The Reverend Allison Barrett

Loving the World with Words

so loved

Widow/Half a Bed – poems of grief



It’s just the moving forward part

the getting on with your life part

the being grateful for what you had part.


I managed the bleed, the bathroom floor

The hospital, the kids, the family, the friends,

The news, the shock, the devastation,

The brave face, the hope, the optimism,

The drugs, the driving (with you as a passenger!)

The endless trips to be poisoned,

The fruitless efforts to get you to eat,

The pills and needles, pumps and procedures,

And the relentless dragon of bad news.

All you endured we shared

Our one heart beating

Our one breath whispering

words of love at 3 am


Held your hand every time they hurt you

and all through the night

and as your last breaths left you

my darling beautiful one.


I will never let go of your hand my love

But you have let go of mine you see

And tethered by love float above me

In a cloudless sky just out of reach

I rose to the occasion

But so did you, and now

No matter how far I stretch

You are still above me and within me

Beyond me and around me

I am made of you


So there is no moving forward

For I take you with me

No getting on with life

For you are my life


And as for grateful, my darling

I am, for every minute I spent

In the miracle of your love


Making every minute since

Incomprehensible. Unimaginable. Obscene.


So the Academy Award for best actress

in a leading role goes to

The universe’s most cherished wife

In the role of the Merry Widow.


Written on what would have been our 20th anniversary


Half a Bed


Your half  my half

always the same

tried once to switch

but it didn’t feel right


Your side  my side

20 years, 100 beds

Ireland, India, Israel

cottage, camping

blanket in the forest

pop-up camper

waving across to the girls

me from my side

you from yours


A little bit of wrangling

over covers

but if truth be told

there was no your side

and my side when we slept

or when we didn’t

We fell asleep wrapped

in each other’s arms

and sometimes joined

you inside my side

my half and your half

making a whole


And when you died

on your side

I was there, too

cradling you

holding your hands

Your side became my side


That very night

your baby said

“I want to sleep on Daddy’s side”

It’s the place the dog always goes

The daughter still lingers

and after I tuck her in her bed

the way you used to

I lie there each night

on your half

my whole

the air shimmering between us

your half has become my half

I am half what I was.