We are six women in our writing circle every Wednesday evening. Five American. One Canadian. Me. Yesterday, at the end of our hour and a half together, we spoke of these times and all they’ve brought, and all they’ve taken away.
The losses feel almost incomprehensible. As one of the women said last night, with over 350,000 deaths in the US and the numbers climbing, it is numbing.
It is. Yet, we cannot let it be. Numbing. For these are lives lived that are no more. Mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters. Family members and friends. They may be strangers to me, but to someone their loss leaves an empty place that can never be filled.
As Beaumont the Sheepadoodle and I walked this morning in the brilliant sunshine, as we listened to the river crowding through the narrowing channels where ice is beginning to block its path, as I sipped my coffee at my desk and watched the squirrels play their constant game of tag along naked branches of the trees, I wondered how do you fill those empty places when the one who once was there is gone forever?
It feels fitting that as 2020 draws to its close and the calendar turns not just a page or month but into an entirely new year, that I spend some time reflecting upon those who will not be stepping into the new year.
And so, I offer this poem.