Caption "Lessons in Loss" above clouds low in the sky at sunset
Lessons in Loss

Lessons in Loss 11: Ghosts

I think about loss from time to time, as you probably know if you’re a regular reader over here. I’ve discussed recovery from loss of a baby and other people’s reactions. But, we don’t only struggle or grieve over the loss of a person – whether they were fully-formed or not. Sometimes loss is part of growing into the person we have become, sometimes it leaves us feeling like something’s fundamentally missing, sometimes we can’t remember what it was like before we lost whatever it was. In this series of posts, I’ve asked some of my favourite blogging colleagues to write about a loss that they’ve experienced and how it affected them. You can find the full list here.

Today’s post is by Graham from Middle Age Fanclub. Graham’s blog is an eclectic mix of poetry, commentaries on life as a teacher, football, and book reviews. Can you tell why I like him? He’s as un-niched as me.

Introduction

Hi, I’m Graham and I write the Middle Age Fanclub blog. My blog is the place where I write about more or less anything and everything and generally a place where I can be a bit daft and amuse myself a bit. I do sometimes get all serious though, as is the case with this poem. It’s a poem about loss, but looked at from a slightly different point of view. This is ‘Ghosts’ and it’s my poem about losing friendships, which is something that has hit me quite hard over the years. Don’t worry though; it’s generally been down to geography, rather than the fact that nobody likes me. But, as the title might suggest, it’s something that haunts me.

Ghosts

I think of you often; ghosts.
Either re-living past glories or indulging in imaginary conversations
in the comfort of my head.
Keep in touch, we said.

Sometimes you re-appear from the past
and I blame myself, wonder why I went silent.
The girl who got the job, became the boss is just a miracle really.
The ghost who came back to life and helped to show you just how friendship works.

Other ghosts are far too many to mention, without a crippling guilt taking its toll.
I’ll never know if it was me that drove you away,
but I’ll always ask the question.
Keep in touch we said,
and I disappeared like the dead.

The one who vanished, perhaps hiding the shame of a break-up.
I’ll never know if I could have done more.
Those who had the audacity to carry on living lives without me,
some forever extending their hand,
while I make excuses, ignore the calls, hide in these four walls,
without ever really knowing why.

Those who, like paper aeroplanes, were taken away by the breeze,
and may float close by again,
tantalising like the promise of a meet up in the sign off of a text
until they fly so far that you’ll never reach them again.
Keep in touch we said,
the embers now a dying red.

Then the ones that saw you at your worst.
These ghosts? You’re forever in their debt.
The one who scraped you off the floor, mended the first real heartbreak,
talked you down, walked you round, held your hand,
now relegated to the occasional like on social media.

And don’t forget the girl who looked out for you when work became almost too much,
boosted your confidence, while simultaneously kicking you up the arse
and telling you bluntly, to polish your shoes.
She who mothered you, but when she left called you her big brother,
still cast adrift years later without a reason why.

Those ghosts we lost along the way,
are no longer just there on the other end of a phone
but leave a million shades of regret, of things you never said, of sleepless nights,
and the ever-present pain in the gut that reminds you that you could have done more,
should have done more…

Keep in touch we said
but all that’s left is in your head.

5 thoughts on “Lessons in Loss 11: Ghosts”

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