Mourning Before Death
we sit by the river
and like the flow of water
that hasn’t flowed in decades
my eyes become filled with tears.
At ninety-two, my mother is dying
reclined in someone else’s
brown vinyl chair, drooping orchids on windowsill.
television blaring nonsensical dialogue
which she no longer hears,
black and white cat on coral
bed cover, the same color of her horse
which I made her stop riding at eighty
after a concussion.
she wears the floral dress i bought her,
photos of her great grandchildren
along the perimeter of her mirror, names
and birthdays she doesn’t care to know.
yesterday she showed me her breast
and I saw cancer eating at her
like the heartbreak she had
in her youth with fighting parents
and all her lost loves—rivers of tears
flowed her entire life.
and I ponder how we are our childhoods,
and also how different we both are
and always sat beside different rivers.
Diana Raab, MFA, PhD, is a memoirist, poet, blogger, speaker, and award-winning author of thirteen books. Her work has been widely published and anthologized. She frequently speaks on writing for healing and transformation. Raab blogs for Psychology Today, The Wisdom Daily, The Good Men Project, Thrive Global, and is a guest blogger for many others. She’s the author 13 books, including two memoirs: Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal and Healing with Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey, and five poetry collections. She’s editor of two anthologies: Writers and Their Notebooks and Writers on the Edge. Her memoir, Hummingbird, Messages From My Ancestors, A Memoir With Writing Prompts is due out in January 2024 (Modern History Press). Many of her talks are based upon her book Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life and its accompanying book: Writing for Bliss: A Companion Journal. Visit her at https://dianaraab.com.