We come as strangers,
to sit in this circle.
We come with heavy hearts,
perhaps against our will,
Alone and afraid,
we steal glances at each other.
Wondering who they have lost.
Wondering what we have gotten into.
tentatively, reluctantly, tearfully,
we begin to share our stories.
Stories of parents and siblings lost.
Stories of hearts broken.
Although our paths to this circle
have all been different,
we find that we have discovered
a place where we are understood.
All of us have sat on the same side of the fence
and watched another kind of life on the other side.
So, we continue to share.
Sometimes the pain is so intense,
it fills the whole room.
Sometimes the tears won’t stop flowing.
But our circle becomes a place so safe
that no thought is too outrageous to speak
and nothing we have done is ever called crazy.
All is understood and accepted.
The weekend continues.
We get to know each other
through memories and stories.
Within our circle, all our moms and dads and brothers and sisters live on.
Our circle is no longer one of strangers, but of friends.
Our shared tears and laughter have brought us healing.
Our hearts are not quite so heavy
as we leave with hope to carry us into the future.
Here in our circle, we have found
that we are not alone.
Our thanks to Joan Scott for sharing this poem with us. Joan lost her 20-year-old son in February 2012. She became involved with Comfort Zone Camp when her daughter attended a camp program in Massachusetts. She also served as a Big Buddy at a recent camp. She started writing poetry as a way to express her grief.