Tu Me Manques by Elizabeth Goodleigh is a beautiful tribute to the loss of her father. This short collection begins with an elegiac foreword full of both heartache and hope as Goodleigh promises to move forward remembering and cherishing everything her father taught her; remembering how much of her was shaped by a father’s love.
The poetry is raw and honest as Goodleigh lays open her grief – the spiral of loss felt in the immediate aftermath of her father’s passing. Throughout, the extended metaphor of an explosion is utilised to demonstrate the destruction grief can wrought on a person, on a home and on existing relationships: “I am Post-Nuclear war.”
Thus, there is a sense of nostalgia in Goodleigh’s work as the heart and mind wrestle with the present and seek comfort in the past. In written word, Goodleigh explores her childhood, the everyday goodbyes and how strikingly the relationship with her mother changed. This is where I found so much strength and beauty in Goodleigh’s work – not once are the feelings of loss, love and hope wrapped up in cliché metaphors. Goodleigh is honest in how her father’s death altered life as she knew it and she never pretends life will return to what it once was.
Tu Me Manques bravely demonstrates how life is irrevocably changed by death; and in this truth, Goodleigh shares a voice and a soul full of so much heart, full of so much grief and still full of so much time for what the future will become – “Maybe your death was my birth.”