You Didn't Tell Me You Were Dying
'Forget Me Not'
Death of a Friend
You never told me you were dying,
So when your daughter's letter came, out of the blue
I was shocked. I'd never lost a friend to death before.
St.Swithin's day should have been your fifty-fourth.
You were cremated ten days before.
I'd just sent a silly card with my usual joke about the rain.
I knew you had cancer but thought you'd overcome it;
Assumed you'd won your fight for life.
Even after the breast op. and the reversible colostomy,
Your letters were still optimistic.
I was busy having babies and you sent some matinee coats.
You know how it is with babies -
No time to write or phone as frequently as before
But I felt so guilty when that letter came.
If you'd told me you were dying.
Final goodbyes may have proved too hard anyway.
The last I heard from you,
You'd just had double-glazing installed.
Dying people don't bother with new windows, do they?
Perhaps you never realised how ill you were.
Less left of you now than those baby clothes you knitted.
I'd have come down south to visit if you'd told me.
Could it be you didn't want me to see you so ill?
You were always the funny one,
Making silly puns and wise cracks
Your way of dealing with bad news.
I could never imagine you being serious for very long
About anything, and, If you'd told me you were dying,
At least I could have thanked you for being my friend.
© 2015 Stella Kaye