Stolen of Breath

If I could change life,
there would be no death.
What is the sense of living,
if you’re soon stolen of breath?
Life is such a coy thing
with the way it likes to play.
Why does it look to be so cruel
by taking people away?
I don’t understand it.
I guess I never will.
To fall in love and die someday
can be the final kill.
So won’t you try to analyze
the results of even trying.
There’s no use in living
when we’re already dying.

9-19-91 Written by Gail Brookshire
(by the grace of God)
PS. This was written years ago from the hurt of so much loss. Especially the loss of my cousin Dean, who was just 19 and died a week before graduating high school.

Family Pain

Pain?
I’ll tell you what another aching pain is.
Pain is knowing your family is in pain, that your loves ones are hurting,
on a holiday… Thanksgiving.
The holiday we always get together on, yet this time
we’re all missing someone… one of our family members.
To some a son, a grandson, a nephew, an ex-boyfriend, a friend, a best-friend,
a neighbor, a fiance, a favorite student, a coworker, and my cousin.
It hurts to know he can’t be here with us.
And even if I were able to smile, I still couldn’t over knowing my family is hurting.
I can’t erase their pain. I can’t change the situation.
Or best yet, I can’t even bring him back.
We can’t give him a hug… just one hug, or even just say Happy Thanksgiving.
Instead we must find a way to enjoy the day without him.
Imagine that.
As much as we miss him and want him back,
as much as we hate that he’s going to never return,
it’s a rule of life that we have to smile and act as though everything is OK & be thankful.
That is if we want to be normal again.
For my family, friends, and cousin… I love you all.
And let me assure you that no matter what therapists, people, or strangers say,
to love, miss, and want Dean back is normal.
And if we feel like it’s criminal to enjoy the first holidays without him,
then that’s quite a normal feeling.
However, I am here for you. I pray for us all.
May God comfort us and the world wide.
May He be with all families… after all, we are all His children.
Love Deeply and Sincerely,

Gail… your cousin, niece, daughter, sister, granddaughter, friend, and love.
11-28-91 Written by Gail Brookshire
(by the grace of God)
Thanksgiving Day

1991, The Year to Have and Learn

1991 was a good year for me,
even though there was just as much bad.
It brought to me the many friends,
as well as taking the ones I had.
It took so many lives of those
who were so loved by us all.
And even though their voices are gone,
I can still hear them call.
It was a year of helping others
and having loads of fun,
a time of many hard working days,
yet a time of lazy ones.

So many times I ran in fear
to someone in distress,
then turned around a little later
and gave my friends the best.
So many lights of friendship gone,
so many new and bright.
Once again, it was a year
to love and hate the light.
It was a year of touch and see,
a year of holding back.
For as many tears that built inside,
the concern was much to lack.

It was a year of seeing rock
come to awe my eyes.
For what the human eyes never saw,
it was more than a surprise.
Ninety-one was certainly long
and a whole new thing to learn.
For as many things that taught us to laugh,
many taught us to burn.
It was a year of meeting people
and accepting them for who they are.
Having a blast over anything,
and loving someone from afar.

It was a time to miss a lot,
as lives and events escaped.
They can never be replaced again,
but the future must be laid.
So all in all, as I can see for now
the year was a great success.
For as much as we wanted to live and learn,
we certainly don’t have any less.

12-31-91 Written by Gail Brookshire
(by the grace of God)

The Time Had Run Out

We know you’re gone,
But wish we could have you back.
We know you would if you could,
But we lose again to your attack.

How unfair and cruel it seems
To have lost our reason for living.
It’s hard to adjust to returning
The love you were always giving.

Our children ask about you often.
It’s hard for them to understand.
I try to explain you love them still,
But live in another hand.

Tears of an aching child
Could break the heart of Scrooge.
And when they need your comfort,
Mine is not their refuge.

Oh we know you’re gone,
But wish we could have you back.
We know you would if you could,
But we lose again to your attack.

10-7-1990
Written by Gail Brookshire
PS. We miss you.
(published in Flight, Spring ’95, page 16)
(by the grace of God)

Question of Identity

On a concrete slab
lies a question of identity.
Your family is called
and asked to come see.
Is that you on the table?
Have you O.D.’ed?
Have you caused the heart
of your family to bleed?
Is that you
there in the morgue?
Have you gone to live
with your Lord?
Only God knows
this very day
if that is you
that has gone away.

4-25-15 Written by Gail Brookshire

Life After Life

Life after Life vanquishes away,
more and more every day.
For as long as I can remember,
death has been a cruel family member.
Unkind and uncaring,
death is too daring,
whether loved one or friend,
bringing their end.
No one walks this path alone.
We all have someone gone home.
Yet no matter how much grief we share,
the loss is still ours to bear.
Today, tomorrow, another soul will leave,
and again we each will grieve,
until our turn comes to hear His voice.
We will sorrow no more, but rejoice.

6-10-15 written by Gail Brookshire
Inspiration: Missing Aunt Wanda and too many others

At Your Grave

Beauty in a death of one,
I really loved so much.
Though I’ve been through a lot,
I’ve never hurt as such
A devastating time as this.
It’s really something new.
How can I come to deal with it,
If I don’t know what to do?
All the days we shared together,
All the smiles we gave,
I never knew there’d be a day
I’d stand here at your grave.

8-9-89 Written by Gail Brookshire
(by the grace of God)

Knock, Knock

Sitting in my lazy boy,
I suddenly hear a knock.
As I open up the door,
I find a yellow sock.
I look around the corner side
and all around the yard.
I do not see anyone
though I am looking very hard.
A week goes by so suddenly,
I go to watch the news.
They’re talking of a murdered girl
found without her shoes.
Dressed in her yellow shorts,
one of her socks was gone.
Over on my nightstand
lays the other one.
I stare at it so very close.
I go to hold the sock
and all that I can think of
is the day I heard the knock.

7-18-89 Written by Gail Brookshire
(by the grace of God)

In The Woods

Help a little girl so scared, running for her life.
The man is trying to catch her, to cut her with his knife.
In the woods there is a ditch which leads her to a fall.
Turning back to find the man, he stands there strong and tall.
With force he takes this little girl and tries to take her best.
Now the little girl’s strength is put to the ultimate test.
She beats, she hits, she takes a swing, trying her best to fight.
But since his strength overwhelms, her weakness is the night.
This man rises up from her and draws the knife to kill.
You cannot wake this little girl lying there so still.
7-17-89 Written by Gail Brookshire
(by the grace of God)
I use to write about “this little girl” in many different ways without even thinking about it until a counselor I had years ago pointed it out, asking me if I would change the endings to a happy ending. I told him, “No. Because then it wouldn’t be beautiful any more.” He told me it was unhealthy to romanticize death. So I made a deal with him to write some new ones giving her a happy ending. He then starting giving me challenges to write about other things.
Now years later, I experience such fear just reading one line. They feel so evil. I was encouraged not too long ago to continue to share them, partly as a testimony as to what God did even in my writing, and to think about why they scare me so, and why I wrote them. So as I add my poetry onto the computer once again, you will see them. I still experience great discomfort in going over them… like I will pay for it. Whatever the Lord asks of me, I want to obey. Lord willing, He will help me to understand their significance. Lord willing, He will remove that fear.

The Unborn Child

Within a darkened shelter
lies a helpless soul.
To survive the growing battle,
we must take control.
So small and fragile,
this future little heart.
We must prepare
for a fair and loving start.
What do we do
for this child unborn
when at the seams
we all are torn?
Within her womb
lies the seed,
but it is her body.
Would it help to plead?
It is her decision.
We will we ever know?
And will this soul
get the chance to grow?

7-7-1989 Written by Gail Brookshire
(by the grace of God)
I wrote this poem when I was a teenager with a best friend who got pregnant to “snag” or “trap” the father (who happen to be a family member) into a relationship. When she conquered too easily and grew bored she was suddenly not pregnant any more. She had asked advice on “snagging” him (which she ignored), and asked my advice on “taking care of her problem” (which she ignored). This upset me greatly because an innocent life was caught in the middle, and the father was hurt by it. She found satisfaction in that. For this EX-best friend, it was just another day. Sadly I have known this to happen several times when I was young.
As a matter of fact my situation was backwards in what I was seeing in the movies, at the health department, social services, and most places. At that time, pro-abortion was the subject of debate. Now while I was an also unwed teenage mom at the time, and I am pro-life this is NOT an attempt to argue, accuse, judge, or debate. It’s not even to stand up for myself. This was simply God breaking my heart for the unborn child that was supposed to be my family. All the female family and friends around me at that time had already had abortions of their own. I was constantly bullied into “keeping my opinion to myself.” My opinion was simply a loving encouragement… plea… to not use a baby as a weapon. Unfortunately, my voice did not matter.

Hanging On While Slipping Away

Hanging on while slipping away,
it’s getting harder every day to stay.
My mind is losing its knowhow.
How long before I forget what’s now?
My tongue betrays my brain,
making it pointless to explain.
I err in speech and get lost in thought.
I say things I shouldn’t and don’t know what I ought.
Every day steals more and more of me.
Though I’m fighting, I just can’t flee.
All my life I’ve had to fight
to get others to believe I strive to do right,
or even just to believe my words.
They will abandon what can’t be heard.
Oh God my Lord most precious of all,
is this how I was to live my call?
I pray I did not waste time
or deserve this fate of mine.
I’ll cling to Jesus who suffered too
despite the fact He lived so true.

9-24-11 Written by Gail Brookshire
(by the grace of God)
Apparently, my neurological battle affecting my mental health has been going on longer than I remembered. Thank you, Jesus, for using the very words you gave me to choose to cling to you then, for encouraging me to keep fighting the good fight now! You are fully aware of my enemies, and my weaknesses! If anyone understands physical challenges, it’s You! ❤ You had a pretty good fight of your own! 😦

Breaking & Entering

The crime was simple. The loss was hard.
He took some jewels, but gave his heart.
He entered the home that he thought was vacant.
He never expected for them to be waiting.
But when he picked the lock and opened the door,
He made his way inside to something even more.
An older man had heard the noise and came to investigate.
He saw the shadow at the door and didn’t hesitate.
To the dresser drawer he ran and pulled the revolver out,
Walked back to the living room and aimed without a doubt.
They took him to the emergency room, but it wasn’t of any use.
They called his wife to inform, that’s when I got the news.

1990 Written by Gail Brookshire
(published in Expressions, May 24, 1994 Issue, page 6)
(by the grace of God)
This poem was written at a time I was trying to understand why people I grew up with were getting into committing crimes. I wrote the last part with 3 intentions.
1. So none of my friends thought I was trying to glorify what they did in a poem.
2. To make sure no on else would think I was into doing that.
3. My effort to be sympathetic to the mothers and grandmothers of my friends who were trying to get my friends to quit committing crimes.

He Lifted His Glass To Toast

He lifted his glass to toast,
he said, “Here’s to our meeting.”
He had made our enchantment special
with alcohol as our greeting.

He lifted his glass to toast,
he said, “Here’s to my bride.”
He made another memory
with alcohol at our side.

He lifted his glass to toast,
he said, “Here’s to our night.”
He made a night to cherish
with alcohol in our sight.

He lifted his glass to toast,
he said, “Here’s to our son.”
He made a vow of fatherhood
with alcohol on his tongue.

He lifted his glass to toast,
he said, “Here’s to our girl.”
He made another vow for life
with alcohol in our world.

He lifted his glass to toast,
he said, “Here’s to our life.”
He made his last night memorable
with alcohol as his wife.

For when he went to raise his glass,
he said, “Here’s to each day”
Then dropped his glass to the floor.
Alcohol took him away.

So as we lift a glass to toast,
these words on his grave are read:
“He lifted his glass to toast.
Here’s to all he said.”

8-22-1990 Wednesday
Written by Gail Brookshire
(published in Flight #3, Spring ’94, pages 109-110, and Flight, Spring ’95, page 13)
(by the grace of God)
A lot of people constantly thanked me for writing this poem, assuming this was my story. I actually wrote it to show my disgust in what alcohol was doing to families. However, alcohol did have its unfortunate grip on some of my family too.

Oh Cloud Riding By

Oh, Cloud riding by, floating at such ease,
Have you seen things to please and displease?
Have you seen many sorrows? Were you the guilty cloud?
Were you the one who arrived so violent and loud?
Were you the one who destroyed so many souls?
Were you the one that just had no control?
Or were you the one that rushed the other one or two?
Bringing peace and calm as you came to the rescue?
Were you the one to save the day and many souls as well?
What would be your many secrets that you could tell?
Would we want to know or are we better off now
Not knowing those horrible things anyhow?
Oh, Cloud that’s passing by without a troubled way,
Please tell the dangerous clouds to please stay away!

5-26-11 Written by Gail Brookshire
(by the grace of God)
This poem was written during Tornado Out break season of 2011. In April alone there were over 300 tornadoes, of which 62 hit our state in one weekend. These same storms killed several people before heading our way. My son and I were very active in our local church, his bible college, and different ministries, which included nursing homes. There were times we had to seek emergency shelter, yet also times we had to keep singing to help distract residents because it’s impossible to “get everyone’s head down” when they can’t even get out of bed or walk. One service had 4 tornadoes reeking havoc outside while the Pastor kept preaching on John 14… Let not your heart be troubled.

He Needs a Blanket

“We could take him a blanket. To keep him warm, Mom,” the child giggles. “Why else would he need it? But, Mom, you know how cold he gets. If we let him go without a blanket, he’ll get sick. We can’t let him down. Why are you looking at me like that? You look so sad. It’s o.k., Mom. All we have to do is take him a blanket. It’ll be all right.What do you mean he’s gone?” The child smiles and cheerfully continues. “No, he’s not. He’s just asleep, but he needs a blanket. Let’s take his favorite one, the blue one. He’ll love us for it. No, he’s not, Mom. He’s not gone. Come on, I’ll show you where he is. Don’t forget his blanket.”
The mother takes the child to her brother. The child jumps out of the car and runs eagerly to her brother’s side. She spreads out the blanket, on the ground, covering every inch of the freshly dug dirt. She talks to her brother.
“Hey, Brad. I thought about how cold you must be and talked mom into letting me bring you a blanket. She wasn’t going to let me at first, but I told her you would need it. Look, it’s your favorite one, the blue one. I remembered how you said it always kept you warm. Oh and look… shhhh… don’t tell Dad, but I snuck his big blue pillow to you, too. Remember how you always waited for Mom and Dad to leave every morning, just to savor an extra hour or two of laying your head on it? You always said it made you feel better. I hope it makes you feel better now. I can’t believe they left you out here to freeze. They know how cold you get. If you get sick and die, I’ll never forgive them. I love you, Brad. I miss you so much. Please come home soon.”
The mother, with her head hung low, stands beside her child. As tears roll down her cheeks, she wonders how she’ll ever help her child to understand she’ll never see her brother again because he’s already dead.

12-11-1992 Friday
Written by Gail Brookshire
(published in Flight, Spring ’95, page 45)
(by the grace of God)
This little short story was written when I had lost a dear 19 yr old cousin to suicide.
I had no idea at the time that so many of the details would be so relatable to the loss of my baby brother who was killed 16 years later at the age of 37.