Today my niece would have been twenty-one.
They’re weird when the person we wish to celebrate is instead memorialized, made tribute-to.
Grief is weird.
Today, I’m sharing the poem I wrote last year because I don’t think I can do much better – but I’m adding an encouraging post-script for those of you who make it to the end. Thanks for reading.
should be marked
by cake and ice cream,
Instagram posts and Facebook wishes
Or texts, the kind with hearts
And silly memes
that fills the absence.
I draft and scribble out poems in my head:
a catalog of today’s distractions
our conversation in the sun today
the four times I cried
(frustration, grief, happiness, gratitude)
how I wonder if other people
get to talk to those
long-gone, or not-so-long-gone,
or if I am lucky
or just weird
how dumb it is to depend on words anyway –
the arrogance of insisting
life can always be willed
Post-script: In Crossfit, there are often “tribute” workouts dedicated to the memory of those who have fallen, often armed service members or first responders. These workouts incorporate elements or dates from their lives. I thought it was fitting to craft a workout in Jess’s memory, and I put it together with the help of Jess’s younger brother.
I put a call out to my gym members letting them know I’d be doing her workout today. I expected one or two folks to show up and sweat alongside me, but I was floored that so many came out to show their support. Knowing that I could draw on their love and strength brought tears to my eyes.
4 thoughts on “Poetry Month Day 3: Birthday Tribute”
So powerful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really felt them. And I love that so many of your peeps worked out with you!
Thank you! It was a great experience.
This photo – Jess is absolutely beautiful. I am captivated by crafting a workout in memory of someone (I remember your words from another recent post, “sweating in memory.”). It is also beautiful to see how many others came to work out with you in this physical tribute. The poem is incredibly moving – the marking of time, the loss always present, the weirdness of the birthdays without them. My heart is with you, my friend. I am not there to sweat alongside you (I am so not physical -!!) but I am here to read and write alongside you any time. A different kind of sweating, maybe – from the core of the spirit, the soul.
Thanks, Fran. And yes, I feel your presence, and it means the world.