We Are The Ones The Dead Leave Behind

We are the ones the dead leave behind:
We, who remain to struggle with remorse, guilt, failure
After she - he - have found the courage
To end their lives.

We are the ones who find them,
Or who receive that sudden unexpected, expected, call:
Our life stilled, lost, irrelevant
In that moment.
What have we to give them, now?
What have we but words said,
Unsaid, deeds done or promised unfulfilled?
What have we to give them now -
Too late the love, the words, the effort
That might have saved them:
Too late this knowing of such sadness and such grief.

So we cry, or force back those tears
Stumbling forward
Minute to minute, hour to hour, day to weary day
Hoping, trusting, wishing
For something.

Or do we - and how often - plan
As they planned
Unable to bear their loss, the grief?
So many plans, to die - and what prevents us?
Some small intimation of life, perhaps
Or our own weakness
For even with their ending how often we lack the resolve
They showed
In that last breathing of their lives
When bleak and utter desperation
Claimed them.

How do we, can we, live when guilt at our living
Wakes us in the late or early night
And we hope, pray, believe:
But this is life - they are gone; dead, taken from us
And no words, no deeds now can redeem or save them:

So we move from night to day to night -
We, the living-dead that our dead leave alive.

DW Myatt