In No One To Wake, Marilyn C. O’Leary shares “a bouquet of mourning” the death of her husband of fifty years. This book of poetry is beyond beautiful. And one needn’t have been married for fifty years, or married at all, to feel softly wrapped in the understanding of how it feels to lose someone you love deeply. Both pain and transcendence are painted in her poems, plus the naturalness and magic of death itself “…you took your leave breathing like a fish, swimming out into an ocean of darkness and love.” She also addresses the guilty urge to look back and question whether she did enough, whether she was enough “The recipe for my life had ingredients you didn’t like,” and then acknowledges that “Our relationship was whole.” And then there’s the need to go on. She recognizes the “freedom” that comes from loss; “sadness an opening… (to) find yourself unwrapped. I could do anything, be anything, go anywhere,” she writes, but “What if it wasn’t you who kept me tethered?” In this small book, O’Leary takes us from the dark folds of anguish where we’re sometimes drawn towards death ourselves, to the realization that “The answer to all is Life.”
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