side effects of death at nautilus teachings

after the funeral
what happens to
their clothes,
books, jewelry,
sheri’s father
did not have to make
that decision,
dory had done it all for him.
her beautiful pendleton suits
blouses, shoes, purses…
all were being donated
to a local charity
that gave young graduate women in need
the right clothes
to interview for jobs
and begin their adult lives…
perfume-stayed on her bedside table
her nightgown and robe
on the chair beside it
her convertible-
to sher…
all that was left
were mixed up puzzle pieces
of dory-
her knitting bag was next
to the sofa
her book
and glasses upon
the coffee table
favorite blanket
in a piled on the
love seat she laid upon
her dirty laundry
was downstairs
her handwritten grocery list
still sat upon the counter
next to her 25+
medication containers,
half full, waiting
to pump more poison
into her body…
dory was everywhere-
her colors
had not faded at home
only her warm, loving light
was missing…
she was organized
even in her death
and would be missed

the night after the funeral
her father took the whole family
to their mother’s favorite
italian restaurant-Maria’s.
they were all gathered
munching on salads
drinking wine
whispering with their spouses,
glass of wine in hand
their father stood.
he looked broken
he glanced at the floor
stumbled with his words
at first,
and began-
“tonight we remember your mother.
i know you all miss her,
as do i…
i wish i could trade places with her.
i know you all agree…”
their mouths dropped open
their eyes all widened
they were all in shock and disbelieve-
if you could have asked each one of them
this question
they would have all answered
they wish it was him who died.
for this family
it was the mother-
who saved everyone
including their father,
she fought battles for them
she was verbally assaulted
by her sons and husband
but she stayed
she never left
she held her head high
kneeled in prayer daily
always knowing
sher was there for her…
to hear the words
fall off his lips
so soon after death
stunned them all.
heads hung low
tears began to flow
wine glasses placed
back down
upon the red and white checkered
table cloth
wanted to run…

the restaurant was filled
with families
yet, here they all sat
at a time when
they needed to
share silly stories
reminiscing about mom
remembering how much
she loved to be sun tan
ride with the top down
bake fresh desserts every day
work in the church
how she found her voice
became successful
gave back more than
she ever was given
this is what they needed
but he took it all away in
those few words,
“i know you wish i died
instead of your mother…”
the night carried on
they ate and drank
in mostly silence.
the drive home was
a second death
for sher.
her mother was gone
she would divorce her husband
maybe never talk to her brothers
and father again
all she had left
was nicholas…
the night was warm
stars brilliant in the dark sky
moon was big and hung low.
while her husband drove
the babysitter home
sheri sat staring at nicholas
his blonde halo of curls
tiny fingers and toes-
he was growing up so fast
that it took her breath away…
she wrapped him in his blanket
picked him up
sat holding him
in the chair her mother had given her…
she rocked him slowly
back and forth
watching him breath
smile in his dreams
just snooze away
as if nothing had happened…

she knew he would have no
memories of grandma
accept the few photos
sher had…
her husband came home
and never even looked for her
held her
or let her cry…
she began to spiral
into depression
and sadness
landing her
in a doctors office
with anorexia
and chest pains…
at 27
sher was
living in a brand new home
with her husband
starting her own business
raising her son
all the while
living in the knowing
the madness must stop…
so after being told,
“do not let our son run up to me
when i get home…i need to be alone,
keep him away until i can unwind…”
and shoved against the wall
after hearing her father in law
tell her husband,
“you will loose her and your son
unless you change…”
sher pulled her husband aside
and said,
“i want a divorce…”
for sher
her mother’s death
brought awakening
which would eventually
lead to rebellion…
sher would
end 2 marriages
and raise 3 children
over 18 years
of pain
and suffering
before she could
honestly say,
‘my mother is dead.
i don’t know who i am.
i am willing to give
everything up
to find out who sheri is…’