portrait,
black on red.


Washed and folded,
I gave it a squeeze,
and held it to my chest
(wanting you back,
my son, and all the rest).


Sometimes I think
we shared the same heroes,
similar, more similar
than I ever thought before,
reflected in the tee shirts
you bought and wore.


I am still making
my way through
your Augusten
Burroughs books,
the humour, insight
and images raised,
have humoured me
at a time I need,
from dark thoughts,
guilts, on my time
and mind, like maggots
they have fed and feed.


I did think
I would talk to you
the following day,
before the coma,
the silence of you
contrasting the ever
sounding machines,
the dials, the lights,
and that, and other
images, keep me
from sleep at nights,
(hence the need
of the sleep
inducing pill).


I seem to have inherited
the black and red
Che Guevara tee shirt
you used to wear,
and when I hold it
against my cheek,
I imagine,
for short moments,
that you are
still there.

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