math problem

when john died,
i blamed myself.
turns out my siblings
blamed themselves too.
how does that work
mathematically?

it’s like one of Etta’s
story problems
that she fusses over
at the kitchen table:

john senior and marge
had 5 girls, 2 boys,
and then 2 more girls
(which is clearly too many,
already the problem seems
unsolvable)

A:
if the first boy
dies by suicide
how many lives
are irrevocably
shattered?

B:
by what factor
is the pain multiplied if
we don’t talk about it?

Challenge Problem:
if another sibling
14 years later
also dies by suicide
and everyone blames themselves
and nobody talks about it
a. how do you go on loving
b. how do you go on breathing
c. how do you go on?

 

Veronica Beck

Veronica Beck is a technical writer, blogger, and formerly reluctant parent.

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Judy
Judy
9 months ago

It’s a heartbreaker…

Jeanne Waters
9 months ago

Thanks, V, I love your writing-beautiful poem! and the photograph is very powerful. So touching to see all of us together. The images of Barbara and John create wind inside me, then fire.

julie
julie
9 months ago

Every time i read this, I know it is so true. And it is sad.

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