Poem by Ellen Brenneman

My Journey’s Just Begun

Don’t think of me as gone away
My journey’s just begun
Life holds so many facets
This earth is but one
Just think of me as resting
From the sorrows and the tears
In a place of warmth and comfort
Where there are no days and years
Think of how I must be wishing
That you could know today
How nothing but your sadness
Can really go away
And think of me as living
In the hearts of those I touched
For nothing loved is ever lost
And I know I was loved so much

I was originally going to speak at my dad’s memorial service, but now I think I’ll let others do it. I did want to include this poem somewhere during the service, but again now I’m not so sure. Because of this indecision, I’m going to just put it here in the meantime. I’ve thought about a lot of things and done a few things besides working since I’ve been back in Las Vegas. I have a lot of emotions and thoughts to get out. I’m sure some of it will end up in my journal, in poems, and maybe in short stories. I don’t know. The thing I do know is I’m really feeling the effects of having Sjogren’s more than usual, which means my tiredness. I’m trying to find better things to do with my time than play stupid games on my phone. Sometimes you have to take it easy and take a nap for a few hours, only to get back to life and do things. I admit I need to watch a little less TV and movies and a little more exercising and writing. There are some things I wish I had done while my dad was still alive, but now it sort of gives me a more motivation to do the things I’ve been putting off. Even though going home last weekend was unexpected, my dad’s death gave me more perspective in the process of dying and how fortunate he was to not experience a lengthy death. While there were a few times I was surprised at his reactions, I rest knowing there’s no more pain. I looked up poems about death and the staples of Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe surfaced but so did the poem below that was lighter in theme and energy. There is some amount of darkness in death, but I wanted the opposite this time. There shouldn’t be denial or guilt, but if there is, hopefully there is a way to move through it over time, and this is my way of sharing my feelings. I felt numb and didn’t want to feel anything when I found out my dad wasn’t doing well. I still felt this way when I arrived at the hospital. I hoped he would come through it and start eating again, but when it was clear he wasn’t going to, I wished the process would be quick. When Sunday rolled around, I was regretting I had to leave back for work and couldn’t stay. I am still in the training process of my new job and will be until March and will still be learning even then the new systems. A part of me was relieved when he passed because it wouldn’t put the burden on my brother and mother to take care of him at home. I knew he had been well taken care of and we had done our best to make him comfortable. I know death isn’t new and neither is a parent dying. What is different this time is I have pictures and positive memories of his life and for this I am lucky and grateful.

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