Thursday, March 19, 2015

Poem #37


Dante’s Inferno,
come close
the pain
my child’s

No Hell
by man,
by God,
me more.

The restrictions against grieving are numerous and powerful, and start very early in the socialization of children.  I think that those taboos are there because the art of grieving changes a person, from one state of existence to another, like boiling water into steam.  But steam can be condensed back into water; the changing people isirreversible and permanent.  I am awed by the powerful taboos against grieving.  I know about this from my work with people and my own struggles to grieve openly. 
People have often expressed a deep, abiding fear that if they start grieving they will never stop—or worse, just be stuck in a funk. I have never worked with a person that didn’t continue with his or her life as usual while going through this healing process. I have deep respect for those who make that choice. I see how much strength and courage it takes to be that vulnerable and exposed.
What I would like to see happen with my book is the creation of safe places for people to grieve without being interrupted or scolded. The only partially safe place is a cemetery. It would be nice to bring back the notion of the ancient Wailing Wall. The only thing I have ever experienced that even comes close to what I would hope for is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in DC. Loved ones are permitted to bring little memorials and at least weep quietly. I would wish for every bereaved person a safe place for deep, healing grief and reflection, in the daunting work of rebuilding a life.
I hope my book will helped you make some sense of your journey, and let a little sunshine in through the clouds.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Poem # 7

Sometimes I
am tired
of grieving
protest so much

I cannot seem
ever get
finally through

Roz said,
“Don’t try”

“The pain of her
is part
keeping her


This is one of those days.  I'm tired of putting on a happy face so as not to upset anyone.  I'm tired of trying to get a movement going to create safe places to grieve.  I'm tired of the loneliness that no one really "gets me" or cares.  So here is that essential choice again.  Do I sit down and give up?  Or do I sit down and draw up a new plan.  Maybe I'll sit down for a while and a new plan will come to me.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Oh, mystery of life

Oh, mystery of life
that I
feel such
such despair,
smile again.

I am so tired of being sad.  I can think happy thoughts and say cheerful things, but my gut just won’t keep up with my head.  That seems to be the nature of my life since Sharon’s passing.  It has become a silent, bittersweet journey, the journey is mine alone and I have learned how to negotiate the pitfalls, like today..  If I let the grief come from the toes upward and outward, then the depth of love, laughter and awareness comes from the toes also.  If I don’t then I am sick a lot.

Here’s to grieving, living and laughing, Cheers

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Poem # 23

For those
of us
who are
our grief,

Life has
can never

Over the years I have worked with and encountered many individuals that have lost a child, a sibling, or a grandchild. I am not surprised by how many families “die” when one of their children does. It seems to be especially hard on siblings because they often lose everything all at once. The sibling is gone, and the parents are so traumatized they can’t help their other kids deal with the loss. Certainly, the family as everyone knew it is gone. A new family can, and often does, emerge, but the process is painful and requires a vehicle, like ceremonies, rites, or rituals, to allow everyone to grieve. Since no one grieves exactly like anyone else, various family members miss each other’s signals, which increases the depth of the struggle.  It is still hard to know what to do or say because nothing much helps at any given moment.  I have to remind myself over and over that any encounter with a grieving person is unsatisfactory.  That is because neither party can give the other what they need.  My attempt to help cannot resurrect their dead loved one, and they can’t feel better for me.  This simple truth causes much misunderstanding in circles of friends.  But there is hope and healing.  On the other side is a lovely, albeit different, world also.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Join Me On This Journey

Her death is
no insurance,
that I
lose again.

There is no
protect myself
further loss.

That is deeply

What do
do with

I guess
how precious
today is
how deeply
I love you.

The choice we all have to make over and over is to take the risk of loving again.  The choice to love again, to invest enthusiastically in life, makes all the difference.  Knowing that we could lose someone again and still choosing to participate, rebuild our souls and lives and not bench ourselves. This is the quiet courage of grieving people.  Join me on this journey.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Empty Rooms

The death of my child
leaves me
a different world

I feel
set apart

My choice

has opened
did not know
were there.

I remember the days when I couldn’t concentrate long enough to read a book or write a paper for graduate school.  Then slowly I could and I read lots of things about losing a child and how to get “better”.  Getting better usually means not showing my grief in public, or anywhere for that matter.  So how did I get “better” to have a rich and rewarding life along side the crippling?  Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one in the world on this isolated lonely journey.  That is the nature of grief; it is alone with no guide except my own desire to live. That choice led to my frequently bumping into  walls, stubbing many toes and just wanting out of the struggle.  Over time I discovered that if I could find a safe place and grieve, I always felt better.  Gradually the waves of grief came further apart, not so intense and didn’t last as long.     

I still feel different, set apart from others, I suppose I really am.  Few have to redefine themselves and rebuild their lives in quite the same way as grieving parents and their families do.  Staying on the healing path is an ongoing discovery of how to stay clear that that is what is wrong.  It is easy to get sidetracked into anything but that

“It’s like going through empty rooms.  There is no one to stop you, but no one to applaud either*”

*From Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand