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Questions for My Husband’s Doctor

11.05.09 Posted in today's words by

Gallagher moved to Virginia Beach, VA (oh yes, you can tell, can’t you?
They are all really that good!) when she was 10 and grew up in an
ocean-front family-operated hotel. She is a retired psychotherapist,
having been affiliated with The Center for Behavioral Medicine at
Tidewater Psychiatric Institute. In addition to facilitating a Women’s
Issues Group for outpatients at the hospital, she also facilitated
bookstore-based study groups using Jungian precepts to approach
different texts. Jeanette belongs to a poetry group in Virginia Beach
and she is a member of Hampton Roads Writers.

This poem reveals the power of personal experience. Jeanette’s husband
died of cardiac arrest in the local emergency room at the tender age of
56. Her family doctor cried when he handed her his wedding ring.

Questions for My Husband’s Doctor
By Jeanette Gallagher

Are you saying
his wedding ring
is all he leaves as
morning consumes him?

What will I do
when evening

15 Responses to “Questions for My Husband’s Doctor”

  1. Sarah says:

    Wow, this is powerful.

  2. Ray Sharp says:

    You say a lot with a few words, Jeanette, which makes for a very affecting poem. The ring is a powerful symbol, and you make poignant use of it here. Kudos!

  3. Rae says:

    Stunning. It conveys so powerfully the shock of the moment. Every time I read it, I feel that clutch of grief all over again.

  4. Bobbie Troy says:

    Jeanette: Concise and poignant. You said it all.

  5. Pam says:

    I like how this poem’s few words underscore the halting nature of the onset of [her] grief. It is raw! With a mixture shock, bewilderment and anger (“Are you to tell me…), disillusionment/emptiness, and an even pathetic level of loneliness as she’s forced into the throes of this horrible new life transition (I also like the day-to-night transition). AND “As morning consumes him”~~~~~WOW, Jeanette, such a powerful description of how death overtook him. I also like that there is a possible accusatory undertone toward the doctor. Re: Notes outside of the poem: the doctor cried—was it because he loved him, too? Or because he couldn’t heal him? Or because he had to face the grieving widow and give her the ring?

  6. Jeanette Gallagher says:

    Thank you for your nice comment re: Questions for My Husband’s Doctor, Sarah. Jeanette

  7. Jeanette Gallagher says:

    Thank you so much for your very kind words, Bobbie. I appreciate your comment re: Questions for My Husband’s Doctor. Jeanette

  8. Jeanette Gallagher says:

    Comment to Ray was error using the name Bobbie, whose comment was also, wonderful and very much appreciated. Sorry, I shouldn’t be writing this late at night! Thank you Ray.

  9. Jeanette Gallagher says:

    I appreciate your kind comment about my poem, Questions for My Husband’s Doctor, Bobbie. Thank you so much.

  10. Bobbie Troy says:

    Hi, Jeanette: Check out the Concise Delight Magazine of Short Poetry for a possible venue for your work ( It’s a new print publication.

  11. Jean says:

    Jeanette, This poem will stay a part of me, always. It is one of those pieces of literature that says what I wanted to and didn’t know how, or couldn’t. Thank you, dear friend.

  12. Jeanette Gallagher says:

    Thank you Pam. You went into the depth of this poem and into parts of myself that years have covered but not obliterated. Even though the pain of losing him is intense, time helps, and I wouldn’t want to forget it. Thank you for your compassionate comments. Love, Jeanette

  13. Jeanette Gallagher says:

    Thank you, Rae. It means so much coming from you. I so appreciate your support, your empathy, and kindness.

  14. Jeanette Gallagher says:

    Thank you so much for the suggestion and the web site. I appreciate your interest and your help, Bobbie. Jeanette

  15. Jeanette Gallagher says:

    Thank you so very much, Jean. This is so special and such a wonderful compliment. I appreciate your compassion with all my heart.

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