Love of my Life

As I left that day to see a friend, overwhelming sadness flooded, a strain to leave you alone, even for a few hours.

I hugged you and wept, kissed your cheek, felt comforted with you in my arms, you’re used to me getting weepy now, it doesn’t bother you; the cycle of life reminds me, your time at home is swiftly ending.

As I drove, tears flooded my cheeks, remembering the years given to me with you by my side, depending on me to be strong for us both.

I wasn’t in the way I wished, and now I feel gripping presence calling me to make changes, do better by you. My time for taking on the challenges of others at your expense must cease.

Time will slip, the day will come when you leave the nest, and all I will see through blurry eyes is a the piece of me that is you; the core of my heart, moving on to a world I can’t fully protect you from.

The vulnerability and unexplained love I felt for you when you were born, I understand as the most precious bond I have, the most pure.

Our love endures, evolves, and I want to show you I know that what I see when I look at you is real. You, as you are, were and will be, fully accepted, adored, loved and remembered as the love of my life. The only true one.

Emily Cloward © 2018

Words Unsaid

Words unsaid,
It’s time to say them,
I was going to plan a poem for each one,
Each person, each memory that left a mark,
but time is precious and it’s becoming more so
with realizations of my mortality, the world’s.

I love my family. As much as I hide from some of them, as much as some of them have hurt me, there’s a girl who remembers the good times, a more innocent time, when our views were aligned. When Sundays meant going to see cousins and jumping on the trampoline, eating popcorn and cheese, while the adults talked “adult”. The kids played hide and seek, tricks on the staircase, sliding down each one, never a worry of injury,
sometimes a race to see who reached the bottom the fastest. Grandma giving piano lessons in 3rd grade, I couldn’t follow through so I taught myself later, but all remembrance of the keys is gone, even “the Entertainer”, that I used to play nonstop.

I love my brothers, natural and “step”. Such differing personalities, all from backgrounds that led to us being a family of nine. Nine children from one man and woman, combined. I was 19, and it was a lot to take on, being the only girl left in a house full of boys that would become men, including my own brothers who I helped in raising. I’m so impressed with all of them, with our journey as a blended family, with each of their personal stories.

My step-dad, “Pops”, I don’t say it enough, I never have, and it’s some block of conflict, a pull between “two”, my Dad and you, nothing either of you authored; a girl conflicted by having two fathers. I was resistant, I had been through some things, through other “fathers” that weren’t good for my family, then you came along, and through the miracle of time, I was able to see what a miracle you were for my mom, for all of us. Our banter is silly, we goof around mostly, but when I see you and you give me those giant bear hugs, a kiss on the forehead, I know that I’m grateful for how much you love me, and I love you.

You – I can’t say everything, not even close. My heart is still in a cinch over what happened, I don’t understand everything and I don’t understand him, all I know is I wanted to acknowledge the cycles you already lived, shake them, break them, help you heal. With all outside factors that occurred, combined with internal, combined with more “hers”, juggling three planets at once while my own was crumbling, trying to find some hidden meaning to all of the madness so I could take us out of the nose dive we were on, but it feels like you became collateral damage.

I don’t know when the rift will be mended, I don’t know if it will ever be. I just know you’re in my soul and I think about you, hurt aside, because I know we both feel it, as the baby I held at age 20, the little girl in so many of my pictures, still hung on my wall, I haven’t forgotten you. I won’t.

I’m out of words. For now.
Emily ©


Big changes for me,
closing chapters

Sad day for me,
but focusing on others

The ones still here;
the ones that love me, all sides
been through the fires and our hearts are entwined

Friendships with lifelong wisdom,
offering who I am and not being rejected

Not anxious to be in places I’m not meant to be in,
still healing from things that I’m meant to heal from

Open as I always have been,
unashamed of who it is that I’ve become

Some fall off,
they don’t want to see my heart on my sleeve,
but I can’t contain it,
and the ones that see it? Appreciate it?
I feel their warmth today like a hot cup of tea,
going through these changes that are scary,
they hear me,
travel to be near me,
love me unconditionally,
that’s the stuff to hold onto when the world is dark and full of doom,
when the anger is seeping out of you,
even if it’s due,
the strong and the few that get you –

The enduring,
chance taking,

They exist;

I aspire to be one and live to breathe them.

Emily ©

Haunt Me

Spoke to my sister today, far away.
Alone in this state I feel at home;
it was once as a child, beckoning me as an adult.

I needed space away from judgment, from wounds that were too deep to heal,
like the death of my grandparents,
unconditional givers, their house torn down after their passing, my sanctuary from all childhood pain, a symbol that I would have them to lean on no longer.

Don’t drive down 2nd North, you’ll just feel the sting of pavement where your memories once were.
At least you still have wallpaper patches framed on your wall.

I heard you’re haunting big sis, not me, can’t say I’m jealous, maybe I’m just not open, maybe she’s crazy (her own words, not mine), but if I could feel you for one minute near me, smell the smells in that house, or touch your sweet faces, I would give up every petty vice I have to be in your presence again. 

Ten long years for one, and nine years for another, you couldn’t be apart for long, your love endured, and spread to me, a girl often lost and lonely, filled by your faith in me.

I’ll never forget you, my sanctuary grandparents. I know you’re resting in peace, but if you ever wish to visit me, I’ll open myself to the possibility. I will.

Emily ©

Baker Baker (Lullabies)

“Baker baker, baking a cake
Make me a day, make me whole again”

Traditional lullabies didn’t stick when I was learning how to be a mom. Sometimes I sang hymns from church because they were easy to remember, “Love One Another”, being one of them. It had a nice, soothing melody and my daughter seemed to like it well enough.

My parents were really creative and made up their own lullabies for us as children. My father went on a Mormon mission to Italy and learned fluent Italian, and I remember him writing and singing us “Dormi”, the translation of the song is beautiful, and I wish I had it to transcribe right now. It was spiritual in its own right, it spoke of us being children of God, and being protected by him while we sleep.

My mother also created her own lullaby for us in English. They both have beautiful voices, and with so many kids to put to bed at once, their methods worked well.

For my daughter and I, it was one-on-one time up until recently, but she still asks me to sing her favorite lullaby, the only one I’ve really sung to her since she was very small: Baker Baker, by Tori Amos. It’s about lost love and lost chances and pushing people away, but it has a lullaby quality to it. Her music is soothing and melancholic and seems parallel to my sensibilities about life and how words that are healing are often those that are true and sometimes tragic. They prick deep down into your heart and force you to look at yourself and feel things that you may not want to feel. Though my daughter has heard the words hundreds of times, and may not know their full meaning, she knows who is sharing intimate moments with her, singing a melancholic song about the truth of humanity while also soothing her to sleep, cradling her still at 5’10”.