Poems of love, death, a little sex, ALS, dementia, and the widow’s life thereafter.
Our love songs have no shadows. We dare not acknowledge the deep love that can coexist with loss. But in this timely and timeless collection, Peg Edera offers what we didn’t know we needed: a proposal in the dark, a squad car filled with lilacs, tears saved for the right time, toast and honey.
The world of illness and dying is demanding and complex. Peg documents the love of her life, her husband Fred: his diagnosis with frontal temporal lobe dementia and ALS, the loneliness of missing him before he was gone, worry for their daughter, and grieving in all its dimensions and untimeliness. Fred died at home, shortly after he turned sixty-seven.
In writing, Peg uncovered tender truths, unlikely humor, the faithful awareness of deep-hearted love in an unpredictable world. And hope for the future.
Love these poems for their magical discovery of love’s perennial voltage despite lost life. By wild honesty, here the good goes on in new forms. Our culture is filled with love songs, and equally filled with silence about loss. What’s often missing in both realms is present in these poems—detailed reporting on the enigmas of true connection: a proposal in the dark . . . a squad car filled with lilacs . . . tears saved for the right time . . . toast and honey . . . all we can do with the impossible . . . and the Temple of What Is Next. Peg Edera’s poems offer the tough tenderness it takes to live through hard times.
—Kim Stafford, author of Wild Honey, Tough Salt
Tender, self-questioning, attentive, profound, heart opening, genuine. These poems touch on human universal issues in profound ways. They give us courage, demand belief, teach us about grief, life, love and the way forward.
—Esther Elizabeth, author of When I Die Tell Them This: A collection of poems about where I stand
At the living core of this work is an openness to love, active & passionate, difficult to sustain yet worth the travail. In the midst of what could easily be called the daily nightmare of the dementia of her husband, Peg finds a way to remain open to Fred as a human being, open to herself, and open to life as its ragged nature and exquisite detail enfolds them both. These poems are the home-place where this openness—enhanced by Peg’s poetic gifts—finds a nuanced medium that proves to be at once harrowingly honest and generative ground. Ultimately, these poems are a place where one can begin to trust that beyond hope, there is a redemptive glance.
—John Fox, author of Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making
Peg meets her life with poetry. In this truth-filled, heartbreaking, sometimes very funny collection, we are gifted with a poet’s wisdom and a wise woman’s knowing words.
—Judith Tripp, psychotherapist, author, and leader of the Women’s Dream Quest