In Search of the Good Old Days

Vicious suffering was the fate of both my grandmothers
one, tormented by a metaphorical myriad of stabbing hot pokers
concluded her unholy hell
by swallowing the contents of a bottle of lye
surely an anguished choice but one determined better than living as is
did she feel even a moment of peace in her fading consciousness?
unlikely
still I need to think so.

My other grandmother died of breast cancer in pre-hospice days
when patients weren’t informed of their killer
a haunting iteration of don’t ask, don’t tell
ignorance condoned as bliss
chosen by those in charge of preaching suffering as natural law
the alpha and omega of ‘do harm.’

— inspired by a poetry writing class prompt about grandmothers