Memories and Emotions

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

put together

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.

Wordless Ways

There are questions words can’t answer

which are still worth

pondering. They

can nudge and shake

us toward awakening, open

resisting minds

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

Photo Credit

4 Comments:

  1. Bernadette said on March 12, 2013 at 3:48 pm ... #

    very emotionally charged for me

  2. betty blackman said on April 28, 2013 at 4:28 am ... #

    I lost my fiancée March 3 2013 he was struck by an Amtrak train and I’m having a really hard time dealing with it we were so close together I don’t even knowvif his spirit is here with me. Or not I miss him so much I’ve never been throughvthis before I don’t know what to do.

  3. Drew Alexander said on April 30, 2013 at 12:11 pm ... #

    I lost my parents and a brother forty years ago, this past New Years Day. Time alone does not heal all wounds, it seems. As I’ve been working intensively with a therapist to deal with issues that *finally* surfaced after all these years, it’s been hard for me to find a bridge between thinking conceptually about these issues, and thinking emotionally, letting my thinking *drop* into my heart. The idea of a “wordless path of deep compassion”, as the poet wrote, might be what that *drop* would look like. Giving to others from a place of compassion, as well as counting the blessings we were given by our lost beloved, might be ways to “remind ourselves of why the person was so woven into our lives and how we might better care for those living,” as noted above. We must keep working at opening our hearts; there is no end, but there is progress.

  4. REBECCA said on May 7, 2013 at 6:49 am ... #

    I LOST MY DEAR MUM TWO MONTHS AGO . THE EMPTINESS IS EVERYWHERE AND I HAVE FOUND THE RAW AND INTENSE PAIN TO BE TERRIFYING AND UNBEARABLE AT TIMES.I HAVE NOTICED THE LEVEL OF PAIN CHANGING
    AND NOW THE WAVES THAT COME ARE NOT AS INTENSE AND THIS MADE ME FEEL VERY GUILTY AT FIRST ,UNTIL I REALISED THAT THE PAIN HAS JUST MOVED AND ITS NOW A HEART ACHE OR A CHURN OR A KNOT THAT COMES WITH ME EVERYWHERE.I HAVE WRITTEN LOTS OF POEMS SINCE LOSING MY MUM AND THIS I FIND HELPS ME IN MY GRIEF.

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