My husband died …

My husband died
I’m sad to say
On the 30th of May
Two thousand and one.

A dreadful day
So sad, so bare
You really cannot understand
Unless 
You were there.

I felt so lost
So ill at ease
So numb, so sad, forlorn.
This really wasn’t
The plan at all.

My world had stopped
But others carried on.

We were by the door
On our way out
Me to work,
James to child-care.

The phone rang
I picked it up
Gaban had died
The night before
In an accident
North of Basra
Hit by a truck
Three in the car
All died together.

How to take it in
And comprehend
What I was told that day.
It cannot be true
How can it be?
It’s not fair, not real, not ever.

Disbelief and non-acceptance
Are the widow’s weeds
Questioning, querying
Trying to understand.

But there are things to do
People to tell,
Arrangements to be made,
And maybe it’s just as well.

They provide distraction
Purpose and direction
In an otherwise
Totally desperate world,
Devoid of light
As darkness falls
As into the tunnel
Of grief I strayed.

Blackness all around
What’s the point?
Why carry on?
Listening to every sad song
When the light in mine
Has gone.

I love him
I miss him so very much
All our hopes and dreams
Dashed.

I hadn’t felt anything
Wasn’t that weird?
We were so close
I should have felt
Something …
He died alone
In a strange land
I felt so guilty
I wasn’t there
To comfort him
To be with him
To share
His last moments on earth.

It’s strange how your mind
Deals with these things
My subconscious
Was in overdrive
I dreamt about Gaban 
Every night
Dead or alive
I walked with him there
In the dark of the night.
It was comforting
Sometimes, not always
As I woke 
To reality
And he wasn’t there.
He was dead you see
But it took me
A long time to accept this.

He’d driven from home
And we’d waved goodbye
Six months in Iraq
He was headed for
We had plans to meet
In Amman
Three months down the line.

He travelled a lot
So my son and I
Lived alone and together.
Dad not a regular fixture.
It took ages for me
To understand
He wouldn’t arrive one day
Open the door
And walk right in.
He often went away 
But always came back
So why would this time
Be different?

His body came home.
I didn’t want to see him
Lying in his coffin.
Maybe if I had
I’d have accepted quicker
The truth of the matter.

His funeral came and went
Friends came
Which was so special
To say goodbye to Gaban
It was lovely to see
So many familiar faces.

Afterwards life has to carry on
How to do that though.
James kept me on the straight and narrow
Without him I’m not so sure
Where I’d be.
I had a purpose
Some meaning
My son to care for
And bring up
A reason to keep breathing.

People say
The first year’s the worst
But what do they really know?
It is hard 
Birthdays, family traditions
To go through
Without the light
Who made it all so special.

My heart 
Was and is still bound
To that person
Who unbelievably
I can no longer see.
It is the finality
That is the cursed reality.

© Gill Tembo 2019



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