“What’s Left” is a poem by Heartstrings father Chris Ward, commissioned in recognition of the 11th Anniversary of the Walk for Remembrance & Hope. We thank Chris for sharing his journey in this beautiful piece of art.
-by Chris Ward
The alarm clock crackles from across the house.
My pulse jumps to the beat of its blaring.
The snooze button. Respite? Not quite.
Everything is marked in time. I don't
need to be reminded what today is.
Thirty-three days since I sat in this chair and
watched her read stories from the rocker
feeling for kicks and singing.
Thirty-two days since we drove to the hospital
without our bags because there was no time.
And twenty-nine days since –
Crackle. Snooze again. Bless her.
This morning I took the flower box out of the window
and set it on the rail of the crib. I missed the first
frost, but one chrysanthemum still stands in defiance
of the cold and continues its vigil despite my neglect.
The yellow petals blend easily into the warm pastel wall
as if part of a mural
where the sheep hanging from the mobile graze
lazily in the fields before taking a rest.
Thirty-two days and this room is exactly how I remember it.
Inviting. Organized. Ready for the day that didn't come.
Her hand is on my shoulder.
Waiting for daybreak, we observe what's left before us
While sheep sleep soundly in the meadow.
It's warmer here. There's love in these walls. Maybe
we could paint some flowers, or a garden, or a rainbow.
I don't know – there is time for that in the days ahead.
Quietly we look outside and watch as
snow feathered clouds form on the horizon.
I mark my time. Thirty-three days.