I suppose it is easier
once they are gone
and you can tell yourself
they are in the afterlife now
and finally know the pain they caused
and have compassion where there was none,
that they may have even become some kind of
spiritual guide or guardian for you now,
tearing down the very kind of barriers they once created.
It’s easier to forgive the dead
because they are no longer actively hurting you.
And yet the old wounds still hurt.
The shame of not having become what he wanted.
The guilt of the relief I feel
for not having to spend time with him
today or any other day.
No more dragging him
to the mental ward
for everyone’s safety.
No more lonely night shifts
sleeping next to his hospital bed.
God, I’m glad it’s over.