How Many People Have to be Lost & Other Poetry by Linda M. Crate

To What We Lost – Linda M. Crate

Linda M. Crate boldly takes an honest and heartfelt look into some difficult topics. She brings awareness to the struggle of mental health and suicide as she honors the memory of her Uncle.

how many people have to be lost?
my gran lost her son,
i lost my uncle;
the world lost an artist—

i think of him

twenty years later,
and i wonder how different
life would’ve been had his
demons not have been strong
enough to convince him

that his life didn’t matter;

everyone says there’s a stigma
around mental health

so let’s break it—

how many people have to talk about
their issues, their pain, and the people they’ve lost?

how many people have to suffer in silence
just so you can be comfortable?

i think of how easy it is
to write an email, a letter, to tag someone
in a meme;

let someone know you care.
linda m. crate

he forgot what a rainbow was
they say his eyes
were blue

i remember them being gray
as a moody october sky

saw one of his paintings
of me, my mother, and my gran

it was so very lifelike;
there was a storm in the horizon

you could tell by our stances
and the way the wind was blowing

our hair—
art has a way of communicating

what words sometimes fails to,
and i wonder if my uncle weren’t

only trying to convey the weather
but how he felt;

i will never get to ask him now
but i think he was suspended in a storm

for so long and fought so hard
that he forgot what a rainbow was.
linda m. crate

we don’t deserve to die
in his last letter to me
he encouraged me to always
follow my dreams,
and so here i am
hoping one day i can make him

also hoping that wherever he happens
to be hurts him less than this earth did—

in his letter you wouldn’t know
he was depressed,
you wouldn’t know that he was

i was fourteen when he died

but sometimes i still feel guilty
like maybe i should’ve wrote more letters
so he didn’t feel alone—

i wish the world could be kinder
to the people who need it the most,

we never know any person’s struggles;
so i’m begging you to be kind
because we all have demons and we all have flaws
we don’t deserve to die because of either.
linda m. crate

long before his time
my uncle is the reason i chase after my dreams
with such ferocity,
and he is the reason that i am still holding on

even in my darkest days;

because i thought about ending it all
several times when i was young
because i was always bullied and i felt like
i wasn’t deserving of life and like no one loved me—

so when you ask me why suicide prevention
i think about my uncle;

and all the years we lost
of all the things that maybe one day he could’ve
witnessed in our family

i think of all the pain he had to endure alone—

should you not understand my sorrow
be grateful that you do not have to know
how badly it hurts to lose someone you love long
before their time.
linda m. crate

remember that you are loved
he made such beautiful art,
but i wasn’t aware of his suffering;

they didn’t tell me until after
he died that he had depression—

i wrote him letters,
but now i wish i wrote more

as if somehow he could’ve felt
my love through all the letters

of my words;
but his last gift to me

was the book the last nutcracker
and it will forever be the book i treasure

most of all the books in my
collection and all of my favorites

because it reminds me of him—
i wish he could’ve remained,

but maybe he was needed to paint
the leaves and the sunsets and the moon;

and so i will say this if you are suffering
remember that you are loved.
linda m. crate


Linda M. Crate’s works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is the author of six poetry chapbooks, the latest of which is: the samurai (Yellow Arrow Publishing, October 2020). She’s also the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, June 2018). Recently she has published three full-length poetry collections Vampire Daughter (Dark Gatekeeper Gaming, February 2020), The Sweetest Blood (Cyberwit, February 2020), and Mythology of My Bones (Cyberwit, August 2020).

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