Her Aloneness Was Too Much For Me

By Jennie Chapman Linthorst

We said good-bye to Todd yesterday. 

Every seat was filled—

men, women, old and young

sat with their memories

at rest in their laps. 


Photographs, videos, and song

opened up our loving of the sweet man

with those gentle eyes

who always saw the best in me. 


His widow, my friend, asked me

to sit next to her,

to honor the places of ritual—

the unchanged seats

of our regular Sundays. 


Fate placed me beside her daughter

as her mommy’s voice held the room. 

Her five-year-old hands

fumbled with a pink ribbon,

wrapping her grief round and round. 


I had to pull her closer,

her little body disappeared

into the upholstered chair,

her aloneness was too much for me. 

My body leaned in,

my arms, my head, my hands

stroked her skin. 

Her tears were so subtle, so soft,

like an elegant old woman

with experience of a lifetime. 

Tissue after tissue, her wise hands

gently wiped her eyes, her nose. 


She looked up at me

when my grief took me over—

watched my tears fall,

my body ache to breathe. 

Her fear, her tender age, her eyes

screamed for answers. 

It’s just love, I whispered in her ear,

just more love.


Jennie Chapman Linthorst, MA, CAPF is an author, advocate, Certified Applied Poetry Facilitator, and founder of LifeSPEAKS Poetry Therapy. Jennie works with men and women exploring personal histories through reading and writing poetry.  She is the author of a book of poems, Autism Disrupted: A Mother’s Journey of Hope.  More information is available on her website at www.lifespeakspoetrytherapy.com.

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