Touch: The Journal of Healing


Editor’s Choice


Everything Changes

    by Elizabeth Landrum

There is an instant

when everything changes;

a memory engraves itself.

You watched

as I took my first breath;

I watched

as you took your last.

I saw you listen for something beyond,

heard you say “OK. Let’s Go”.

Then you did.

In a moment charged

and ripe with revelations,

stunned, we sip

and thirst for more.

How swiftly

the hollowness enters;

how painfully we strain

to swallow the mystery.

You know.

Now you know.

Everything changes,

and yet we go on, pace

through days as if rehearsed.

I fill a basket with your chosen foods,

fold handkerchiefs into tidy squares,

place them in your dresser drawer,

retrieve your starched

dress shirts from the dry cleaners,

as if in disguise, silent,


by all that looks the same.

I scan get-well notes that arrive

beside the sympathy cards.

Another me watches

as I choose what to save:

your hat in a box labeled “good hat”,

pocket knife, shoeshine brush,

appointment book, pencil, scarf,

your blue flannel shirt I’ll wear home,


but not quite.

© 2013  Elizabeth Landrum

Elizabeth Landrum, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist from Lousiville, KY, who recently retired to the San Juan Islands where she shares a new home with her wife and two dogs.  She is at last finding time to write and to reflect on the work she did for 30 years, counseling people living with losses, cancer, and other life-changing illnesses.  Her own life has been touched and altered by the cancers and deaths she has experienced in her immediate family and by the incredible resilience she has witnessed in clients she supported through their journeys of grief and illness.

Copyright © 2012

Touch: The Journal of Healing

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