It’s not that I think I could have saved you;

I’m not that much of a fool, or an

Optimist. Saving you was up to you, and

you fought really hard, but failed.

Or maybe death was your final success, in

freeing yourself of all the chains

binding you, holding you down, holding you back.

My failure isn’t not saving your twenty-five year old self

My failure happened ten years before, when you were

too young to know how wrong things could go;

when you depended upon me to make the right choices,

to know the right things, to

set the horror right. I tried. I was the one who was supposed to know

everything. And I didn’t.


If I could go back in time (I’ve thought of this a lot. Fool that I am)

I’d go back to that day, ten years prior, when I got to the school

and found you on the ground (the irony doesn’t escape me)

One leg a full half-foot shorter than the other. I leaned over you,

I smiled and stroked your face. “It’s going to be fine, sweetheart.”

The ambulance was on its way. It was a dislocation,

so much better than a break, right?

But it wasn’t, and it wasn’t. It was so much worse.

Too many hours lost. Too much damage done. Two percent chance of saving

that leg. That damned leg.

This what I’d change–I’d tell them to take it off.

What they left caused it all. I’m ninety-eight percent convinced.

It would have been done. Over. And only the rebuilding.

A new life you would have made without the constant drag

of all that pain,

that became pain-killers that didn’t work,

that fed all the sorrow of losing who you’d been,

that became so much anxiety,

that became a speeding train always barreling down,

that became “please someone save me!” That became


This is what I’d change, if I could. But I can’t. Maybe,

in some postulated, parallel reality, I told them,

“Take the leg.” Not in this reality.

I lost you then, and didn’t even know, I, who was supposed to know





Filed under poetry

13 responses to “

  1. Hugs and so much love coming your way.


  2. dianamunozstewart

    A wise friend recently wrote, ” There comes a time when you have to make your best guess, accept that there’s no way to 100% know and be okay with it.”
    Lately I’ve been paralyzed with anxiety over the idea that I will make a mistake that I can’t take back. Or worse, that I already have and just don’t realize it yet. The words from your earlier post helped me. Thought maybe they might help you too.


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      You’re amazing. Thank you, sweet friend.

      It’s more about what I know now, what the doctors knew then. I know I did all I could, and every decision was made in love, with the best information at hand. We’ll talk more on our way to VAB, but of happy stuff, too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. MaryAnn ForbesA

    OYou are a woma


  4. Terri, I so appreciate your reflections, they are always honest and profound. I always feel the immensity of your fierce and tender love for your children. What came up as I was taking in your words was how we create the circle of our families. I used to think that it was my husband and me who created our family, but now I see it differently. As my kids have grown and are working with their own challenges of addiction and anxiety and depression, they have shown us over and over that this is a shared journey. That they are sovereign beings who are on their own path, even from the very start. That all of us have chosen to share this family journey to come together to be mirrors and teachers for each other. As their mom, it has been a humbling road to let go of any expectation that I can somehow determine their way, and I’m coming to learn the greatest gift we can give them is to honor and trust their own great wisdom. much love to you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      Thank you for sharing that, Lorraine. You’re absolutely right–we give them life but then it’s theirs. Their journey. Their choices. Their everything.
      A young lady who claims sight into the spirit world, a friend of my sons’, told me that by the time Chris realized what was happening to his body, it was too late to go back, and he was relieved, because he didn’t want to go back but would have been pulled to us to continue this cycle over and over, and he was just done.
      I’m not sure how I feel about this. Some days, I’m certain, and other days I’m skeptical. And that is MY journey, right?
      Again, thank you. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Your friend’s observation definitely resonates with me. My own experience and intuition show me that we are so much vaster than this 3 dimensional world. It’s an amazing journey all around…thank you for sharing yours with us! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Someday, I think, you will write a story where you give him the life you wish he had had.


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      It’s already simmering, Karin, but in a way you’d probably not expect. I’m not emotionally ready to write it yet, but one day. We’ll talk. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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