Paul Simon sang that there are 'fifty ways to leave your lover’ but there are also numerous ways in which the ones we love can leave us.
Loss through bereavement is inevitable in a lifelong relationship and we accept this but the loss of a loved one through Alzheimer’s or addiction, when a physical presence remains though the mind has effectively departed, must be a particularly bitter loss and the ensuing grief, immeasurable.
The following poem is about loss.
His paperbacks are still in order
above the desk. His football boots,
the radio and voice recorder,
old hoodies, t-shirts, office suits,
that he so carefully arranged
hang neatly: all seems quite unchanged.
Such jigsaw pieces give no clue
to who he was beneath the skin.
The childish shape, that he outgrew,
returned as he became stick thin:
a zombie with a shoulder-chip
as jagged as a needle’s tip.