the question

I cannot say to you
that it is deep spring –
that now when I walk
at the outset of night,
the fields are thick
with frog song

I cannot tell you
that those long talks
under the porch light
were the best moments,
and saved me many times
from myself

you are not here
to hear that these
are also the best moments,
living among the worst –

and that “yes”
would be the answer
if you’d ask again
whether I am happy

but you are not here
to ask the question,
and I am petal-deep
in memories

© Sarah Whiteley

On Easter Sunday, I lost a very dear friend to cancer. We lost him quickly, and because of our current situation, I was unable to hug him one more time in farewell. He was truly the kindest, most generous person I’d ever met. He was thoughtful, and compassionate, and gently pushed others towards compassion. I never got the chance to tell him how his presence in my life changed me for the better – saved me even. For years, he would ask me the question “are you happy?” and for years my answers fell somewhere between “well, you know” and “I’m okay” followed by a shrug. This man who genuinely cared whether or not I was happy never had the chance to hear that I was. I am finally in a space where I have room to breathe, where I am safe, where daily I can walk among trees, where I can feel some peace. And a lot of that is due to this one person who cared enough to help me ask myself what it is exactly that would make me happy. So thank you, dear Leo. I am happy. ❤


  1. Sarah, I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s hard – especially under these circumstances where people must practice social distancing to the point of sometimes not being able to say goodbye. My heart goes out to you. May you continue to feel your friend’s presence in your life. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person


    1. I just keep thinking of the scores of others who are dealing with the same separation from loved ones who are dying. It seems such a cruel twist to grieving. But I know my friend is free of pain now and he’ll always be with me in my heart. ❤

      Liked by 1 person


      1. I keep thinking of that too….dying under forced separation. This reminds me of the polio epidemic in the early 50’s. My big brother (8 years old) died in the hospital under the same conditions. Thankfully they came out with the vaccine shortly after that and hopefully they will for covid-19 too.
        My heartfelt condolences, Sarah. ❤️ Take care.

        Liked by 1 person


  2. “and I am petal-deep / in memories” is such a striking line.

    I am late to this, but please accept my condolences for the loss of your friend. And for the added of sorrow of not seeing him just one more time.

    Liked by 1 person


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