Complicated Grief Never Ends - Marilyn McVicker

Grief arrives every day, saying, “I am here; I will not leave; you will deal with me every
day, all the days you have left,” and then is silenced, momentarily, by a sunset, a
symphony, a smile, a caress, a voice on the phone, a slip of citrus biting the tongue.

Accepting grief in one hand, hope in the other, hope which doesn’t mean holding out for
a miracle, hope which doesn’t mean living on the bright-sided, unfounded drug of
optimism,

but hope that embraces the black-eyed Susans smiling from the vase, the steaming eggs-
over-easy, breeze coming up the cove through the window, cats purring on the porch,
the full moon waking me at night, shining on the bed.

Complicated grief never ends. There is grief we cannot get over, unattenuated grief,
ambiguous grief, the sweet and utter emptiness of missing loved ones, dead, absent to
dementia, unable to visit, missing in action,

health scenarios that cannot be healed, situations with no solution, divorce, poverty,
immigration, chronic illness, the Holocaust, Civil War, genocide, terrorism. There is no
closure to joy, to hope, or to love. There is no closure to grief, or loss.

To acknowledge suffering is to grasp life by both shoulders, look life in the eye,
authentically, and say, “I see you”. To acknowledge loss to ourselves, and to each other,
is to say, “We have so much in common; more than we ever knew.”

Marilyn McVicker had her first poem published in 1980. Her poetry has most recently been published in Kakalak, Earth’s Daughters, Red Clay Review, and The Prompt. She has published articles and essays, a non-fiction book, Sauna Detoxification Therapy, with McFarland & Co., in 1997, and a poetry chapbook, Some Shimmer of You, with Finishing Line Press, in 2014. She has read her poetry at Western Carolina University’s Literary Festival, the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival, local community colleges, libraries, and other venues. She is a member of the Author’s Guild, and the North Carolina Poetry Society, where she mentored under Dr. Richard Chess, in 2012. She currently works with Pat Riviere-Seel, author of three poetry collections. Marilyn’s fascination with words and self-expression stems from her previous career as a solo flutist and music educator. She retired to a remote cove in the rural mountains of western North Carolina.