I wasn’t there when you needed me,
Too busy dreaming,
Unaware of your moment by moment desperation
And wish to end your suffering.
You called but left no message,
Leaving me to question.

What would I have said to you?
No point in playing back the “what ifs?”.
Were you ill or more sane than everyone else?
I remember the times I was enslaved by self-pity and how you
Bore that with patience –
Brings an echo of remorse.

What would I say to you now?
That I found someone to love,
Learned acceptance of the desperate need for recognition and belonging
Reflected in the current struggles to raise our children?
That sensing one’s separation from reality begins a movement
towards wholeness.
You were the bravest person I ever knew,
Full of exuberance, spring-like, yet turned to despair.
Black loneliness and hopelessness are dark roots from which
Something else can grow.
It was and is not all of you or me.
I wish you had found a modicum of happiness,
With more time to learn to live.
The journey has only ever just begun, or so it seems.
Did I ever know you, make allowances for your attributes?
No, and I still miss you.

Geoff Butts

Image: Georges Rouault