Five stages of grief

A poem about profound loss and healing.

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(Staff Illustration by Adelaide Miller)

Denial 

Knowing her days were numbered but

texting one-liners instead of love letters.

 

Feeling the liquor burn my insides

just so her smiling face,

a smudge in a photograph,

could say, “I love you too.”

 

Falling to my knees in the therapist’s office,

looking to the Heavens, challenging God, 

“No, you’re lying, you’re lying!”

even though I know He was not.

 

Anger 

Longing to bury myself in her.

 

My screams falling on deaf ears because

she buried herself first.

 

Bargaining 

Clawing at the noose around her neck

but shutting my eyes when she unravels.

 

Depression 

Crying when I speak her name in the past tense.

Wondering through tears if it would hurt 

to lose myself, 

wasting away beside her.

 

Falling victim to my own body 

malnourished, motionless,

lying in a puddle of my own sweat.

It only takes a few hours

to make me hate myself,

but I stay that way for weeks.

 

Acceptance 

Knowing she is no longer a body, much less a life.

She is nothing but ashes

beneath the frozen earth.

Letting her memory bring me warmth and intimacy.

Saying goodbye and promising

“I won’t die young too.”

Denial
Knowing her days were numbered but
texting one-liners instead of love letters.
Feeling the liquor burn my insides
just so her smiling face,
a smudge in a photograph,
could say, “I love you too.”
Falling to my knees in the therapist’s office,
looking to the Heavens, challenging God,
“No, you’re lying, you’re lying!”
even though I know He was not.
Anger
Longing to bury myself in her.
My screams falling on deaf ears because
she buried herself first
Bargaining
Clawing at the noose around her neck
but shutting my eyes when she unravels.
Depression
Crying when I speak her name in the past tense.
Wondering through tears if it would hurt to lose myself,
wasting away beside her.
Falling victim to my own body — malnourished, motionless,lying in a puddle of my own sweat.
It only takes a few hours
to make me hate myself,
but I stay that way for weeks
Acceptance
Knowing she is no longer a body, much less a life.
She is nothing but ashes
beneath the frozen earth.
Letting her memory bring me warmth and intimacy.
Saying goodbye and promising
I won’t die young too.

Contact Asha Ramachandran at [email protected]