For Jonathan

Two weeks ago, my brother-in-law Jonathan Eric Cohen passed away from a drug overdose at the age of 41. Unfortunately, I am familiar with grief and its unpredictable ebb and flow. Writing poetry has always been a way for me to process the collision of feelings and emotions surrounding any experience but, especially, a painful one. Since returning from my travels to Florida and South Carolina, I have been besieged by the latest virus. I am trying to stay in bed and get some rest, but I haven't really succeeded. In fact, I've completely failed to do so. This afternoon, I felt the impulse to work on a poem that had been poking me for attention ever since I heard the news that Jonathan had died. One of the most comforting poems I know for those who are grieving is titled "For Grief" by John O'Donohue. I am sure the poem below will be one of many poems because grief, more than any emotion, renders me raw. I have no choice but to write it out.

Jonathan Eric Cohen

July 15, 1975 - March 15, 2017

For Jonathan

by Lauren Taub Cohen

I am haunted by

the sounds

of clumped dirt

being flung upon

your casket

with a sickening series

of thuds and thumps.

It's the sound of

hope

extinguished.

It's the sound

of death's bell

ringing with cries

of all that could have been

had the disease

of addiction

not assailed

your troubled,

yet tender,

heart.

I will miss

your wily smirk

and how your chuckle

always roused

gusts of raucous

laughter and inspired

a mischievous

prank or two.

You are now free

from a lifetime

of suffering

and finally

at rest

in everlasting

peace.

You will be

forever loved

and forever

missed.