Posted in: death, family, grief, grieving, hug, hugging, karma, loss, poem, poetry, reincarnation, writing #amwriting

Deaths in Karmic Batches

I’ve read that when people reincarnate, they may do so in batches, sticking together for their progressive learning. I find the idea mostly pleasing. But I hadn’t thought about how that might call for group exits. This fall-winter has knocked me on the head with two deaths. First my beloved brother (my only sibling) on October 10. Now my stepmother, January 19, last week.

Death’s absoluteness blindsided me. You can’t plead for just one more phone call or visit. You can’t ask a departed person to send you an occasional text message saying  they’re doing fine in that foreign country called the afterlife. Whatever language they speak there is mostly incomprehensible to me. Grief is in the silence.

To process my karmic batch of exits, I write, of course. Today my stepmother’s body is being cremated. It’s a hard fact. I awoke into it not happy. But the impenetrable is what writers write to penetrate. We try to write our way behind the curtain, even when that’s impossible.

Death Is Not Subjective

You can’t negotiate it, finesse, or spin

it visceral skull-hardness

into soft-sweet resonance. You can’t flex it.

When I touched her folded, white hands,

I felt permanence. And impermanence

seared me in its icicle grip. I forgot to eat

all the rest of that day,

but then I followed it with a binge,

because while I am still alive

I need to learn the lessons of being

by hand, tongue, skin, and muscle.

By illness and overeating,

exercise, and petting my dog’s

silky strands. Chill fog is the right element

today, this day of a disembodiment,

winter tucking deeply in, life whirling

in sharp flakes inward,

behind a white curtain.

The road ahead

unclear, yet I travel

deep into the till then unknown.

I need to cherish even fatigue,

and remember what my brother told me

on his last day: to hug harder.

A hug is not subjective.
Visit for more information and writing by Rachel Dacus.