What do I say?English poem by: Joanne Hichens
As we sip tea and snack on cake,
a woman asks, “What do I say to the mother
who lost her son in a terrible motorbike accident?
Or to the daughter who grieves her sister, cancer
took her, or to the husband whose wife passed
of Covid?” She asks, “When your husband died
of a heart attack, leaving your own heart broken,
what did people say to help you?”
“What helped,” I say, “was when people said
nothing, really.” What helped?
Deliveries of daily bread, and homemade
macaroni and lasagne, packing the freezer full.
When Lou said, “Mom, do your friends cook
anything other than pasta?” I understood
how melted cheese and white sauce heals.
Nothing gourmet, nor extravagant,
I needed only carbs, for survival.
What do we say to the grieving?
I am so sorry.
Here is a meal for you.
(Made with loving hands.)
(And a bottle of wine.)
And let me sit with you awhile.
In loving silence.