In memorium Beulah Karney Powers, July 1992

I want to write a poem
about your dying.

Itís like this:
Sometimes in therapy,
one of my clients
will just not come to our final session.
This used to bother me
before I learned that clients do this
so they can have the feeling
that I am still there,
that itís not over yet.

I want to say
that you have been a different person
to each of us,
and how maybe, probably, certainly,
each of us has constructed you
as the person we needed you to be,
and how none of those people,
was really you.

And now we have a task,
just as you had a task of dying,
and our task is
to take all those parts of ourselves
that we found in you,
that we made in you,
that we kept in you,
and make them ours,

Our job is to sort though all those parts of us
that we kept in you,
and to take back the ones we need now
and go on.

And I want to say
that this is all necessary and good,
even though itís hard
to be responsible for ourselves,
and itís painful
to let go of our old therapist
or our old grandmother.
Even so
it makes us more, it feeds us,
it helps us grow.

And finally
I want to point
to the double movement
that I picture you making now:

One movement is yours to take,
and itís away, beyond,
I really donít know where,
over the ocean, toward the Grey Havens,
or receding into the mind of God,
away from us.

The other movement moves into us,
it is a movement that you started long ago,
that you and we continued together
and that we now carry on for you.

Copyright 1998 by Robert Elliott

Return to top of page

Return to Family Poems index page

Return to Elliott Family Page