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.