These poems reflect my journey of sorrow in the loss of Giana and hope in the cross of Christ. The sketch* on the
right reminds me of 'G' before the accident. She was intelligent, sensitive, and as the picture portrays, introspective.
She died in Christ and no longer experiences pain or sorrow - only fulness of joy. The photo on the left speaks for
itself, as does the center picture, the only one in color.

The poems are in order of date written, oldest to newest. As they are written, new poems will be added at the
bottom of the page.

*By Tilly Williams.


Title Date
An Ode To Daddy's Girl July 4, 2016
The Solitude of Sorrow July 5, 2016
The Hole Within July 12, 2016
Too Much For Words July 18, 2016
An Unfinished Story November 9, 2016
The Power of a Thread Upon the Garment of Life February 6, 2017
What Can I Do? February 8, 2017
A Wick Extinguished?
Written during a time of deep doubt and anguish
February 15, 2017
June 15, 2016 June 15, 2017
The Last Surgery (She Was Only Fourteen) June 20, 2017

 


 

An Ode To Daddy's Girl
Written by Tony A. Bartolucci on July 4, 2016

With the loss of one so dear,
Mine eyes do bleed
So many a tear.
Oh such great grief!
That searches in vain for relief.

Is all the pain
Truly suffered in vain?

Sorrow upon sorrow;
As within the epicenter of an earthquake great.
Piercing like an arrow,
The shakings come violently,
Refusing to abate.

Will the tower that is my life,
Withstand the rolling thunder.
Will it totter and fall,
Will it be torn asunder?

The tower will suffer and groan, tis' true,
Bearing such heavy a load.
Many a crack in many a wall
Yet the foundation rests on the Lord;
And upon Him it refuses to fall.

The painful tremors others have felt beside.
Those who stand nearest,
To whom Giana was dearest
Shake and tremble along our side.
Those further away, who knew her least,
Have joined us in our cares.
They have shared our pain,
Have wiped away our tears
And with us they too have cried.

Is all the pain
Truly suffered in vain?

In time the great quake will still.
But until we are reunited with our precious girl,
The aftershocks and the tears
Will lurk within the shadows of life,
Till the One who quiets our fears,
Gathers His church together
The Bridegroom and wife.

Is all the pain
Truly suffered in vain?

The answer is nay;
For in another day,
The One who came to die,
Will wipe away the tears,
That fell through the years,
From each and every eye.

But only if you know Him true,
And by faith have been made anew.
Jesus Christ the One who died,
With Whom Giana was crucified.

The Father's wrath He bore,
That those who believe may reach
That sweet and Golden Shore
Where pain is felt no more.
Where Jesus we gain
Forever to love and adore.

To love is to feel great pain,
When the one we love has gone.
Giana we'll see again;
Gathered around the Throne
In praise and song.

Until that day, may you know
How much your daddy loves you.
Each tear that falls, like mourning dew,
Flows from a heart broken low,
By Him with Whom we live and do.

Is all the pain
Truly suffered in vain?

Not in all the world.
For this is true and will not change
You will always be my little girl.

~~~~~~

~~~~~~

The Solitude of Sorrow
Written by Tony A. Bartolucci on July 5, 2016

Why is it so
That a singular delight
Can be shared by others?

They experience the same feeling;
The same happiness.

But the sorrows and agonies I face,
Ring within the lonely hollows of my soul.

The grief, the tears, the fears
Imprisoned within the walls of that
Which is uniquely me;

Those walls resound with my appeal:
'Do you know what I feel?'

The echo fades and all is still,
For no one else is there.

~~~~~~

~~~~~~

The Hole Within
Written by Tony A. Bartolucci on July 12, 2016

There is a hole within my heart
A special place that was cut out.
This hole one cannot see:
A cavity - so empty!

Can a word be inscribed
On emptiness inside?
Or for that matter -
A single letter?

It must be so.
I cannot see it, yet I know
That written on the void inside of me,
Covered with tears is the lone letter G.

~~~~~~

~~~~~~

Too Much For Words
Written by Tony A. Bartolucci on July 18, 2016

There is a sorrow so exceedingly painful,
A grief so relentlessly savage,
That it dances beyond the reach of description.

Mere words incapable of expressing
That which is experienced
But cannot be explained.

"Agony, Angry, Anxious,
Broken, Depressed, Dismayed,
Empty, Inconceivable, Lonely, Numb,
Saddened, Shattered, Suffocated, Surreal."

All of these words?
None of these words?

An existential vacuum.
An eclipse of the soul.
An enigmatic fracture of reality.

A black hole within the space of my heart
That cannot be avoided,
Whisking me beyond the event horizon,
To another time and place,
Never to return.

Never
To
Return?

Has my hope been extinguished -
Smothered like a spent cigarette jammed into a cheap ashtray?

Indeed, my hope often smolders;
Doused under the unending stream of my tears.

Yet the promise stands:
"A bruised reed He will not break,
And a smoldering wick He will not snuff out . . ."
1

My hope. My plea. My prayer.

Beyond the stormy clouds of God's providence
Lies the tranquil beauty of His purpose -
Both encompassing and transcending my sorrow.

Agony will surrender to comfort;
Anger to peace;
Anxiety to serenity;
Brokenness to usefulness;
Depression to joy;
Dismay to confidence;
Emptiness to fullness;
Inconceivability to faith
Loneliness to love;
Lost to found;
Numb to impassioned;
Sad to happy;
Shattered to restored;
Suffocated to relieved;
Surreal to eternal.

Eternal.

All of those things that are indescribable in my pain
Will pale in comparison to those things
That will be indescribable in my pleasure.
2

For the Christian pilgrim traveling through the trials and tribulations of life,
Lies God's event horizon.
Where there is no black hole;
Only bright promises.
Where there is no emptiness;
Only the fullness of Christ.

A place where the "not-yet" and the "already" embrace.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth,
For the first heaven and the first earth had passed away,
And there was no longer any sea.
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem,
Coming down out of heaven from God,
Prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her Husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people,
And He will dwell with them.
They will be His people, And God Himself will be with them and be their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
For the old order of things has passed away."
3

Amen. Come Lord Jesus!4

-----------------
1See Matthew 12:15-21.

2Romans 8:18.

3Revelation 21:1-4.

4Revelation 22:20.

~~~~~~

~~~~~~

An Unfinished Story
Written by Tony A. Bartolucci on November 9, 2016

December 24 in the early eve,
We went to find a Christmas tree.
A custom each year without a doubt -
Giana and I would pick one out.

It's hard to imagine we'd later bemoan,
Giana would never return to our home.
No tree to adorn, no presents to open.
Our lives world be changed, our hearts would be broken.

Knowing this not, we went on our way,
The darkness of night replacing the day.
The farm where each year we go in December -
Its exact location I could not remember.

'Mom is good with directions and all.
Quick, take my phone and give her a call.'
We were on the wrong road so I corrected our course,
But I turned south when I should have gone north.

What happened next I do not recall.
One moment I'm driving, the next not at all.
In the back of an ambulance is where I now am;
How I got there I don't understand.

Fading in and out of consciousness:
This can't be a dream; something's amiss.
So eerily surreal - the din;
The wail of a siren echoes within.

An accident, some calamity?
Nothing to recall, no memory.
A sudden thought: 'Did Giana survive?'
If she did not, with Christ she's alive.

Later I learned that the man to blame,
Heading north crossed into our lane.
In a drunken stupor, was he -
And in the country illegally.

An impact so severe, so fast -
A wonder we survived the crash.
Our vehicle in flames - the only light -
Of a ghastly scene in the darkness of night.

And there within the smoking mire
Of tangled metal and burning fire.
The two of us - as if asleep;
Bodies laying in a heap.

Surely we would have died
Had others not soon arrived.
Opening my door, they pulled me out.
'My daughter! My daughter!' they heard me shout.

'No, lie down; you're hurt real bad!'
I remember it not, but as a dad -
Back to the wreckage I flew,
Until those around me knew:

My sweet little girl was still trapped inside.
'The passenger door!' together they cried.
Once it was opened, one and all could see -
My daughter inside, it was not only me.

Seat belt unfastened out she came.
Out from amidst the smoke and flame.
Once told that Giana was finally free,
I lay down with a sigh of relief.

The injuries I suffered, they were severe.
But not at all worthy to compare
To our girl, so badly broken;
My wounds were but a token.

And there I was, in ICU -
The burn unit next, until February two.
I just do not know, it is an enigma to me -
Why it took me so long to see,
The full extent of Giana's injury.

Too many surgeries and x-rays to name.
Our poor little babe, never the same.
Bones and burns they can repair.
'Will her brain ever heal?' we asked in despair.

Two months later, to rehab we took her.
Our hearts filled with hope, in a bright future.
Somehow we felt, it just had to be;
God's providence evident, for all to see.

Our ashes to beauty, He would transform.
We He would rescue out of this storm.
In the end, what a beautiful story.
And to Him alone, would be all the glory.

Each night we would kneel at her bed,
To plead and pray to our great Head.
Meanwhile, friends all around the world,
Joined us in praying for our little girl.

But, looking back, now I can see
That it was my own naivety.
False hope fueled by signs - it seemed to make sense -
These things cannot be, mere coincidence.

Indeed God is sovereign, our prayers cannot change
What He has decreed - think it not strange.
For He loves us and always knows best.
In this do I trust, in this I must rest.

There's more to the story, so much more I could share.
But the thoughts torture and haunt; I cannot go there.
These memories are the hardest for me to withstand;
Agony intolerable - thus this poem must here end.

~~~~~~

~~~~~~

The Power of a Thread Upon the Garment of Life
Written by Tony A. Bartolucci on February 6, 2017

My life unravels under the force of a singular thread that has the power to destroy an entire garment.

Does anyone understand how one thread can unleash such damage upon the garment of my life? So many, in their well-intentioned ignorance, might say, “Pull yourself together; after all, it's just one thread.”

Do they not understand that this thread is not made of cotton or polyester? This thread is not some inanimate material; it is part of me: my baby girl. Her name isn't “thread” or “loose end” - she was my daughter, my Giana.

She was no mere strand, but a irreplaceable part of me. She has been pulled away from the fabric of my soul, leaving behind a heart that has been damaged beyond repair.

This heart cannot love, hope, or function as it once did. My heart has, strand by strand, been stripped of its very essence and now is but a shallow husk of what it once was, as in the former days when filled with faith and hope.

With the last tug of that thread, that precious life of my baby, came the utterly devastating consequence upon the garment which is my being.

Nothing remains but an unraveled shell of what once was a man.

~~~~~~

~~~~~~

What Can I Do?
Written by Tony A. Bartolucci on February 8, 2017

What can one do when immersed into dark waters that envelope your soul and threaten to plunge you into the depths of destruction? And what of those friends who, from the shores of safety, cry out, "What might we do!"

Perhaps it is not unlike desperately fleeing to the cellar during a storm while tornadoes dance about your home with seemingly capricious intent to tear away your fortress of papier-mâché.

What can one do but cry out to the One who controls the storms and who is sovereign over the cyclone's every dance step? What can one do but pray and wait out the storm until it passes leaving behind blue skies and calm breezes?

The Psalmist cried out from the midst of his storm: "You who have shown me many troubles and distresses Will revive me again, And will bring me up again from the depths of the earth."1

And the Patriarch Job: "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him."2

But what of those, like our beloved Giana, who do not survive the earthly tempest? Does nothing remain but tumbled houses amidst paths of destruction?

For the Christian the last path of destruction, death, has been swallowed up in victory; for the promise is sure: to live and die in Christ is to have passed through every dark valley that remains in this sin-cursed world, forevermore to dwell in the bright blue skies and gentle breezes of a good God.

-----------------
1Psalm 71:20

2Job 13:15.

~~~~~~

~~~~~~

A Wick Extinguished?
Written during a time of deep doubt and anguish
by Tony A. Bartolucci on February 16, 2017

I'm not feeling sorry for myself when I say,
"No one really take cares."

There are those who feel it a duty
To help me.
But shall we be honest?
I'm merely a burden - an obligation;
Someone who ought to know better.
One who must simply
Appropriate my spiritual resources in Christ
And move foward.

Really?

Some may wonder if I am in Christ -
If I am but a hopeless vessel devoted to destruction.

Why should anyone try to help such a one -
After all, it is God's decree.
I am to become what I am.
I will be what I will be:
A vessel prepared beforehand,
For eternal destruction?

Can such a one be rescued
From peril foreknown before the worlds?

Is any man able to overthrow what God has ordained?

To attempt to do so is futile;
Like trying to frustrate the Counsel of Heaven itself.

It cannot be done.

Let such a cursed one meet his predetermined ends.
There is nothing that can be done
But fear and say:
"There but the grace of God go I"

~~~~~~

~~~~~~

June 15, 2016
Written by Tony A. Bartolucci on June, 15, 2017

One year ago, on this very date -1
With anxious optimism, we would pray - and wait.
Our treasure, our child: Giana Marie;
An evening appointment for surgery.

An operation routine, her crown whole to achieve;
Restoring that which was doffed, that fateful Noel Eve.
2
Therapists we knew, told us how often they see
This selfsame procedure, hasten one's recovery.
3

A surgery successful, did the doctor advise -
Soon we could see her and recover our prize.
4
To find her! To find her! And so off we went.
Our energy and patience about fully spent.

There she lay: eyes closed, stitches adorning her bare head.
“She stirred a bit ago,” was what the nurse said.
She would not stir now; not a move ne’er a twitch.
We sensed something was wrong, something amiss.
5

A loud call and some water the medic did try.6
Then a flashlight, the beam she did shine in an eye;
Pupils dilated full, did not change with the light.
Suddenly my heart was filled with great fright.
7

The rest of this scene, it was a blur so unending:
Doctors and nurses upon us descending.
Memories I dare not upon to much dwell -
Lest they cast me back to that earthly hell.

The night unfolded with circumstances foreboding:
Our hopes once so bright, now were eroding.
The experts astounded, what could have gone wrong?
Catastrophic brain damage - seemingly alive she was gone

The theory, at least, they said with chagrin:
Plethoric carbon dioxide to blame; that did her in.
8
Our thesis differs - at least one strikes a chord:
She was weary and desired to be with her Lord.

Nevertheless, we know this much to be true:
God called her home and to His bosom she flew.
One final task, however, on this earth to complete:
Healthy organs to donate for those in dire need.
9

In a few days we would lay her to rest.
Our work with her done, we indeed tried our best.
What more can we ask, what more can be done?
With confidence we know our child safely home.

-----------------
1The date to which I refer is June 15, 2016.

2On Christmas Eve, 2015, she and I were hit head-on by a drunk driver.
She suffered a severe head injury and had a section of her skull removed to relieve pressure on her brain.

3The surgery on June 15, 2016, was to reattach that section of skull.

4It is not uncommon for a neurological patient to see their recovery accelerate after this procedure.
This was our hope and earnest prayer.

5The surgeon met with us in his office saying that everything went great.

6The nurse began to earnestly call out “Giana! Giana!” and used a wet washcloth in attempts to rouse her.

7It was at this moment that I feared something seriously wrong.

8The theory is that Giana wasn't expelling enough carbon dioxide which began to load up in her system causing further brain damage.
Apparently, this can occur without warning - although the surgeons said they had never witnessed so acute a reaction.

9While the decision to donate her organs required us to stay at the hospital further, it was an easy decision -
Giana would approve (she loved to help others and was sensitive toward those who were suffering).
As far as we know, every donation was successful.

~~~~~~

~~~~~~

The Last Surgery (She Was Only Fourteen)
Written by Tony A. Bartolucci on June, 15, 2017 - The one-year anniversary of Giana's last surgery
I penned this poem in a matter of minutes with tears streaming down my weary face.


We had to wait.
The surgical team had to be gathered,
From various points on the compass,
To operate on our daughter -
Our only child.

he was only fourteen.

Christmas Eve, 2015.
Expectation in our hearts
For a relaxing, joyous Christmas -
Needing only a tree.
Together as a family;
A family of three.

But it was not to be.

There is no memory
Of the drunk driver
Who took her away from me.

She was only fourteen.

One surgery for each year of her life;
Plus two.
A girl, our baby, so badly broken.
My little buddy.
I called her ‘mini me;
A Bartolucci in female form.

She was only fourteen.

She was on the fourth floor,
I was on the third;
Together, but apart.
Sharing the same hospital -
Separated by a single story.

One of us would survive.
Why, why O’ Lord, was it me?

She was only fourteen.

Five surgeries
For me.
The last in an attempt to repair
A badly burned hand.

A hand?

Her last surgery?
She was already gone.
Called home by her Lord -
Her Jesus.

She was only fourteen.

Body alive; spirit gone.
Surgery on a body devoid of soul.
Surgery to remove healthy organs
For others in need.

A gift she could give.
A gift of those things she no longer needed.

Not just “things” but instruments of life.
Instruments of earthly life she no longer required
For she was an heir of eternal life.

Her last surgery.

She was only fourteen.

~~~~~~

~~~~~~

 



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