Monday, March 31, 2008

my stepmother.. since 1974

Colleen Bennett Kearney
Feb 21, 1944 - Mar 25, 2008

When is death not sudden?
the finality,
the pain
she was her mother
and his mother
she was a mother
"hey baby"
she would say to her
Who is it that is at peace?
Certainly not my sister
the sounds of grief
like a tidal wave
over and over and over
the sound deafening to my heart
and what miracle is this,
the mere fortune and luck
that my foot would step down
in LA for the weekend
(a pre-arranged trip)
simply two hours after Colleen
was found?
Walking up the ramp I heard, "Colleen is dead".
I needed to be there
for my sister
for my brothers
"oh, your half-sister"
they say
she is my sister
we played barbies
and dressup
dance routines
and 80's bangs
wore ruffles
and rode banana seat bikes
We stayed away from "the boys"
(our 3 brothers)
and wore terry cloth shorts
(with stripes!)
we ate figs from the backyard tree
played hopscotch and swung
and had our first crushes together

and so, I did my best
she kept saying
"just be with me"
"I want to say good-bye!"
"I'll never get to talk to her again...

So I did what I could...
I rode bikes with my nephew
(who asked me yesterday - did my mom cry today?)
and ate sushi with my niece
(who asked me at a stoplight - what is grief?)

And so it is...
now time to sort through my feelings
my resentments and anger with her
my disappointment and rage
the abuse of alcohol,
the 20 years of smoking
(she died of a massive stroke - likely from the smoking)
or perhaps that she lived literally on beer and bread?
feeling trapped in the summers
away from my own mother
some things to be sorted out inside of me...


  1. Helen, I am sorry for your loss; Just know that you have a strong network of friends and family here if you need them.

    "dana prajna paramita"

  2. consuelo5:32 AM

    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I am sorry for you loss.

  3. Mmmmmm... you said all this so beautifully. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Aww hon, I'm sorry. I can only imagine how intense this is for you. I'm thinking about you and sending love.

  5. You are such a beautiful, beautiful person. Such an artist! What a wonderful way to honor the experience of someone passing...