Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Raw With Potential

You stole across my soul
like midnight clouds
on moonless night…
I simply couldn’t see
where it all would lead.

Overtaking my heart
like a storm at sea
Your every mood
every action
every word
a miracle, 
endlessly fascinating,
a riotous joy.

Pieces of me I’ve given before,
and never missed a one.
Until you took yours home with you, 

and left us behind.
I never saw in you a cruel intent
aimed at my heart.
Oh no,
we were never that
to each other!
Although those without conscience
would covet you
as a weapon most lethal
to those best beloved.

Pressing my soul to paper,
an earnest parting kiss,
I remember it all
from pinnacle of joy
to chasm of despair…
and try to love the World more

because you were in it
once upon a time…

Try to forgive them all,
even myself,
for pain inflicted,
for not being more,
being better,
being whatever you needed most,
for not answering your bright potential
with our own.

Like a hero returning home, 
you were the best example
of how we all should live.
although most of this life
was only a latent dream,
a shell too small

to house such a soul.

I see now
that I’ve loved many
just for who they could be
if they chose.
Unlike you,
many choose not to fulfill
the Divinity within.

My heart-wound may never heal,
but I’ll keep trying to seal it over
with only that which is worthy;
the memory of all you have taught me,
and teach me still.

I hope I’ve learned at last
to recognize the potential
but love only the living truth
of each soul
as they come my way.
Given a second chance, 
I would certainly give again,
but I would have given you more;
a long life time of love.
Were it not for that single blow,
I might have already followed you
across the Great Divide.
Yes, perhaps best
that I can no longer
return love directly.

each time my love for you overwhelms,
I hand it out;
in gratitude for every moment of Beauty,
a gift to every lost and angry soul
to every child and elder,
innocent or blameworthy,
to every Teacher

who happens across my path.
Because I see your eyes looking back at me
from even the most shadowed corners of every soul.

My heart, a willing sacrifice,
each bloody piece given
in memory of the raw
unguessed potential
hidden in each of us.
Because you taught me
what such potential really means.
You taught me that true love is visceral,
as constant as Change.

Balm for GriefSharp Edge of my Soul, and Raw with Potential are three pieces of poetic therapy inspired by our grandson, Zakary. This piece was written August 5, 2009 in memory of my first grandchild, who left us so suddenly on that date a year before during a tragic accident with a car. Death is always hardest on those left behind, perhaps especially so for those losing a young child… it is hard to forgive all that potential suddenly denied, all the wonderful moments taken from us before they are allowed fruition.

Zakary taught me many things… the importance of Honesty in all things… how to love with your whole being right up to the edge of Life… How to meet that great Transition with honor and acceptance. He is still teaching me… how to let go, and how to find the will to heal. He was a powerful gift in my life, and I try to love the World more because he was in it once, and may be again for all I know. Because one of the greatest things he showed me is that the Love we forge in Life goes with us, and can even continue to grow when separated by that Great Divide. I've shared this piece with some favorite family photos of us with Zak; my husband, our daughters, our son- his father, and myself. 

An important part of my healing process is looking back over therapeutic writes, like this one, periodically to acknowledge how far I've come and to help keep me on track with my broader goals. It has been very important to me to share the stages of progress as I know grief is something each of us will experience in some way. Although this event will be carried in heart alongside my love for my grandson, each day makes it all a little easier to bear, allowing only the best of our memories to survive, and only our love to shine brighter. People like Zak don't happen nearly often enough, but maybe they would if we worked at making our world a better place for them.


  1. Zakary has been on my heart lately. Remembering our friendship on Gather and remembering the lovely and sometimes heart breaking steps we all have taken, it is right to see Zak's precious eyes. Thank you for sharing your life with us Quinn.

    1. thank you, Karen, for keeping a space in your own heart for us :) I could have kept all of this emotional journey to myself, but I thought.... others might need the signposts I leave behind. Just others' personal tragedies have helped me find my own way. xo wishing you laughter, my friend