Opening Again to Music is a collection of poems that follows the author’s grief journey as she processes the traumatic loss of her young adult son. Jeremy was a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa when his mother, my poetry therapy friend and colleague Alma Rolfs, was visiting. The two were on a joyous adventure trip in the wilds when a tragic car accident took Jeremy’s life and caused life-threatening injuries to Alma, who was medically evacuated back to the United States.
Alma Maria Rolfs is a psychotherapist, clinical social worker, teacher, registered poetry therapist, poet, and poetry therapy mentor/supervisor. She has served on the board of the National Association for Poetry Therapy for many years, including a recent turn as president. She lives in Seattle, where she has a full-time psychotherapy practice, teaches part-time at Antioch University, consults to the University of Washington Medical Center Department of Social Work, conducts a poetry therapy training program, hikes, gardens, and writes.
Going on Without Him
I noticed my scars again this morning.
After hiking all day in the sun,
they grow more visible. Sometimes
I miss my former unmarked self.
Last week, pictures of my current life
displayed on my refrigerator door, I missed
my old unreconstructed face. Yesterday
When I tripped and fell on gravel
the hand I landed on ached; the finger
where nerves do not connect just tingled.
And always, the river of mixed waters
flows over me: the lasting gratitude
that I walk and talk and am mostly well,
the deep undertow that pulls me toward
darkness, and this oddly comforting relief
that no matter how much I live and laugh
and play, this body that brought the child
into the world also forever bears the marks
of the moment of his departure.
-Alma Maria Rolfs
(c) in the name of the poet or assigns. Used for educational purposes and for the promotion of the poet and enjoyment of the reader.
- What are the stories your scars tell?
- Write anything that bubbles up in you from reading this poem. If it’s emotionally difficult, set the timer for 10 minutes. Take a break, read what you’ve written, and decide if you want to continue. If so, set the timer for another 10 minutes. Repeat.