Ten rings later in the oak tree.
Radius etchings tell the truth of living forward.
Closer to fine.
Empty bedroom, not to dinner. Quiet deafening disappearance.
No search party assembled.
Empty wheelchair affixed for helium flight.
Unconvincing logic to limbic smells and sounds, “Was that her shadow-her cry?”
Hair clippers to mourn. The reminder of not fine.
Staggering, limping, walking, living again.
Ring seared chronicles of summer’s laughing, winter’s ruminating, spring’s living.
All the roots go deeper when it’s dry.
I wrote this poem to reflect my decade journey of learning to live forward from our daughter Hadley’s death in 2011. I envisioned a tree’s aging rings, each annual etching telling the story, some thick with growth, others thin but still standing. To live authentic and wholehearted, we embrace our humanity’s spectrum and remind our souls that God is with us and for us, even when.