"Well, alrighty then."
               - Sydney Marie Brotheridge
                  b. December 28, 1995
                  d. June 9, 2018

Is the death of a daughter a fable or a myth
Or a reality of grief that inflates one moment
And then, after enough tears have dropped,
Subsides into an uncomfortable calm
Holding a picture with my arm
Around her alive, smiling-faced body?

Is the resting of my head on her shoulder 
Outside a skating rink during a birthday
Celebration enough to protect her 
And, as often as I smile with her smile
Or her smiling with my smile, can it happen
All the time and everywhere?

Is there enough time and can it be measured
Between the first time I held this delicate child
With a lifetime ahead of her and the last time
I held her in Dar es Salaam as she breathed
Her last breath perhaps hearing me whisper,
“You are loved, Sydney Marie”?

Is there a way to find a completely different
Way with which to examine attachment
To a life filled with enough demons of despair 
And with enough angels of shining brilliance,
To find a way forward and not necessarily through
Or over the abyss of deep hurt and great loss?

Is the answer to the great question of Being
Found in the act of a tiny body laid out
On a stretcher being taken to the morgue
Or in a ceremony at the foot of a mountain
With enough gathered loved ones and friends 
Mourning a life joyfully lived and now complete?

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