Poem: Shopping (after the death of my daughter)

“May I help you?”
The answer is always, “No, thank you”
And then I say I am fine
When in reality my words are nothing more than lies.

My heart is so weary

Of trying to pretend I am feeling cheery.
Behind those laughing eyes
Lies pain on the face in whose falsehood lies.

Broken heart and broken dreams
A false facade hides in those unheard screams.
Pain no one could ever imagine
Fights a fight that no one can ever win.

“May I help you?” The clerk repeats
And again I say, “No,” as our eyes meet.
Things are not okay nor will they ever be okay.
Although every night and day in my heart I pray and pray.

by Lana Golembeski

The Open to Hope Community

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The Open to Hope Community Leader is here to answer questions, provide support, and maintain a healthy, positive environment at opentohope.com. This is the next line.


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  • Jamie says:

    Dear Lana,
    Your poem is how I feel. I am also faking my way through those social situations. Things will never be okay although I hear and see from other moms and dads that a joy may return… someday.

  • Lana says:

    Thank you! My heart aches so…and this was the only way I could think of to express myself.

  • Jennifer says:

    Thanks for letting me know I am not alone in dreading having to go out & “fake it”.

  • Jamie says:

    I may try poetry…I think like your poem did- you can just put it out there. You don’t have to get preachey like my prose sometimes does. Surviving my daughter leaves me in a constant mind game with the world, my old one. Jamie
    PS: jennifer- I hesitate to go to my supermarket where I might see old aquaintences. I find it is easier to keep my eyes to the ground while there.

  • I think the poetry gets some of those feelings out…feelings that are so difficult to describe…that no one understands. I wrote another poem about what happened to the old “me”. I think it might be posted here as well. There is nothing like losing a child…it is a new world…and you cannot see this world unless you have lost a child.

  • Debra Reagan says:

    Thank you for sharing your poem. You are so talented. Shopping always catches me by surprise. The grocery stores and the malls are so hard. The different sights, sounds and smells there remind me of so many different times in our life together.

    My husband and I wrote a poem also about shopping and some of the memories we have.

    Kool-Aid? Makes Us Cry
    It may see strange as time goes by
    how such small things make us cry.
    As we go through the aisles at the food mart,
    little memories tug at the heart.

    We see things that once brought him joy
    during those years when he was a boy.
    When we pass the place where drinks are displayed,
    we see the many flavors of Kool-Aid?.

    There is purple, red and blue
    and several other food items, too.
    We see Fruit Roll-Ups? and pizzas galore,
    Goldfish?, Froot Loops? and many more.

    It may seem strange throughout the years
    these little innocent memories still bring us tears.
    We hope you understand if you happen by
    while we are shopping, if you see a tear in our eye.
    Poem By Alan and Debra Reagan

    My heart goes out to you.

    Gentle Hugs,
    Debra Reagan

  • Thank you. I have the same problem in the grocery store…or dept stores. I see something I would have loved to give Alicia and a silent tear will roll down my face. It is such a different way of crying. I can just sit and be calm and the tears will slowly cascade down my cheeks…as they are now. Thank you so much for your poem…I understand. Hugs to you, Lana

  • Jamie says:

    – I’m a little over a year without Leah and the yearning has resurfaced- hard. I have to brace myself when I visit public spots. Plus I have the summer task of cleaning out and selling my little house where she lived and died.
    Poetry try #1
    Leah I?m in hell here
    My reality is I?m here but you are there
    I cant reach you
    Laura says I?ll see you again
    Buddha says I need to work with my mind
    Insatiable lust for leah
    Will we ever be back?
    To touch each other
    So that I can gaze on your face
    You catch me with your brown black eyes,
    tell me to quit it.

  • Jaime, how old was Leah? My daughter was 26…but always my baby. I feel like you feel….like living in hell. But, our girls would want us to live on and have a good life…for them. We need to live for them! And she is always with you…watching over you…guiding you…wiping away your tears.And someday you will be together again. I know it in my heart. I was doing some reading and these sentences popped into my head:

    Faith is what might be when faced with things that cannot be. It is looking for things that can be, opening our minds to possibilities.

    We must have that faith for our girls! I hope you have a peaceful 4th of July….if we can have peace, then it will be a good day! Hugs! Lana
    ps I loved your poem!

  • Sadness

    The sadness overwhelms me
    It ebbs and flows like the tides of the sea
    I look for her everywhere
    Only to find her absence surround me in the air.
    The fireflies with their light
    Make me wish that I could take flight.
    She is out there soaring high
    Lighting up the evening sky.
    Where are you my special love?
    Are you watching me from above?
    May God hold you special in His hands
    Spreading your goodness through the lands.
    You are the twinkle in my eye
    While the tears flow while I cry and cry.
    I look for you in everyone I meet,
    Only to find emptiness underneath my feet.
    Where are you my little angel?
    Please free me from my living hell.

  • Jamie says:

    Oh Lana that’s nice. The words make me feel that our girls are free and happy despite our grief. That is what we want for our kids- it’s what drives moms. Leah made it to 21 here.
    much- Jamie

  • Vivian Ford says:

    I found your poem today! My son died April 13, 2007 and I feel this way every second of the day!

  • Our girls are so free! And I believe that they do watch over it. I have had so many “signs”. My little girl is very mischievious..but I think she is trying to get my attention. The other day one dragon fly visited me…and then all of a sudden there were probably 30 of them…probably all of our children. And then just yesterday, a humminbird came by me…even tried to get into my house. I rarely see hummingbirds! It has been a couple of years at least! No matter what you believe, the love we have for our children and the love our children have for us is eternal. Love never fails! If you want to talk to me more, please visit my daughter’s site: http://alicia-golembeski.memory-of.com/. Giving you lots of hugs! Lana