The Five Stages Of Grief - Linda Pastan

A Non Religious Funeral Readings

The night I lost you someone pointed me towards the five stages of grief.
Go that way, they said, it's easy, like learning to climb stairs after the amputation.
And so I climbed.

Denial was first. I sat down at breakfast carefully setting the table for two. I passed you the toast - you sat there. I passed you the paper - you hid behind it.
Anger seemed more familiar. I burned the toast, snatched the paper and read the headlines myself. But they mentioned your departure, and so I moved on to Bargaining.
What could I exchange for you? The silence after storms? My typing fingers?
Before I could decide, Depression came puffing up, a poor relation its suitcase tied together with string. In the suitcase were bandages for the eyes and bottles of sleep. I slid all the way down the stairs feeling nothing.
And all the time Hope flashed on and off in defective neon. Hope was my uncle's middle name, he died of it.

After a year I am still climbing, though my feet slip on your stone face.
The treeline has long since disappeared; green is a color I have forgotten.
But now I see what I am climbing towards;
Acceptance written in capital letters, a special headline: Acceptance, its name is in lights.
I struggle on, waving and shouting. Below, my whole life spreads its surf, all the landscapes I've ever known or dreamed of. Below a fish jumps: the pulse in your neck.
Acceptance. I finally reach it.

But something is wrong.
Grief is a circular staircase, I have lost you.

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