Trigger warning: This post contains content about suicide.
Please, if you or someone you love is struggling, reach out for help. Suicide is preventable. People care about you, and there is help. One place to try is the Jed Foundation.
It’s Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.) Although my topic today is darker, my poem is about comfort, not pain. And this community is always such a joy and comfort! My One Little Word for 2023 is going to stay the same as it was for 2022: FEELINGS. Last year, I wrote: “But, I’ve chosen my One Little Word for 2022: feelings. I want to work on evoking emotion in my writing, giving my poems more heart, and sharing my own emotions more when I’m writing for teachers and such.” I think I’ve made progress on this, but I still have a lot of growing to do. So, I’m just gonna keep chugging along with it! Speaking of feelings…
Today’s poem comes from a hodgepodge of different influences and thoughts. Some of them contradict each other. Here’s a partial list:
- Many of you already know that dancer and entertainer Twitch took his life recently. I heard somebody ask, “How could he do that to his wife and kids?” And I know that’s a very human response.
- I would not begin to presume to know what Twitch or anyone in that situation is thinking/feeling at any particular time.
- I do have family members, friends, and children and parents of friends, who have dealt with suicidal thoughts or ended their lives.
- Liz Garton Scanlon wrote about a traumatic experience (totally UNrelated to suicide) in her gorgeous middle-grade novel Lolo’s Light. The passage was so astonishingly beautiful and painful, like being told the world was ending by someone who loves you and cares about you and is holding you tight while gently breaking the terrible news.
- Any particular real life person’s tragedy is not my story to tell.
- Lots of times, I write poems in first-person, and people assume they’re about me. Usually, I just let it slide, but I didn’t want to scare y’all by writing this in first-person.
- I switched to third-person and female. This poem is NOT about me, nor about Twitch, nor about any particular person.
- I always feel so sad when I hear of those left behind feeling like they weren’t “enough” for a person to stay for.
- This is a poem from my heart, not from any expertise I have. I’m trying to embrace all the feelings I feel, and poetry is one of the best ways I can think about and process those feelings.
- I shared my writing process for this poem with my Patreon Group, and their encouraging comments and messages gave me the courage to post this here. Thank you, my friends!
And for lots of wonderful (probably lots happier) poetry, don’t miss the Poetry Friday Roundup with Catherine at Reading to the Core!
PS Last week, many people couldn’t comment on my blog, getting error messages about too many attempts (even though they only made one). I don’t know what’s going on or whether there will be similar issues this week. So, in advance, I thank you for leaving or trying to leave a comment for me. Don’t stress about it if it doesn’t work!
The imagery here is so beautiful. Death by suicide is a terrible way to loose someone. I’ve known a few. I believe we need to talk about it. Process it. And make beautiful poems.
Thanks, Margaret. It’s such a devastating act for everyone…it ripples out. Thanks for your encouragement :>)
I come back to the final lines of this repeatedly. That is the most beautiful, comforting thought, when you feel like you weren’t enough to hold someone to this world… (and that’s not our job, I know)… that this person wasn’t a naturalized citizen of joy, but just for a while she was able to dwell there.
That just brings me to tears.
Thank you so much, Tanita, for coming back to visit and comment, and for embracing this. <3