Every morning as if by magic a lovely brief poem appears in my email box. The topics of most are what the author has experienced that day or the day before –crows calling, trees swaying, rain falling… Last week there was a shift to a tenderer topic of grief and loss. The trigger was the tragic death of someone she cared deeply about. In visiting this website you too are likely to have experienced such a trigger. Anniversaries, birthdays, songs, places, events shared with the person who died can trigger fresh memories of that loss and an awakening of feelings of grief whether the loss is recent or if the loss was years ago. The author of these poems, Joan, has granted me permission to share a couple of them with you.
For All of US Who Remember Mary
In remembering we try to
what has fallen
apart. We think
back to what we could have, might have,
should have done and
weep. Our nights fill
with if only
as guilt and anger poke and creep
about the room
fusing with a
sadness beyond words.
Ah yes, familiar feelings for many of us, I suspect. Such feelings poke their way into our consciousness. Some would see them “negative;” I choose to see them as reminders of why the person was so woven into my life and how I might better care for those living. It doesn’t change the current “sadness beyond words,” but I know it is part of my/our grief journey and that expressing it in a poem, a letter or confiding in a friend is a part of healing. Joan says it better than I have here in another poem I received the same week as the one above.
There are questions words can’t answer
which are still worth
can nudge and shake
us toward awakening, open
and stubborn hearts,
and point to a
wordless path of deep compassion
for ourselves and
all others, those
here and those gone.
The fruits of loss can be “deep compassion for ourselves and all others” –a gift only those who have been there can share in the unique way a painful experience provides. At Comfort Zone Camp for children and youth who have lost a parent, sibling or primary care giver I have had the privilege of experiencing children, youth and volunteers share this gift of compassion out of their own grief experience and in doing so begin to heal them. I should share with you that Joan’s grandchildren attended one of these camps after the death of their father in an accident. I did not know this until I responded to one of her poems. It’s a small world as they say.
I hope these poems speak to you as they have spoken to me and I wish you compassion for yourself and for all others who grieve with you.
You can receive Joan’s poems at aholdingplace.com