How Death Changes Everything - Real Life Poem about Death of my Nephew

Less than a month

A month away from a year

A dark anniversary

A year of shock

And stifling grief.

Time lost, surreal

With daily reminders

And the thick void

That suffocates--

And life just goes on.

Have to keep moving

And we do

Sure we have

We all DO

But it’s coming back—


Mikael's Door to Heaven

This picture was taken the day after my nephew was taken to Heaven. This photo is the door that God shared with us to show where our boy passed through.The picture was taken from the spot where he left this world. A beautiful sign.
This picture was taken the day after my nephew was taken to Heaven. This photo is the door that God shared with us to show where our boy passed through.The picture was taken from the spot where he left this world. A beautiful sign.

Oh, God, no--

Clock-stopping moments

Of the past resurface.

A blurry phone call,

A dog—a little boy led away.

Rushing in—panic—

Cries, screams,

And too much water.

Why, why, why?

How could it be?


And just like that

Lifted cruelly away

Looking to the sky

In controlled anger

But asking why.

What kind of goodbye--

And how do we?

Watching it happen--

Family and hugs

But little comfort.

I have lost before—

Friendships, loves—

With no explanation

Just gone, unseen

No closure, no answers.

But now I know

It is not like a death

Though I thought it was

No matter how painful

The everyday loss.


The Video Family Shared with Us

The questions and wonder--

It can’t compare

With the sudden end

The sharp cut of death

Unexpected and untimely.

Nothing again feels the same.

Nothing comes without questions.

Nothing is secure or sacred.

Nothing looks like before.

Nothing is safe—ever.

Everyone looks different.

Former joys hold little.

Trust is broken,

Daily life colorless

And all for naught.

Only the hope of beyond

And the long look above

Keep us going

And longing for

The unanswered prayer for peace...


About "Death Changes Everything"

On August 17, 2009, my three year old nephew drowned in shallow water—a freak accident that left his family in shock. I had experienced deep and dreadful losses before—best friends, loves--that just disappeared from my life without my permission. While these losses haunted me and held onto me—and sometimes still do--and in ways were likened to the death of the person, they couldn’t match how the blow of death forever changes people. I wasn’t even as close to my nephew as to my nieces, who live nearby, but the wounds from his death and the pain of my family run deep. And there are the images –the ones I didn’t see but heard about—that course through my head in horror. And the images I did see—the reactions at the service…and I don’t want to think about it.

Looking around, seeing the world go on as before, as if nothing had happened, hits hard (and seems wrong to) the person who is grieving. And it is true that nothing looks or feels the same. People all around are laughing and talking, and even when you catch yourself doing it yourself, there’s the guilt of it. Here’s a poem I wrote three months after it happened, just to give an example.

November 17th: A Poem

November 17th

3 months

And I am out with friends

He’s gone—

3 months

And we’re laughing

3 months

Just like yesterday

3 months

Seems so long ago

3 months

And tonight I am laughing.

And now?

And now, over two years later, I am not the same. And I will never be the same. The world is no longer secure. Our family is constantly in danger in my mind. I worry more.

And I’m not ready to show his picture here, because I’m not sure that’s right at this point. I don’t know what to do about that. For now, I'll share the cloud that God seemed to share with us. Maybe one day I’ll share my nephew with the world.

More by this Author


Comments 73 comments

Cutters profile image

Cutters 5 years ago from South Carolina

I am a man of men and you brought tears to my eyes. I can not ever handle life if something like this was to happen to me. I have 4 kids the youngest is 5. This hits close to home. It takes a lot of guts to share this thank you and I am sorry you and your family had to deal with such an awful thing.


Cutters profile image

Cutters 5 years ago from South Carolina

I got so caught up I also voted up beautiful and awesome as well!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Aw, thanks, Cutters. I pray your kids are always safe....It changes the world....


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

Victoria, your poem is thought provoking. From the time of Plato people have contemplated about death. Even our Messengers like Jesus and the Buddha contemplated on death.

I'm sorry to hear about the loss. Our faiths tell us death is another beginning.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

So sorry for your loss.

Your poem about grief is so heartwrenching and also so true. Anyone who has lost a loved one to death will relate to it, especially if it was the death of a child. It does change our view of the world. With time we do start to heal but we never forget and the ache for our loved one is still there, especially on anniversary dates and holidays and other times of what should be family celebrations. Each person deals with grief in their own way and it's something that can't be rushed. One of the hardest things can be giving yourself "permission" to feel joy without guilt which you alluded to in your second poem. Again, with time we reach a place where nothing is the same but we start to experience moments of joy more often, even if those moments are bittersweet.

Thank you for sharing these poems.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, Cutters, that's sweet. But there's so much more I could say about that experience. Thanks for continuing to be supportive.


lyns profile image

lyns 5 years ago from USA

This story I thought I cried so many tears in the pass but this story has tears falling so many as I read it listen and watching the video, I am speeches but you're in my prayers, I'm glad you were able to write this story of your nephew and show the picture you took it's like the clouds open up and showed he's okay now, keep the memories you have of him I know he will always be missed. So sorry for your loss. Hope you have a lovely evening...


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Good to see you, Vinaya. I do believe that death is a new beginning, but the loss itself is so hard. Take care.


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 5 years ago

Nice one Victoria! Hope you win too! Good luck my friend!

death and loss change us forever ..you are right! But like the phoenix, we raise strong and ready to move on...

LORD


makusr profile image

makusr 5 years ago from India

Victoria,

Greetings from MAKUSR. Your story of death and the lingering pain is heart-wrenching. I am deeply touched by it.

Lots of Love,

MAKUSR


sweethearts2 profile image

sweethearts2 5 years ago from Northwest Indiana

I can not offer any words wiser,kinder or more beautiful than what has already been written here.

There will always be...a time to keep silence and a time to speak...

This is your time to speak and you do so beautifully.

There will always be...a time to mourn, and a time to dance...

This is your time to mourn and you do so rightly.

Blessings as you face these times over and over again.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, happyboomernurse. You're right--holidays and celebrations are never the same again. Our family has done Christmas differently, at a different place, since it happened. I do see how everyone starts to move on but never forgets. Thanks for your kind comments and understanding.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, lyns. You're very sweet. I thought the clouds were amazing. Yes, they let us know that he was okay.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Like the phoenix, huh, Lord? I like that idea. Thanks for lifting me up. I hope you do well in the contest, too. Just read one of your poems today and was impressed. :-)


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, makusr. I appreciate your kind words.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

I'm sorry for your loss and your sad experiences, Victoria. Death is never easy to deal with, especially when it involves a child. I hope that as time passes you and your family experience healing.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, AliciaC. I appreciate your kind words....


Daniella Lopez profile image

Daniella Lopez 5 years ago from Arkansas

Very touching poem, Victoria. I am terribly sorry for your lost. May you and your family find peace. Blessed be.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, Daniella. Good to see you here.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

Outstanding Vicki! A bittersweet tribute to your nephew. Keep on keeping his memory alive. You make me proud to know the Grammar Geek! :)


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Than you so much, Sunshine! It was good for me to write this piece. Thanks for reading it. You always lift me up. It makes ME proud to have come to know a pure and bright piece of sunshine like you! Cheesy, I know, but true!


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

Right back at you! Thank you for all you teach your fellow hubbers and friends :)


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, girl! You're a doll!


Umna Safdar profile image

Umna Safdar 5 years ago

So painful. Death, in any family brings no good but you see, this is how life goes on, this is how God tests us. In such a mess, one need to stand firm and determined (though it's way too difficult). We belong to God and one day we all have to return to Him. May his soul rest in peace. Thanks for sharing.

Voted up.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Yes, life goes on, Umna. We just have to plod through after loss hits us and hope we get through and return back to God one day, as you mention. My nephew is at peace now, I am sure. Thanks for your sweet words.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Is it okay that I don't share this poem with my family? I'm afraid to. I'm afraid to post it to Facebook, because they will see it. Would they see it as a tribute or as a painful reminder? I don't know...so I don't share it.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

It's interesting that my top hub now is a poem. That's unusual. And it's the one about my nephew's death. I think that's very cool and a nice blessing from God. Be blessed.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

What a hard thing to have to come to terms with. I am sorry for your family's loss. What a wonderful blessing the cloud was. The death of a child is extremely hard. You know that you are supposed to outlive them, and then when something happens and you don't, it's so hard to understand. Thank you for sharing your poem... you have shared a part of yourself.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, homestead.... you're so right about the cloud. It was amazing. And sometimes it's therapeutic to share, I guess. Thanks for your kind comments.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thinking of you this holiday season, dear Mikael. Here's to all those who are thinking of those they've lost.


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

My dear, I am so sorry for you and the whole family.. this brought tears to my eyes.. in fact I am crying.It is so hard to lose anyone especially someone so young.. and we can't understand how everyone else can have fun how the world can go on.. this happened to me when I lost my sister. I was devastated.. hurting.. but losing a child is even worst.. Your poem was beautiful.. thank you for sharing. of course I voted up and beautiful...


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, Deborah. Your words mean a lot. I'm sorry about your sister. That's so hard. I'm anxious about the holidays. We're going back to our old tradition at my mother's after skipping two Christmases of going there. I don't know how it will go, but I'm hoping for the best. Thanks again for your kind words and votes. I wish you the best.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Went to my mom's house after missing two years after my nephew's death. It was good. My brother seemed content. We had a good time. I'm sure my nephew was on everyone's mind, but I'm thankful that we were able to celebrate Christmas and each other. Thanks for the encouragement, friends.


Moms-Secret profile image

Moms-Secret 4 years ago from Central Florida

It's ironic that on one of my weakest days, I decide to learn more about the grief that changed your life. I loved your photo. I saw my husbands cross in the sky shortly after his death. It has a very unique shape, so I knew it when I saw it. The skies opened up and poured down angrily for a few days and everything was dark except for that one spot. It was an amazing sign but like you said, it doesn't help the pain. I am so happy that the family was together. I know that it was hard.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Sorry for your pain, Moms-Secret. I'd love to see a picture of the cross in the sky if you have it. It truly is an amazing sign. The passage through....

I'm glad my family was able to get back together again. It really went pretty well.

And your situation? How did you manage to get through your Christmas hoiday? It must be hard for you. Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate your coming by. I really do.


Moms-Secret profile image

Moms-Secret 4 years ago from Central Florida

The first Christmas was a bipolar event filled with extreme highs and extreme lows that ended with uncontrollable tears. Like I said, it was bound to end the same anyway so I was happy to get the good stuff in. The sky opened up for me and I never got a picture. His cross is in the car. Maybe one day I will get you a picture of that instead. I wonder if I am any good at painting. That sky would be a good thing to paint into my memory forever.

I am so so happy that things went well. I had been thinking of you and your family. I wanted it to be good for you.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Moms...how could it be anything other than a bipolar event? I can't imagine the pain you felt at such an untimely death of someone so close. Yet I know how it has affected certain members of my family. I think it's awesome that the sky opened up for you, just like it did for my nephew. That's a comforting thing. Try painting. You never know, huh? Kind of you to think of me and my family. You are truly such a good person and deserve great things. :-)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Victoria Lynn - first I am so sorry - for your loss. The death of a child close to you is a pain like no other. My best friend since 4th grade lost her daughter at 19 years old - 4 years ago. Our girls were 3 weeks apart in age and they were very close too. I feel as if I lost my best friend too in many ways. A wound that will never heal and I so wish we could turn back the hands of time!!

I hope that everyone is ok and I hooe that you find peace in your heart:). Thanks for sharing...I think about Meg ever single day, still.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, RealHousewife, for sharing your experience, too. What a blow for your friend...and for you. It does change everything. I think that in time the wound closes up and heals some, but it's never like it was before it happened. My family is healing. I think we're okay. Thanks. I hope you and your friend have found some sense of peace, too.


Capedium profile image

Capedium 4 years ago from Texas.

Death sure challenges everything.. Captivating title..

It does, everything changes... Beautiful piece of poetry.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Capedium....yes, everything changes after somebody dies, even if some things move on or perhaps even get better after time. Thanks for the inspiring comments.


Cagsil profile image

Cagsil 4 years ago from USA or America

Hey Vicki, I will agree that death changes everything. It's unavoidable. Please accept my condolences. Death usually leaves people with more questions than answers. I know for a fact that death changes things because my life has been changed due to death on many occasions. I can say that it does get easier over time, which means that time does heal. Thank you for sharing such a tragic event from your life.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, Cags. You're right. Death is unavoidable and does get easier to deal with in time. I appreciate your kind words and accept your condolences. Thanks. :-)


ACV profile image

ACV 4 years ago from Philippines

Hi! Victoria..I am actually new here(HP). And I can relate much the feeling of having lost of love ones...I agree you hub here, it feels like my half body is lost when my loving Grandma died, until now she is always in my mind and in my heart and it hurts. The guilt is I wasn't on her side when she died where way back since I was a baby I was always in her side and the moment I went to met my real father it was the moment that I lost her,when I got home I can't touch and kiss her anymore, can't smell her armfit and can't brush her hair anymore(im crying right now-can't stop my tears) it was the most sad part of my life,that was 2004 and until now I still feel the pain of losing her, I miss her so much and all her love and care.Anyway great hub:)


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Sorry for your loss, ACV. Glad you can relate to the poem. Thanks so much for the comments.


kms360 4 years ago

your poems articulate well that unspeakable emptiness I felt years ago when my little brother took his last breath. We were close and I also felt the world is at a loss but no one seems to act like it. I'm in tears, but nice tears. Death does change everything. Thank you.


cleaner3 profile image

cleaner3 4 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

It is so sudden when you lose someone that you love, no closure If's begin to penetrate your mind.I have lost two brothers to accidental death. Know and be rejoiced in the thought that they sit at the right hand of God. bless you. Michael


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

kms--They tell me that it's normal to feel that the world just moves on. I have to realize that, but it's hard. It's good to know that other people out there who've experienced loss can relate to how I feel, too. I like what you said about "nice tears." That makes me think that one day the memories don't hurt so much. Thanks for your comments.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

cleaner3--I can't imagine losing my brothers. We're so close. And accidental deaths are hard to take, I know. I'm glad you have your faith. I have that, too. Thanks for reading. Bless you, too.


Artin2010 profile image

Artin2010 4 years ago from Northwestern Florida, Gulfcoast

Victoria, a beautiful memorial you've written here. Also the picture of the sky is amazing. Voted up, and just now said a little prayer for healing to continue. There are many of us who've experienced loss and it is never easy, but by faith and believing that one day we will be united, we trust God will make it so.Amen Thank you for sharing your heart! Blessings, Artin


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Artin--beautiful comments. Thanks for your prayers for healing. Glad you appreciated the clouds that opened up for my nephew. Bless you for your kind and true words.


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland

VicLynn, I am in tears reading about your nephew and the impact his parting has had on your family. I can't even come close to imagining the horror and sadness. I hope you found some healing in writing these poems and sharing them. ((hug))


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

I'm with Ardie Victoria! Cheers!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, sweet Ardie. Horror is accurate in talking about it. And sadness. Yes, it helps to write about it. :-)


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, dear Lord. Ardie is a good one to be with. :-) Hugs!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

I am so sorry for you and your family's loss. I can't even bear the thought of losing a child. This is a powerful poem and by sharing this I hope your nephew will live on in rememberance. Very touching. :(


PHILLYDREAMER profile image

PHILLYDREAMER 4 years ago from Lodi, New Jersey

I think the pain of losing someone is unbearable at times, but we have to be able to smile again, because that person wouldn't have wanted us to be so miserable.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, tammy. It's still unreal, really, but life does go on....Thanks again for your comments.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

True, Phillydreamer. Well said.


Fennelseed profile image

Fennelseed 4 years ago from Australia

Victoria, I am so sorry for your loss and for missing this hub previously. I can see now the similarity in our words and it speaks heaps of the feelings and emotion we go through in experiencing loss and grief. Our belief systems that we knew before are shaken and threatened and nothing feels the same as before. Your poetry conveys this loss of trust in life and I relate so well to your words.

The image of the figures in the clouds is just amazing, and is evidence that your dear nephew Mikael is safe and is being looked after.

When I lost my son I shared so much with the world including his picture. I regreted doing that and removed a lot of hubs that contained his photo. You will know if and when it is right for you. The cloud image and your words convey the love this little boy has all around him both here on earth and in his new home where eternal love is in abundance.

Thank you for sharing, my best wishes to you and your family, from Annie.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Yes, Fennelseed, I know you understand that nothing ever feels the same. Everything is shaken. The cloud that took my nephew--or at least gave us a peaceful feeling--was amazing. I hope you have found and continue to find peace since your loss. Thanks for talking with me, Annie. :-)


RichusFridum profile image

RichusFridum 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

"nothing is secure or sacred"

a powerful truth

Great write


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

RichusFridum--Thanks for your comment. That line you mentioned is indeed true.


Ellen Karman profile image

Ellen Karman 4 years ago from medina, Ohio

Oh Victoria Lynn, This poem broke my heart! I hope by writing about your nephew helps a bit with some of the pain - I don't know though as I just called my youngest after reading this, she's a freshman away at college and talked to her. And my oldest is on her way to class. I thanked God, both are safe and pray they stay that way. You will see him again someday and I bet he watches over you all. So sorry for you and your family's loss. God Bless, Ellen


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Ellen, Writing about it does help. And even with loss, some good things come out of it. Still, such a tragedy makes me paranoid and wonder when the next one will strike. It's a struggle not to think that way. I'm glad your are safe and sure do hope it stays that way. Thanks for your kind words. You are such an encourager!


Ellen Karman profile image

Ellen Karman 4 years ago from medina, Ohio

Dear Victoria,

After I was in the hospital for so long I went about a year maybe longer I guess waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak. I think that is a natural response when you've been hit with something this painful that when the phone rings you brace your self or get that pit in our stomach at times of it's own choosing! I hope and am sure time is about to change that feeling and you'll eventually notice you don't feel that bad feeling anymore. Sending hugs, Ellen


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Ellen, I sure do hope that bad feeling goes away. I feel it often. :-( Thanks for your encouragement!!


alyxsky2 profile image

alyxsky2 4 years ago from Herkimer, NY

Beautiful poem. I am sorry for your loss. I can relate on how death of a loved one cuts deep. I just recently, about 3 1/2 months ago lost a dear friend of mine, who I considered a brother. And to this day it still feels so surreal. You hit close to home with this one. But I hope you can soon feel happy without being guilty of it. Just think, the ones who have died love you and they don't want you to be sad. I am starting to learn this, it is hard, but just think of what they would want.

Voted up & Beautiful.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

alyxsky2--Your words are comforting. I'm sorry for your loss, too. It changes everything, doesn't it? I appreciate your comments. Thanks!


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 3 years ago from Templeton, CA

How beautifully you have expressed the feeling of loss one has after losing a child. I so badly wanted to write a poem when I lost my Jason, but I just couldn't. I have been able to write prose, but the poem just wouldn't come. Two weeks from tomorrow will mark the 22nd anniversary of losing our healthy, vibrant son -- also in the water. You are right that though you learn to laugh again, you are never the same as you were before, and you never know just what will bring a few tears back, as reading this did for me.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

WannaB Writer - Your comments really touch me. When you said "also in the water," I feel a heaviness in the pit of my stomach. It changes everything about how we view life and death--and everything. I'm so sorry about your son. So, so sorry. Thanks for your comments on this.


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 15 months ago from Long Island, NY

It's one thing when an older relative passes away and we kind of are prepared for it. But the loss of a child drowning is sudden, totally unexpected and life changing. Sorry for your loss Victoria. My condolences.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 15 months ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, Glenn. You're right; losing a child is very different from losing an older person. Writing about it helps. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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