Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Reflection: Our Last Night- In memory of my sister Alberta

(Note:  This is a re-post from 3 years ago.  This year marks ten years since my sister's death.)
Seven years ago, I received the call that I did not want to receive.  My sister's doctor had called to give his condolences. 

This horrific news left a hole in my heart because I felt guilty for not staying with her the night before.  I thought if I had stayed with her I could have saved her. 

A year later, I composed this poem to reflect on that last night I had with my sister: 

Our Last Night (In memory of my sister Alberta)

As you laid in your pain

(that were hot iron spokes jabbing your joints).

I rubbed your kneecaps.
My warm touch could not surpass your discomfort.

My heart shattered into dull crystal shards.

There was a war inside of you. 
You cried out for your medication.

The morphine patches did not work.

You needed your shot of Demerol.

They shoot horses don’t they?  
Your usual neatly curled hair was disheveled.

The nurse suggested that I comb it.

I climbed into bed with you and knelt behind you.

I brushed and combed through your tarnished hair

and made a part down the middle; a bitter

sour smell rose up my nostrils.

It was a familiar odor

(the odor of my own hair when it needed washing).

You sat still as I cornrowed two Scarlet O’Hara plaits

on either side of your head.

The war had seemed to cease.  
When I was finished, I took my green ponytail holder from

my hair and married the two ends of your braids. You

handed me your favorite scarf
(the one imprinted with all of the countries’ flags).

I tied the scarf around your head.

You turned to me and smiled.

It was a smile that I had never seen before.

My eyes locked with yours and the crystal shards

fused with one another making my heart whole again.  
My medicine lasted a little while; then the war began again.

The nurse came into your room to administer your shot.

You told her where you wanted it.

She forcefully stabbed your right thigh.

You did not cry, but laid there with your eyes closed.

Waiting on relief.
I walked over to you and kissed your moist warm forehead.

I then sat down and opened up my book, “A Song Flung Up to Heaven.”
I peered over a page and heard your brown eyes say good-bye.

As I was writing this; I felt comfort in knowing that she no longer was in pain and I realized that God was the one to save her. 

RIP Big Sis.  Love & Miss you!
(Our Last Night appears in the book Wrapped up in Life with Omniscient Eyes)

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Sandra Proto debut poem at the age of twelve was entitled, The Late Great April, giving homage to the first time it snowed in April. She wrote Late Great April as an English class assignment and her teacher was so impressed by the poem that he tried to get it published. After this experience, Sandra became a "Bedroom Poet" who composed Blackberry Beauty,Light, Compositions, and many others. Blackberry Beauty (her signature poem) was featured in SaSi's Production of Identity @ Space at 24 in 2000. Sandra has performed with the funky, folky, reggae rock band Hudson’s Hope. Her poetry is featured on VAMPIRE LESBIANS and ALL I CAN SEE IS HER EYES tracks of their demo CD. Sandra is also, a fiction writer, playwright, and an essayist.

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