Elegy for Suzanne

In preschool you already knew that tilting your head to the side a certain way
made adults stop and stare.
Large brown eyes and elfin face, hair like night,
With a smile forever just dawning.
Daddy’s princess and Mommy’s most wanted baby girl
We all heard the story again and again about the miracle of you;
I might have resented you
But I, too, was enthralled.

Always the same
Everyone’s golden girl,
The one we loved best
And rescued, and pampered, and pretended was whole.
You were always singing and laughing
Hiding your pain in your humor and music
In the end you took your own life
When your final misadventure took its toll.

It was this time of year when your daughter died.
Not yet 18 and hit by an inebriated driver,
We all put our differences behind to bury her
And make memorial Rosita Kittens at the Tennessee mall
Build A Bear.

Was it that loss anniversary
and that memory that pulled you deep into the well of despair that fall?
Or was it everything, maybe nothing at all?
Depression is like that, unpredictable,
Yours as dark as your childhood suns were bright.
And you did your own unpredictable medication routine
With your equally unpredictable and cruel husband
Bearing his beatings for the feel of the elixir he brought for your veins.

I will think of you each autumn and swing in a swing,
Tell a punny story,
Maybe climb a tree
I will remember you as a child;
As a teenager singing about the small house of Uncle Thomas
On your high school stage;
Young mother with the shining eyes of joy;
Danielle’s mother at her graveside, shoulders bowed in grief.

I will not remember the bruised face and arms
The lies and attempted manipulations,
Or the times you stole money, or refused to leave him
As anything more than symptoms of your disease.

One thought on “

  1. Joanne, this is so amazing-That I knew her and that I can see the love you have for her in your words. Your words paint such a sad picture- but truth does that sometimes.