What We Leave Behind – Emotional Baggage From Sudden Death

My finger lazily traces the lines of her face

The worn photograph is beginning to show its age

The coloration fading like the memories I have of her

My struggle comes from within

Being trapped between the past and present

Is no place I’d recommend

Losing myself in the color of her hair or the blouse she was wearing

The same one she was interred in

Although the tears are no longer falling and the melancholy lessened

My mind hasn’t given an inch on releasing her memory

Death, they say is the final word in any conversation

No retort, nor response

The banter of past arguments echoes in my head

Moments wasted pouting

Lessons my older-self learned from my younger-self

Yet the timekeeper had the final say

Perhaps my concession was revealed on the last day

The day when everything crashed

Leaving nothing but emptiness

A chasm of empty space

Parting words still haunt my every waking moment

Caressing my emotions with soft and sweet remembrance

Her eyes staring sweetly into mine

A lingering kiss, the last kiss

Then she was gone

Her things still positioned as if awaiting her return

Cosmetics on her dressing table

A jacket draped on a chair

Unopened mail

Life simply stopped on a non-descript Tuesday morning

Her photograph is all that remains

And the memories

The cards and letter keep coming

Someday I might open them

Today is not that day

None of them matter anyway

Condolences are best spoken aloud

Assumptions that forever means always, come up short in reality

Expirations are unexpected by design

Life telegraphing how precious it really is

Don’t know what we have until it’s no longer

Here, there, and suddenly nowhere


R.J. Schwartz © 2017


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R J Schwartz

I write about everything and sometimes nothing at all. I'm fascinated by old things, rusty things, abandoned places, or anywhere that a secret might be unearthed. I'm passionate about history and many of my pieces are anchored in one concept of time or another. I've always been a writer, dating back to my youth, but the last decade has been a time of growth for me. I'm continually pushing the limitations of vocabulary, syntax, and descriptive phrasing.

4 thoughts on “What We Leave Behind – Emotional Baggage From Sudden Death

  • February 23, 2017 at 4:42 PM

    Beautifully expressed and an emotional read, Ralph. We all know that death is inevitable, a part of life – are we ever ready for it? I do not think so, not in my experience anyway. The important thing is to not suffer the grief and bereavement alone. This is when to reach out, face to face, or at least voices on the phone, to share feelings and thoughts with one who can walk with the bereaved through the stages of grief. To keep friends close and reach out when the need is there can be so comforting, so healing.

  • February 25, 2017 at 1:31 AM

    Most emotional and expressive. it is most painful, most surprising and hurt the most when it is sudden and unexpected and we still expect that person to be with us.

  • March 5, 2017 at 6:22 AM

    How true and a very emotional piece. Much enjoyed ….

  • July 24, 2017 at 11:14 AM

    This is a beautifully sad description of a lost love. I have lost love to death, as well, and I understand the depth of feeling behind your poignant words. I am sorry for your pain, and there is none quite like this kind of pain. The memories can be piercing, like a sharp dagger in the heart, or can be softly disturbing, and more tolerable. If you ever need a shoulder, or need to talk, you can talk to me. Thank you for sharing this rich expression of yourself. Hugs.



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