By: Kathy Gardner

it is hard to answer grief.
‘how are you doing?
can I bring you anything?
are you hanging in there?”

they seem like such gentle and hollow questions,
when pitted against a mother’s horror–

my daughter is less than a mile away
but I will never smell her milky breath at 3 am
I will not wash the flakes out of her newborn hair
my eyes will not receive the gift
of her first doughy smile
I will not discover the tiny freckles on her perfect body
that grew inside me
her first Christmas has been spent outside of my protection
buried underneath the ground.

There is such a cruelty to nature
When it goes wrong

I do not have an answer to their questions
darkness holds my hand
and guides me through the day
as I tiptoe around panic attacks
And push away thoughts of driving into oncoming traffic

I swear I feel her jolt deep within me
But it is just some phantom movement
A trick where memory and hope collide

How am I doing…how am I doing… how am I doing?
I open my mouth and try to answer
a whimper, a crack, a sharp edge
squeaks out.

You secretly hope I just move on
Change the subject
Clear my throat

It is easier that way

No one likes to be reminded that
Souls bloom in the safety and comfort of their mother’s body
For months and months
And then can suddenly be ripped off
From the stem down

They try to offer an answer to my grief with sympathetic platitudes
“It will get better” “Time will heal your wounds” “You can get through this.”

I don’t really care anymore
There is only one question and one answer I am interested in today.

The most human question
Asked in every language since the beginning of time
Not how or where or when
but why


Kathy GardnerAbout Kathy Gardner

Kathy Gardner lives with her husband Charlie and their two busy little boys, Charlie (6) and James (3) in Sandy Hook, CT. Their 3rd child, Tinsley, is already waiting for them in Heaven. Tinsley died suddenly in December 2017 at 32 weeks because of a True Knot in her umbilical cord. Kathy has found comfort in writing poetry to express her grief around losing her daughter and hopes other parents find comfort in her words, too.  She shares about her journey on Less Than One Percent (https://ltop.blog/).

Kathy works in public relations, adores Bob Dylan, and is a proud Dartmouth alumn.

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