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  • Writer's pictureDenishea Young

I’m Thankful for…

In honor of thanksgiving here is a poem of just why I am so very thankful for my mom. Let me preface by saying this isn’t your typical happy go lucky thanksgiving poem. However, it is a meaningful one that highlights the inner child that resides in us all that still wants/needs our mother’s presence, love and care.


Please enjoy and I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving:


Please Don’t Go


Anxiety, Depression, Procrastination, and underneath it all Fear.

Fear of mortality.

Not mine.

I have eyed my death, examined it closely.

Held it under a microscope and studied it with the critical eye of a scientist and the jaundiced mind of a trauma victim.


No it is not my death that I fear.

At least not right now. That reminds me I still need to do my will.

No, my fear is old from the moment I was born.

It will always be there.

In the back of my mind.

Even though I know it’s a story as old as time.


I fear my mother dying.

Of waking up and knowing she isn’t there anymore.

Not a call away.

Not a sit through traffic, wait at the light, pass others by, turn here, then pull into her driveway.


I fear going to her funeral and saying goodbye.

Of being all alone without my rock.

My foundation, my core.


I asked myself when I got that text?

What am I without you?

How can I be, when you aren’t here?


Yes, I will have my siblings.

But I’m the oldest you see.

The protector, big and strong in mind.

But I always had you, a smiling guide

A shoulder to lean on.

One to soothe my troubled mind.

So where will I go?

Who will I be?


Because when I sit still,

examine my life, and listen

to the feelings underlying my

anxiety, depression, procrastination

I realize I’m not all that brave.

I’m shit scared.

I don’t want to wake up in a world without you in it.


Heck I haven’t had kids yet.

You know one day in the future they're coming.

I want you to see and know them.

For them to know you.


To call you grandma and give you hugs and kisses.

To fight with me about going to visit your house every weekend.

Even though they just got home.

I want them to call you on the phone just to say “hi, I love you grandma.”

I want to be able to pick up the phone and listen to your voice, ask why I have called and to reply with a silly grin, “I was just calling to say, hi and I love you.”


I know it might be the natural order of the world.

We are born, we live and we die.

Each previous generation leaving before

the next and

the next and

the next.

Leaving their descendants behind to face the world and go it on their own.

Leaving their mark and their descendants forever behind.


But just the idea fills me with a chill that invades my bones.

Makes my eyes fill with tears and the urge to cry.

To lie down in the dust of the desert,

open my eyes to the sun

and never get up to struggle anymore.

I don’t want to be me in a world alone.


You know, Kanye was never right after his mom passed.

I don’t want to be like him.

He just ain’t right.


You know, Noah, David and Sophia’s mom passed.

They don’t seem to be whole anymore.

Their center’s gone.


You know, many of my coworkers' moms have passed.

They still tell stories of their mothers.

They keep them alive through passing their legacy onto others.


You know, your mom has passed.

You have voicemails and pictures and play them any chance you get.

You tell stories.

You post them on Facebook.

You seem sad but accepting of it.


I don’t know, that I would be.

Not yet.

It’s too soon.

What will I do, without you?


i sound so selfish, don’t i.

Worried about me.

My feelings,

my fears,

my circling thoughts of you not being here.


Should I not concern myself with you?

With your thoughts,

your fears

and your concerns.

Should I not just stay in the moment and simply be?


Don’t stare at the bandage,

Don’t research the illness.

Stay ignorant.

Just ask what you need and provide it without greed


I’m trying.

But for a straight week.

I’ve been lying in bed filled with dread.

Too afraid to move lest I find out that you are dead.

Too anxious to write.

Too anxious to concentrate on school

Too anxious to do what I know I need to do.

My jaw clenched so tight that I’m cramping

Body so held so taunt I’m snapping.


How can I, when I haven’t faced my deepest fear?

That I am only now realizing has never healed.

I’ve faced this fear before.

Had to be in charge.

Had to get my siblings

Was separated from them

Was told to be quiet and go here.

Be good and stay still.

Listen and don’t speak.

We will tell you when something peaks.


I was tasked with a choice and I made one different from the one you requested.

I messed up and I have forever kept it hidden.

Sometimes I take it out and examine it under a flashlight.

What would life have been if I’d made a different choice?

What would have happened, had I not gone in the back room to be examined and come out to find my aunt had taken my siblings, and left me like a used wrapper behind?


What would have happened

had my other aunts and my grandfather not fight her for them?

When you couldn’t and no one would listen to me?

What would have happened had you not ever come home to us?

Would we have been passed around our aunts like unwanted tissues?

Seen as used, tainted and unclean.


What will happen now?

I am scared.

Because I’ve just realized I never got over that trauma

And that young girl who I thought was buried and gone is screaming at me.

Don’t let her leave me!

Don’t let her go!

I don’t want to be all alone!

The only protector of my family…


So yeah it’s been hard to move.

To go through the motions

To act like everything is okay.

When I know it’s not and I’m afraid everyday.

Because imagining a world without you in it is a nightmare that I have already lived through and I don’t want to do it again.


So mom please stay a while.

Let me get big and strong.

Stronger than that scared little girl who screamed at the world and was only told to be silent.

Let me get a foundation, a base.

Let me have a place.

Let me build my voice.

Please mom don’t go.

Not yet.

Please don’t go.


I promise when I’m stronger, I won’t hold onto your hand so tight.

I won’t scream and cry and beg into the night.

But I’m not there yet.

So mom please get well.

Please don’t let me see you in a hospital bed.

With tubes in your mouth and hands.

With you unresponsive to what I have said.

Please don’t go into that quiet good night.

Because I’m terrified without you in my life.


i sound so selfish don’t i.

I love you.

I always will.

This isn’t a guilt trip

This is real.

It’s hard living in a world when knowing no one truly loves you the way your mom does.

It’s hard imagining such a world.

It’s hard to grow up and see that I am okay.

You're okay.

When it feels like everything is one slice away from changing, shifting and no longer being what it once was.

So forgive your eldest for her weakness.

Ignore the tears and the silent weeping.

I’m older now.

No one will shut me down.

I will follow your will to the last letter.

I will do better.

I will be the protector.

I will hold our family together.

You just get well.

Tell me what you need.

And I will do all I can

guaranteed.


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