Susan Hayden


Photo of Chris Allport


Souvenirs and Evidence

The Search and Rescue crew handed me the bag

like a forgotten sandwich. I held it for days;

a Zip-Loc of belongings: his taxi wallet, damp

from melted snow with twelve, crisp hundred dollar bills,

weekend cash to pay for my 45th birthday.

His red bandanna covered in rocks and ice,

smelling of sweat and torn mountain skin.

Our son’s fifth grade picture in his wallet:

Hazel eyes, pirate t-shirt, gypsy hair;

face staring back at me with that “I am safe” look.

And then the goggles, still foggy,

still defrosting from a long night and buried.

I held the bag for days; it was the last of him.

Later, when people came to pay their respects,

to tell me how “He was in a better place,”

“He died doing what he loved”

only the ache remained,

like heart surgery without anesthesia.

I would share the bag and its contents

with anyone who was interested.

A friend put her arm around me and said:

“You don’t have to worry anymore. All the things

you were afraid of have already happened to you.”

Susan Hayden, c. 2016


  1. lkthayer · February 8, 2016

    Susan, thank you for your brave work, just stunning! You slay me.

  2. Julie D · February 8, 2016

    Wow. Gorgeous. Stunning. Thank you. I have missed the Juice Bar

  3. cherylbianchi · February 8, 2016

    so hard to read this….so proud of how your have come through…so sad that life can be so damn hard

  4. Rita · February 8, 2016

    Love this Susan. Thank you for sharing your work. A very moving poem.

  5. chrissiemorrisbrady · February 12, 2016

    Reblogged this on chrissiemorrisbrady.

  6. evebrandstein · February 12, 2016

    My brave beautiful friend. xo

  7. Annie Couper · February 12, 2016

    Susan, when my husband died mountain climbing people said the same thing to me. One person even said “What a cool way to die”! Such remarks made it seem like my grieving had to begin all over. I am so sorry for your loss and grateful for your poem. I wish you peace.

  8. Kay · February 13, 2016

    Susan, I felt every bit if pain as you spoke what was given to you – all that was left
    My stomach still hurts.
    What a touching, deep
    Poem. Thank you for sharing this. Your courage is admirable.
    Your writing is superb.

  9. sorrygnat · February 14, 2016

    How hard for those who loved him; I’m glad you had each other for a time; blessings and love

  10. Susan Hayden · February 15, 2016

    Thank you all for your heartfelt responses & for your understanding. Deeply felt! xSH

  11. Bobbie Sera · February 15, 2016

    Having known him and knowing you, this brought me to my knees. Thank You for sharing your heart. You are powerful.

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