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Living with an unbearable loss

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Moving forward into the life you create in the wake of loss

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The night had always belonged to you

The night had always belonged to you,
with me slumbering through whatever turmoil stirred your insomniac heart.
Even when we fought, sleep could overtake me,
leaving your words to seep into the couch cushions between us.

But after our baby was born but not born,
when that first hello was also goodbye –

we became tender, fragile creatures.

And I joined your world of midnight contemplations,
abandoned by sleep,
abandoned by fate.

There was peace in those hours, when the world so newly frightening was silent and dark.

When you realized I was now your sleepless companion,
you started lighting
candles
on those nights when we both lay gazing at the ceiling,
sometimes weeping but
often silent, settling into our grief.

And we talked,
quietly,
gently, and I didn’t fall asleep as you spoke.

Now, those night are more than twenty years past.

Yet,
still, when I envision love,
I see the candlelight flickering its gentle assurance,
your dark profile on the pillow next to mine,
and I hear your nighttime voice, hushed and sweet.

Ann Wagner Foley is a poet at heart, and in her day job, a trainer and project consultant at UC Davis.  Ann lives in Citrus Heights, sharing her home with her devoted husband (Jim), inspiring daughter (Rebecca) and their furry and comforting companions.  Ann finds her inspiration not only from these local beloveds but also across the ether from her siblings, stepdaughter, and friends scattered all over the country.

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