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When I Think About Death - Poem by Cassie Kinney

When I think about death, I think of the routine that all family members go through: call the ambulance, identify the body, decide whether to purchase a casket or have a cremation. That will take several hours and several thousands of dollars. Do you buy a plaque or one of those standing tombstones? Another thousand dollars.

Then you make funeral arrangements, put an obituary in the newspaper; and make those special cards with your loved one's face.

You look at their face within the oval on the card. It is a faded portrait of a moment in the '70s. And you see yourself in the oval as if it were you. Here I will be placed in sixty years' time…

Now the food, and flowers, and little things that go along with the modern funeral industry.

While you're grieving and walking alone through parking lots, it's raining but not even the grey abyss can blanket your thoughts.

With a sigh, you enter a store. Peruse through aisles of food. Grab funeral food. Funeral Styrofoam cups, Funeral paper plates. Funeral napkins.

Funeral. Death. My Father's Funeral. My Father's Death. Whom I hardly spoke to in the last eight years.

Dad, I know it must have been difficult when you and Mom divorced after 18 years together. I am glad you remarried and found happiness with your new family.

Maybe I was too focused with college, and my boyfriend, and my life. Maybe I didn't like your wife, so I didn't come around much.

I may have missed some holidays with you, but wasn't it awkward when we shared them?

When you remarried, you interacted with me differently. My Rope sandals, the bead in my hair, my lifestyle, everything about me became weird to you. And when I dropped out of college, I felt like you were disappointed with me. Altogether, I am a freak and loser to you, and I am the 'lost cause' in your life.

Your other children are a little weird too, and you cannot communicate with them either. Chet and Marissa, are your good kids because they still come around to see you, and they still go to Church.

Jake and I are your Godless children who care less about our futures. He, Jake, your youngest son, your 'popcorn fart', grew up without you during his adolescents.

I know you think I have had a lot of influence on Jake too- which is why you worry about his lack of motivation. I'm sorry Jake couldn't stay the 7 year old boy that played Little League baseball- who would play video games with you- who always said he loved you.

In the last five years, he didn't say he loved you. Now, he is relieved you're gone so that he doesn't have to deal with the cumbersome part of his life where we'd all get together for Thanksgiving and Christmas (two holidays I also despise) .

We couldn't stay young. I know you wanted me to stay twelve- when I would go hunting with you—shot rifles and bows and arrows- went to church every Wednesday and Sunday morning and evening. You wanted the girl that didn't develop boobs or start her period. You just wanted me to be the son you felt like you didn't have (although you had two) .

You think I am a sinner for cohabiting with my boyfriend since I was 16. You and your wife think I am going to Hell because I do not uphold the same religious values, and I do not worship fictional books of egotistical Gods.

Now, only can I speak to you as if I am the same 16 year old girl whose boyfriend moved in when you left. Maybe you resent me, or my boyfriend, or yourself. Honestly, I resent you, because you got off easy!

After you left, and my boyfriend moved in, Mom placed the parental roles on him and I. All the things you were supposed to do for the family were things I got stuck doing. I don't want to be the other parent supporting and managing this house and these kids. It should be you, not me.

I resented you because you get to be free and live your life.

I resented you because you took my adolescents away.

You have no idea what I have been through in the last eight years...I have had several pregnancy scares...In high school, I took a lot of over-the-counter pills at once for my insomnia...I cried a lot through my teen years and often cut my inner thighs and arms with needles...

In college, I drank a lot of booze, so much so that I became an alcoholic and finally quit once I dropped out...Throughout my life, almost every day, I think about killing myself...

I saved you from knowing this information about me. I have my secrets, your other kids have their secrets. Mom has her secrets- some I have found out by snooping through her things.

Funny enough, I know a secret of yours that I could never tell until now...And you certainly would never want anyone to know...

I know the reason you started attending Church and listening to Gospel music. You stopped drinking and stopped hanging out with your friends altogether...I know the real reason...

One night when we slept over at Lyndell and Jenny's with their kids, I couldn't sleep, so I went to bathroom. Before going to the bathroom I peeked into the living room from the hallway- to see if any of you guys were still awake-

Both you and Lyndell were sitting on the couch against the window, where the moon light shined just a little on his back and your shoulder of the dark room. Maybe I didn't see correctly, or I was just imagining things because I had stayed up all night with Lyndell and Penny's kids... I understand you, Mom, Lyndell and Jenny were playing cards all night and drinking heavily.

Several times after that moment I kept a curious eye on you.

A different night, one of your other guy friends, from work, came over to the house- drunk- while Mom was working that night- and you two sat in your truck. I peeked out of the window to spy on you, admittedly. I see your back pressed against the driver's side window. Your neck and head are moving a lot like you're jerking. Still I am not sure what I saw that night, either.

Really, I did not want to have these thoughts on the day you died. Or embarrass you in my thoughts...All I wanted to say was I wish you didn't judge me when I do not judge you. I truly regret avoiding you in my older years. You could have made an effort to talk to me...

But so could I.


by Cassie Kinney


Comments about When I Think About Death by Cassie Kinney

  • Rookie - 255 Points Cassie K (7/26/2015 11:12:00 AM)

    To be clear, this poem is not a reflection of me. This poem is fictional, and completely fabricated. (Report) Reply

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  • Gold Star - 73,771 Points Roseann Shawiak (7/26/2015 2:50:00 AM)

    Very realistic look at life when your parents divorce and one remarries. Where do you fit in now, are you loved, is it your fault? Thoughts like this fill your young mind with dread. Immaturity dictated how you reacted to the situation, it was not your fault, you didn't know how to handle this grown up situation, you were only a child. Now that your father is gone, how will you handle your grief, regret, disappointment? A tragic state of affairs, I wish you the best. Maybe with your Mom you can find a middle ground. Thank you for sharing. RoseAnn (Report) Reply

    Rookie - 255 Points Cassie K (7/26/2015 11:10:00 AM)

    My dad is not dead. Much of the poem is fabricated and completely fictional.

  • Gold Star - 17,659 Points John Westlake (9/8/2014 2:57:00 AM)

    Much anger and sadness can be felt in this poem. It's never easy when parents separated as you can sometimes think that it can be your fault. You can often end up siding with one or the other and getting closer to the one you side with. Obviously when the other end up getting married, you feel even more left out and angry and this is understandable. When one of your parents dies, there is always a feeling of I could have done more. Try not blame yourself for how things happened, you can never go back and change them. If you could, your attempts to correct the past can only make things worse. Try to enjoy life in the hear and now, and look forward to the future. (Report) Reply

    Rookie - 255 Points Cassie K (7/26/2015 11:11:00 AM)

    This poem is fictional, and my dad is not dead. Most of this poem is completely fabricated.

Read all 5 comments »

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