(Grieving/&/COPING)// F O R  S H A Y L A // The Lost Cousin

So I wrote this poem … and it honestly is the most personal thing that I’ve ever written … it’s about my cousin, who my family lost in December.

It’s what was drawing my attention away from this blog.

Not all of the formatting transferred–I had some lines left aligned, some right aligned.  But I didn’t feel like redoing all of that.

I think the effect of reading it will still be the same.

… please enjoy.


(Grieving/&/COPING)// F O R  S H A Y L A // The Lost Cousin


I dreamed of her again last night,

the same  e x t i n g u i s h e d  flame I had

watched wither and                pass     before me.

Her lips had color this time

hair      flowing                        &         beautiful

something I was glad to see


her eyes were RED

& her teeth bared        under a snarl that—begged

to know Why This Happed to a light so young.



I felt the           danger                         when I saw the                        unvoiced

threat               in her eyes, a                   threat                      against                        the

world of                      m e d i c i n e  that                    f a i l e d  a                            G R I E V I N G

family              after months    of        pain    that will                       continue

for       years,                           leaving us all                           asking





I awoke                       sheets clinging to        clammy skin

With Sweatful Terror.

tears rolled      d o w n  m y  c h e e k

only to                         land on a pillow                      with a  h o l l o w


I remember the image of her.

sweet dead baby cousin

head    half      shaved             the       wrong  way

forehead doubled/matted tendrils brushing neck

c o l o r l e s s  l i p s parted by a  b r e a t h i n g  t u b e.


I remember begging that image

To leave me be.

Leave. me.

I need. To. sleep.

Let. Me. sleep.

And I’ll let you rest too.

Your coffin is prettier than my bed

            Ever will be.



Sheridan holding her limp hand to paint her nails

a shade of pink—her favorite color


aunt is wailing

grandparents crying

the floor thunders when I walk it.


I need to sleep.

this is the fourth night in a row

that i’ve seen her

seen all this

& i know it will keep up.


Her boyfriend was  R O M E O

(we shouldn’t have kept him away)


I spoke to her

the day before she was admitted

she was complaining

of migraines

but her hair & makeup

w a s   p e r f e c t


I wish that had been my last image of her.


Sixteen is far too young,


The pills aren’t helping

god—i didn’t even cry

when they  p u l l e d  t h e  p l u g

but the depth of                                   sorrow

cracks                          beyond my heart         into      the

i c e b u r g

below my surface,

leaving my subconscious to sort out

a l l  t h a t  i  c a n n o t  d e a l  w i t h

without my fingers pressed to a keyboard.


So … uh.  Thanks for reading.

I hope you liked it.  I worked really hard on it–it took a lot out of me.

11 thoughts on “(Grieving/&/COPING)// F O R  S H A Y L A // The Lost Cousin

  1. I am happy that you have at least written about what you’re experiencing. I would give anything for you to be able to be free of sorrow, of haunting dreams, of the vision, of the experience. I know nothing I have can do that for you, but maybe knowing how deeply you are loved can help in some small way. I love you so deeply and dearly.


  2. I know this was hard. Sending all my love.

    P.S. You should always try to write things that come from deep inside. Honestly this may have been one of you best. Keep it up, love you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks so much for sharing, Beth. My heart goes out to you and your family. I can’t imagine the pain of losing so close snd young a family member.
    I see the punctuation as your body language and it helps me understand the depth of your grief.
    I will watch for more poetry that illustrates your dark as well as your light. Both have an integral place in our lives. Take care of yourself.
    Warm personal wishes

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lizzy …. you have such a warm and beautiful soul . Keep expressing your self in your writing.. There are no answers as to why , but in time you will find peace.


    Liked by 1 person

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