Poetry

Poetry

Leaving Early
Leaving Early
by Leanne O’Sullivan:

My Love,

tonight Fionnuala is your nurse.
You’ll hear her voice sing-song around the ward
lifting a wing at the shore of your darkness.
I heard that, in another life, she too journeyed
through a storm, a kind of curse, with the ocean
rising darkly around her, fierce with cold,
and no resting place, only the frozen
rocks that tore her feet, the light on her shoulders.

And no cure there but to wait it out.
If, while I’m gone, your fever comes down —
if the small, salt-laden shapes of her song
appear to you as a first glimmer of earth-light,
follow the sweet, hopeful voice of that landing.
She will keep you safe beneath her wing.
To Where You Are
To Where You Are
Josh Groban
Who can say for certain
Maybe you're still here
I feel you all around me
Your memories so clear

Deep in the stillness
I can hear you speak
You're still an inspiration
Can it be
That you are mine
Forever love
And you are watching over me from up above

Fly me up to where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile to know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are

Are you gently sleeping
Here inside my dream
And isn't faith believing
All power can't be seen

As my heart holds you
Just one beat away
I cherish all you gave me every day
'Cause you are mine
Forever love
Watching me from up above

And I believe
That angels breathe
And that love will live on and never leave

Fly me up
To where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for a while
To know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are

I know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are

Songwriters: Linda Thompson / Richard N Marx
To Where You Are lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management, Warner Chappell Music Inc
When Great Trees Fall
When Great Trees Fall
by Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

― Maya Angelou
To All Parents
To All Parents
--Edgar Guest

I’ll lend you for a little time a child of mine, he said,
For you to love the while she lives and mourn for when she’s dead,
Maybe six or seven years or twenty-two or three,
But will you, ‘til I call her back, take care of her for me?

She’ll bring her charms to gladden you,
And shall her stay be brief,
You’ll have her lovely memories as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise she will stay, since all from Earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there I want this child to learn.

I’ve looked the wide world over in my search for teachers true,
And from the throngs that crowd life’s lanes, I have selected you.
Now will you give her all your love, nor think the labor vain,
nor hate me when I come to call to take her back again?

I fancy that I heard them say, “Dear Lord your will be done,”
For all the joy your child shall bring, the risk of grief will run.
We’ll shelter her with tenderness, we’ll love her why we may,
and for the happiness we’ve known, forever grateful stay.
But shall the angels call for her much sooner than we planned,
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes,
And try to understand.

The Dash
The Dash
Author Unknown
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning ... to the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.
(1934-1998)

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth ...
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own;
The cars … the house … the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard ...
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what's true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we've never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
and more often wear a smile ..
Remembering that this special dash
May last only a little while.
So when your eulogy's being read
With your life's actions to rehash ...
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?
The Still Life
The Still Life
By Mark Sanders

Now—just at that silent place,
between sadness and gratitude,
wind-worn balances we all weather—
a cardinal leaps from a bare trim limb,
its red bloom lingering. The sun down
in deepening darkness
where night clouds consume it,
evanescence of orange and purple.

How moment passes, how memory
holds. The heart must break
if it has ever felt joy. The heart must
break because diminished things matter,
and having mattered hold, still.
You were here. For us. Then break, heart.
Your fingers lie upon the pulse of our days.
It Would Have Been Enough
If we had been given one more year
to watch the sunset on the far mountains,
float on our backs in salt ponds shaded
by ancient willows that protest the weight of their leaves,
and hold each other close as the seasons' cycle.
First in the lush sensual green of a damp summer,
I stare into your sunglasses
and see the blood orange rainbow of fall,
and in winter our sleigh tracks lazy curves
and the dogs complain as they sink knee-deep
and can't keep up.
It is spring and the earth explodes with flower and fruit,
And we lie in the grass dripping early juices into our mouths
to the whine of hornets that never touch us
for a force field of love protects us.
If we had been given one more year
It would have been enough.
If we had been given one more month
it would have to be July
we would watch the moon shape shift on the still surface of the pond,
and we would rise early and never sleep
for the days are so long, the sky so blue, and the earth warm and fecund.
We climb trails and the deer are amazed by our audacity,
Who are we to intrude? they wonder aloud.
Ignoring them, we climb higher until we find the blue stream whose waters
taste like honey. If we had been given one more month
It would have been enough.
If we had been given one more week,
we'd all lay in our big bed the children between us
A Dad Hurts Too
A DAD HURTS TOO
--Unknown

People don’t always see the tears a DAD cries.
His heart is broken too when his beloved child dies as
He tries to hold it together and tries to be strong.

Even though his whole world’s gone wrong.
He holds on to his wife as her tears fall.
Comforts her throughout it all.

He goes through his day doing what he’s supposed to do.
But a piece of his heart has been ripped away too.
So when he’s alone, he lets out his pain.

And his tears come down like pouring rain.
His world has crashed in all around him.
All that was bright has gone completely dim.

He searches for answers but none are to be found.
Who offers to help a DAD up
When he’s hit the ground?

He smiles through his tears and fears.
He hides behind a mask when he is feeling down.
But what you see on the outside is not always real.

Men don’t always show how they really feel.
He feels he has to be strong for the family.
The next time you see a mother hurting over the loss of her child,
Always remember, a DAD hurts too.
Remember Life
By Rabbi Maurice Davis-Baltimore, MD

I do not ask that you forget your dear departed.
I want you to remember.
I only ask
That you remember more than the moment of death,
more than the funeral, more than the house of mourning.
Remember life!
Remember the whole life,
not the final page of it.
Death
Death leaves a heartache
no one can heal.
Love leaves a memory
no one can steal.
Strange Life
Strange Life
by John O’Donohue

When you lose someone you love,
Your life becomes strange,
The ground beneath you becomes fragile,
Your thoughts make your eyes unsure;
And some dead echo drags your voice down
Where words have no confidence
Your heart has grown heavy with loss;
And though this loss has wounded others too,
No one knows what has been taken from you
When the silence of absence deepens.

Flickers of guilt kindle regret
For all that was left unsaid or undone.

There are days when you wake up happy;
Again inside the fullness of life,
Until the moment breaks
And you are thrown back
Onto the black tide of loss.
Days when you have your heart back,
You are able to function well
Until in the middle of work or encounter,
Suddenly with no warning,
You are ambushed by grief.

It becomes hard to trust yourself.
All you can depend on now is that
Sorrow will remain faithful to itself.
More than you, it knows its way
And will find the right time
To pull and pull the rope of grief
Until that coiled hill of tears
Has reduced to its last drop.

Gradually, you will learn acquaintance
With the invisible form of your departed;
And when the work of grief is done,
The wound of loss will heal
And you will have learned
To wean your eyes
From that gap in the air
And be able to enter the hearth
In your soul where your loved one
Has awaited your return
All the time.
In Blackwater Woods
In Blackwater Woods
by Mary Oliver

Look the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what it's
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
All Is Well
All Is Well
by Henry Scott Holland
(1847-1918)

Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room,
I am I, and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still,
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.
All is well.
Dearest Daddy
Dearest Daddy
By: Patrice D. Wilkerson

You are truly the best father anyone can have
We are going to miss your hugs, kisses, and your laugh
Our minds keep telling us you are in a better place
But our hearts long to see your beautiful face
You are genuinely one of a kind
You are the sweetest, funniest, and most caring person anyone could ever find
Everyone knows we all share something very special
We have this bond that is truly unbreakable
You were so proud of all of our achievements
You were always there for the good and the bad moments
Don’t worry, we’ll tell D.J. how wonderful a man you were
We will all cherish your memories forever
God wanted you; He saw fit to set you free
We miss you and we love you, our dearest daddy

This poem previously appeared in my book entitled, “Through It All, I’m Going to Make It,” copyright 2010, ISBN 978-1-934936-51-1.
To My Beloved Papa
To My Beloved Papa
By: Patrice D. Wilkerson

Dear Papa, my grandfather, my inspiration
This is my letter to you, showing my appreciation
I will remember all the laughs, hugs, and even your kiss
Without any doubt you will be missed
It’s going to be hard with you not around
But it’s good to know you’re in heaven watching down
I want you to know you were a great granddad
You were there for me through the good times and bad
Words cannot express how much I will miss you
It’s going to be tough but we will pull through
You will be remembered and NEVER forgotten
Making sure your grandchildren were spoiled rotten
We will never be apart; this is straight from my heart
You’re in heaven now carrying out your part

This poem previously appeared in my book entitled, “Through It All, I’m Going to Make It,” copyright 2010, ISBN 978-1-934936-51-1.
In Moments Like This
In Moments Like This
Author, Unknown

In moments like this,
I realize once more how much you meant to me.
Time has brought some healing,
and abated the pain that I felt when you died.
Now, with the passing of the months and the years,
I realize in new and unexpected ways
how deeply you are still a part of me.
All that we shared together—the laughter, the misunderstandings,
the reconciliations, the joy and the challenges and the pain.
All these and more have shaped me profoundly
in ways I can only dimply comprehend.
You live on in me.

Not all my memories are pleasant or easy to embrace.
There are also so many things, more than a few, that I regret:
words I spoke or failed to speak, actions taken or avoided,
silences endured, pain inflicted.
I ask myself why I could not have been more loving,
more understanding and patient.
And I ask for your forgiveness.

There is so much I still want to share with you.
And from time to time, I live through something that would have been
more beautiful or bearable—had you been with me.
Yes, as I grow older, I gain more understanding,
and I know now that my pain and loneliness is the inescapable consequence
for having love you.
May I find the strength to accept sorrow,
And bear it with grace.

"Majority" by Dana Gioia, from Pity the Beautiful. © Graywolf Press, 2012
Majority
Now you'd be three,
I said to myself,
seeing a child born
the same summer as you.

Now you'd be six,
or seven, or ten.
I watched you grow
in foreign bodies.

Leaping into a pool, all laughter,
or frowning over a keyboard,
but mostly just standing,
taller each time.

How splendid your most
mundane action seemed
in these joyful proxies.
I often held back tears.

Now you are twenty-one.
Finally, it makes sense
that you have moved away
into your own afterlife.

"Majority" by Dana Gioia, from Pity the Beautiful. © Graywolf Press, 2012
Why not ask me?
Why Not Ask Me?
--by Genessee Bourdeau Gentry

I hear it again and again,
One friend asked another how I’ve been.
How hard, really, would it be
to pick up the phone and just ask me?
By Chris Roe (Compilation)
By Chris Roe

These poems are a selection from “ In Search of Silence” a collection of 45 poems by Chris Roe. The poems take you on a Personal Journey in search of Spiritual Peace. Poems of Love, Hope and Peace.
This collection of work is available online at www.silentflightpublications.co.uk

If Time Were Mine

Your love is the space
In which I exist.

Your truth and inspiration
Drives light
Into the darkest corners
Of my life.

If time were mine to give,
I would give it all to you.


Sacred Truth

In your smile
I am born again,
In your eyes
All hopes and dreams return,
In your love
There is infinite peace.

Such magic
Comes but once,
Such truth
Is surely sacred.


Complete

In your presence,
The circle is complete,
The searching at an end.

No demands,
No duty,
No dark corners of isolation.

Only the soft light of creation,
Moving gently
Through the crystal silence,
Of the morning dew.


Spirit

Keeper of the morning light,
Guardian of the flame,
White knight of my soul.

Given at the beginning,
As a last defence,
At the centre of life.

Never beaten or destroyed,
Never taken or confined,
Never traded or lost.

And shared only
For love.


In Search Of Silence

Beyond the storm,
Where blue sky
Still cradles
The morning sun.

In the clearing,
Where shafts of light
Hold back the shadows
Of the ancient wood.

Beyond conflict and pain
And the inhumanity of man.
Beyond duty
And this journey
That has seemed so long.

Beyond the history
That has brought me
To this sacred place,
This spiritual sanctuary.

This peace,
This silence,
This love.


Sanctuary

Shafts of light
Through cathedral windows.
Dappled shade
Upon the leaves
Beneath my feet.
Bird song
In the branches above.

In the distance
Hind and fawn
Cross the forest track.
The sweet fragrance of autumn
Fills the misty air.

A gentle breeze
Moving colours
To the forest floor.

So precious
Such beauty,

So hard to find
Such peaceful sanctuary.
Please See Me Through My Tears
Please See Me Through My Tears

From Parting Is Not Goodbye, by Kelly Osmont


You asked, “How are you doing?”
As I told you, tears came to my eyes…
and you looked away
and quickly began to talk again.
All the attention you had give me drained away.

“How am I doing?”
I do better when people listen,
though I may shed a tear or two.
This pain is indescribable.
If you’ve never known it,
you cannot fully understand.
Yet I need you.
When you look away.
When I’m ignored.
I am alone with it.
Your attention means more than you can ever know
.
Really, tears are not a bad sign, you know!
They’re nature’s way of helping me to heal…
They relieve some of the stress of sadness.

I know you fear that asking how I’m doing brings me sadness…but you are wrong.
The memory of my child’s death will always be with me,
Only a thought away.
My tears make my pain more visible to you, but you did not give me the pain…
It was already there.

When I cry, could it be that you feel helpless, not knowing what to do?
You are not helpless,
And you don’t need to do a thing but be there.
When I feel your permission to allow my tears to flow,
You’ve helped me.
You need not speak. Your silence as I cry is all I need.
Be patient…do not fear.

Listening with your heart to “how I am doing” relieves the pain,
For when the tears can freely come and go, I feel lighter.
Talking to you releases what I’ve been wanting to say aloud.
Clearing space for a touch of joy in my life.

I’ll cry for a minute or two
…and then I’ll wipe my eyes,
and sometimes you’ll even find I’m laughing later.

When I hold back tears,
my throat grows tight,
my chest aches,
my stomach knots…
because I’m trying to protect you from my tears.
Then we both hurt…me,
because my pain is held inside,
a shield against our closeness
…and you, because suddenly we’re distant.

So please take my hand and see me through my tears…
then we will always be close.
If You Forget Me
Visiting my Friend after the Death of her Son
by Pablo Neruda

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.
Visiting my Friend after the Death of her Son
Visiting my Friend after the Death of her Son
by Ellen Bass

Thirteen years ago she'd brought him home,
this child who'd never had a home.
Nights, she tied her wrist to his
with a satin ribbon so he could sleep,
as if she could repair the dark
when he woke alone, his blood mother
gone for a trick, a fix, the burn
of urine days-old, the bars of his crib
pulling in and out of focus.
Was it an accident? suicide?
She can't help asking over and over,
as if she didn't know it's useless,
she has to grind the questions,
she's begun to turn the mill.
It's going to be a long haul,
I say, as if I know anything,
as if, even at times like this,
words are better than nothing.
As if I were still her lover,
I press her to me
too long, too hard, as if
her flesh would remember mine,
as if she cared, as if she had not begun
the journey that would take her away,
make her into an animal
we have no name for, as if
when she swallowed a spoonful
of the soup set before her
and said this is good
she would remember
to take another spoonful.
Her hair was combed, her t-shirt stained.
She sat on the couch working over
the story, the fight with his girlfriend,
the young policemen at the door, stiff
in their pressed blue cloth, telling her,
as if she'd believe them,
as if they hadn't gotten it wrong.
On the Death of the Beloved
On the Death of the Beloved

by John O'Donahue
from book TO BLESS THE SPACE BETWEEN US


Though we need to weep your loss,
You dwell in that safe place in our hearts
Where no storm or night or pain can reach you.

Your love was like the dawn
Brightening over our lives,
Awakening beneath the dark
A further adventure of color.

The sound of your voice
Found for us
A new music
That brightened everything.

Whatever you enfolded in your gaze
Quickened in the joy of its being;
You placed smiles like flowers
On the alter of the heart.
Your mind always sparkled
With wonder at things.

Though your days here were brief,
Your spirit was alive, awake, complete.

We look toward each other no longer
From the old distance of our names;
Now you dwell inside the rhythm of breath,
As close to us as we are to ourselves.

Though we cannot see you with outward eyes,
We know our soul's gaze is upon your face,
Smiling back at us from within everything
To which we bring our best refinement.

Let us not look for you only in memory,
Where we would grow lonely without you.
You would want us to find you in presence,
Beside us when beauty brightens,
When kindness glows
And music echoes eternal tones.

When orchids brighten the earth,
Darkest winter has turned to spring;
May this dare grief flower with hope
In every heart that loves you.

May you continue to inspire us:
To enter each day with a generous heart.
To serve the call of courage and love
Until we see your beautiful face again
In that land where there is no more separation,
Where all tears will be wiped from our mind,
And where we will never lose you again.

Loss
Loss
by Beth Lorber, Mother


I am here among friends, smiling at their humor
And making plans for tomorrow.
But there is another person, lying curled in the corner,
Crying out in unbelievable pain.
That, too, is me.

I am doing my household chores,
And the routine is familiar and satisfying,
A gesture toward a need for living.
But there is another person, lying in bed,
Willing her mind a blank, not wanting to think or be.
That, too, is me.

I look at a lovely Spring day,
A view of a world of growth and change,
A world only God could make.
But that other person stares through tears
With unseeing eyes, knowing there is no God.
That, too, is me.

I am surrounded by my family,
A gathering of love and joy and tenderness,
Of cherished moments and warm hugs.
But another person is there, whose arms and heart
Ache for one she can never hold and comfort.
That, too, is me.

Very slowly ... I am learning there is room
For joy and fun and cherished moments with friends,
In this hurry-up world, with no place for patience
For grieving--there may always be two of me.
And I am doing the best I can for both.
That, too, is me.

Roses
Roses
by Joanna Wullschleger

If Roses grow in Heaven, Lord
Please pick a bunch for me,
Place them in my daughter’s arms
And tell her they’re from me,
Tell her I love and miss her,
And when she turns to smile,
Place a kiss upon her cheek
And hold her for awhile.
Because remembering her is easy,
I do it every day,
But there’s an ache within my heart
That will never go away


b: Monty and Bonnie Montgomery in honor of their daughter Georgia Lee Montgomery Boutell.

1950-1994
Grief Today
Grief Today

I woke up next to
Grief today,
his bony arm stretched
round my waist like he owned me.

My pillow was drenched.
My eyes puffy and tired.

I lie there with my back to him, wondering,
"Where is my Beloved?"
but the only sound was a howling wind coming
from his cavern of bones.

It happens some days--
that goodness and light
disappear into the darkness,
upstaged by a skeleton of sorrow

The air that was clear and easy to breathe
becomes dark with soot and full of debris.

This is the Deep Mystery:
this coming and going
of Light and Dark.

The seeds know it.
The moon knows it.
The earth herself knows it.

Every shadow is caused by a brilliant light--somewhere.

Taken from Museletter by Jan Phillips 5/26/2011

Bereaved Parent
Bereaved Parent
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart,
The secret anniversaries of the heart.
The Lanyard
The Lanyard
by Billy Collins


The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly -
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that's what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift - not the worn truth
that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.
The Empty Chair
The Empty Chair
by, Mary Fridel-Hunt

Mary wrote this poem seven months
after her beloved husband, Bill, died
at the age of 79 from Alzheimer Disease

It’s a 24 year habit.
So every morning when I awaken,
I look across the bed
To see if you are there.
And if you aren’t,
I look out at your chair
knowing you will be there,
that you have gotten up before me
and are quietly sitting in your chair
meditating, being still, reading your Bible…
waiting for me to awaken.

Oh, you would have made the coffee
silently so as not to disturb my sleep.
(I never knew how you did that so quietly)
But you wanted hot coffee ready
when I woke up.
That brought you joy.
Loving me brought you such joy.

But that chair is empty now.
Every morning when I awaken
it is always empty.
And every morning when I awaken
I am shocked…and tears fall
and another day stands in front of me
like a Mt. Everest I must climb
alone.

How do I believe my own eyes?
Of course, I can,
and so I say to myself that
it must be Sunday and you have driven
to the gas station
to get my Sunday paper.
You knew I loved my Sunday paper
and having it on my chair
when I awoke
made you smile…and me laugh.

And then, wide awake,
the dread hits…
just the way it did the day after you died.
It hits hard and deep, again and again.

You will never sit in that chair again.
Never silently make coffee for us.
Never sneak out to get me a Sunday paper.
This can’t be true, my love.
You just can’t be gone.
(But that chair is empty.)
It has been empty for almost ten months now.
And I, too, am empty

A hole exists inside of me.
No one can see it but it is always there.
No matter where I am,
no matter what I am doing,
no matter who I am with.
Oh, they think it is mostly gone now.
Little do they know
(unless they are one of us).
But I know
and you know
it will never go away.

Tomorrow I will awaken
and once again
habit, hope—
will drive me to look at that chair.
And though I know tonight
that it will once again be empty,
I will see you there
smiling at me,
blue eyes twinkling with joy
because I am awake
and we can have
a simple cup of coffee together,
plan our day,
talk about our dreams,
hug each other tightly,
and know that we will somehow always
be together…
even though that chair
…your chair,
is empty.

And each morning
I will feel tears on my cheeks,
feel that awful dread,
that tells me again and again
that you are gone.

And those tears will flow
(I know they will)
until my chair, too,
is empty.
Memories of Patience
Memories of Patience, by Stacey Alderman, Patience’s Mom

Those private places remain the same as if you’ve never left.
Frozen in time, an eternal play place, a silent stage for the bereft.

Artwork on the refrigerator, your shoes still scattered on the floor,
Leave an opening for your return should you appear back at my door.

The pictures that capture treasured memories hang like a shrine upon the wall.
Your scribbled marks, I’m proud of now, that decorate the hall.

On the door frame marks the feet you grew only reaching to year four.
A scrap of paper, dirty clothes and an empty pizza box I hoard.

I talk to you, but now no answers fall upon my ear.
I miss the stories, songs and laughter from when life was full of cheer.

Your puppy Emma is the only one who sleeps lonely upon your bed.
And sometimes me when I want to be where last you laid your head.

Im memory of Patience Grace Alderman June 7, 2006 - January 5, 2011
Wounded Holidays
Wounded Holidays by Alan Harris

Young, they left our homes
in a moment, long or quick,
they were gone.
Dewdrops turned into teardrops,
the shining sea too small
to hold our grief.
"Give us our children back," we pled
as we noticed their plateless places
at the table.

Regret made a river through our days,
tempering laughter, pervading sudden silences.
Bodies they had through us, with us
bodies housing minds and souls
no longer.
The holiday season's return
makes throb now the wounds
we felt at their parting,
wounds which may heal
in time, we hope,
into strength
but not yet, in this season
of snowflakes that sting and cookies
that somehow taste of vinegar.

"If only," goes our carol.
If only they could return to us
but no.
If only
we could speak with them
but no. If only we could love them
so intensely that they could
feel our presence right now
but yes, yes to this one,
a thousand yesses--
they can.
How can they not feel our love,
being core in core with us,
heart in heart?
We give love this season to them and
to each other as plundered parents
and wounded healers.
With love flowing, something in our lives
a magnificent, mysterious Something
guides us like a star.
The Year Before Last
The Year Before Last
by Unknown

The holiday season is approaching,
and with it comes the New Year.
Although for me time passes slowly,
New Year's Day will ring in quickly.


I dread this New Year's Day
because they will look at me
in a terribly strange way
when I get misty-eyed,
and talk about something you had done.


After you first left me,
they reasoned when I cried,
"He's only been gone a few months."
And I would catch that look of
understanding in their eyes,
and found some comfort that they knew.


But on last New Year's Day,
my first thought upon awakening was,
Oh God, my son died last year,
not just a few months ago, not even this year,
but last year.
He will never live in this year.


They didn't understand, they didn't reason,
that last year, for me, the loss was still new.
They thought, "It happened last year,
so long ago, why does she still cry?"
I could see it in their eyes.


This New Year's Day, will it be different?
Will my first thought upon awakening be,
Oh God, my son died the year before last,
not a few months ago, not this year or even last year,
but the year before last?
He will never live in this year.


Will they even listen, should I not look them
in the eyes, for fear that I shall see,
"Why is she still crying? It happened so long ago.
It was the year before last."


Those words that we use
to describe the passage of time,
a few months, this year,
last year, the year before last.
They don't know that time stands still for me.


Will they understand that's why I cry?
Don't they know
my son just died ...


the year before last?
For Grief
For Grief by John O'Donohue


When you lose someone you love,
Your life becomes strange,
The ground beneath you gets fragile,
Your thoughts make your eyes unsure;
And some dead echo drags your voice down
Where words have no confidence.

Your heart has grown heavy with loss;
And though this loss wounded other too,
No one knows what has been taken from you
When the silence of absence deepens.

Flickers of guilt kindle regret
For all that was left unsaid or undone.

There are days when you wake up happy;
Again inside the fullness of life,
Until the moment breaks
And you are thrown back
Onto the black tide of loss.

Days when you have your heart back,
You are able to function well
Until in the middle of work or encounter,
Suddenly with no warning,
You are ambushed by grief.

It becomes hard to trust yourself.
All you can depend on now is that
Sorrow will remain faithful to itself.
More than you, it know its way
And will find the right time
To pull and pull the rope of grief
Until that coiled hill of tears
Has reduced to its last drop.

Gradually, you will learn acquaintance
With the invisible form of your departed;
And when the work of grief is done,
The wound of loss will heal And you will have learned
To wean your eyes
From that gap in the air
And be able to enter the hearth
In your soul where your loved one
Has awaited your return all the time.
On the Well of Grief
On the Well of Grief by, David Whyte


Those who will not slip
Will not slip
Beneath the still surface
On the well of grief
Turning down
Turning down
To its' black water
To the place we cannot breathe
Will never know
Never know
The source from which we drink
The secret water
Cold and clear
Nor find
Nor find
In the darkness glimmering
The small round coins
Thrown by those who wished
For something else
I Love Life Still
I Love Life Still
by Jesse Daniels,
Erik Hanifan's Mom

I stand before the gates of hell
does it exist
I know too well

familiar are the licks of fire
consuming my soul
on the burning pyre

come challenge me
do what you will
Im not afraid
I love life still
Greasing the Cookie Sheet
Greasing the Cookie Sheet
by Suzanne Camejo,
Gabriella's and Chantica's Mom

Greasing the cookie sheet,
First time in 18 months.
Each stain rife with memories
Where the butter or the chocolate
Baked on brown , now etched into the aluminum;
Like the most valuable print I could possess,
Never to be scrubbed away.
No saint or virgin weeping but
My own Pollock and de Kooning
Priceless now.

My reluctant martyr, fascinated by
Frida as a bleeding doe pierced by arrows;
Little did we imagine ...
As she rubbed the butter in;
I recall her long, slender fingers that
Grew from baby soft to graceful,
Stirring the batter with glee,
Licking the wire beaters each time.
Quiet in thought,
Always observing, watching,
Listening.
Every single movement
I made, what I said;
A lesson; each action an
Influence for life.
All my unique mind’s gifts,
Even my quirks,
Transferred patiently,
Downloaded
Day by day, year by year
She selected only the best of me,
Editing out the
Vices and vituperation;
A purer me to carry on,
A legacy all ours!

Talk about pride!
I bust open with It .

Now , instead, I hold a baking sheet,
Blotches of burnt sienna,
Umber baked on
In smooches like her
Lips, pooched and full,
Every stain a kiss!
Her chocolate chip cookies long gone
Eaten with zeal and pride
And the tin tucked away in the cupboard,
Un-wiped , perhaps just rinsed.
Ah ! the treasures she left
Despite my scolding,
“Gabriella! Remember to scrub the pan
after you use it!”
Are here for me .
Bending over
Studying the metal
Like a map to where
She might be,
Like a journal written
By her hand, left behind
"To lead you to me,
Mom," to help
Me find the way, the code,
A path
That has been blurred
By tears
Overgrown ;
Weed choked with
Sorrow;
Temporarily
Obscured by grief and
The thick mist of
Eternity.
I Carry Your Heart With Me
I Carry Your Heart With Me
E. E. Cummings
i carry your heart with me
(i carry it in my heart)
i am never without it

(anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
I fear no fate
(for you are my fate, my sweet)
i want no world
(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Laughter through tears
Laughter through tears,
His heaven on earth,
Words never to be spoken,
Upon eternal life.

From across the lake,
Hopeful as the sun reveals itself,
Through decadent red skies,
Elegant clouds form a majestic passageway;
Strong winds call him home.

On the wings of love,
Embraced by blessings,
Earned from a lifetime of compassion,
With an escort of angels,
His spirit gently glides to heaven.

By Jill Hart
David's Poem
David's Poem
written by David's sister, Pam Tanner

David was a mighty ship
that weathered many gales,
and leaves a blessing to the world
in every place he sails.
He buoyed the dreary and sheltered the sad,
to help drive the dark clouds away,
He gave a helping smile to those
who’ve fallen by the way.

David was a blessed ship
that was full of peace and love,
and carries sunshine everywhere,
I feel his warmth from above,
His hull so strong, yet so sweet
he’s helped to smooth the pathway out,
for us all to follow in his feet.

Her, By Suzanne Camejo
Her DNA
Permeates every path
Only scientists can
Discern
Her fingertips on
Photographs
On the perfume
bottles, the comb.
Criminologists
Could have a heyday
Were they searching
For her.
She is here!
On soap bars and cosmetics
In fact her makeup bag
Must be rife with it,
Alive even!
All those skin lotions and
Creams she lathered …
Oh, and the champagne-colored
Lip gloss!
Think of the riot of cells
Printed like maps of who
She was in life;
In this house, her room;
The books, each notepad,
The flip-flops,
ALL of them!
Don’t expect to see her
Poring over her dresses in
The closet
All that’s left of her is-
EVERYWHERE-!
Molecules mixed with
Dust motes,
Evidence of Life
It’s in the DNA in
Every single room
It’s as thick as her
Soft brown hair and as
Loud as her voice
Calling … ”MOM!”
“Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower”
“Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower”
--by Rainer Maria Rilke
Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you. Let this darkness be a bell tower and you the bell. As you ring,
what batters you becomes your strength. Move back and forth into the change. What is it like, such intensity of pain? If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.
In this uncontainable night, be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses, the meaning discovered there.
And if the world has ceased to hear you, say to the silent earth: I flow. To the rushing water, speak: I am.
Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29
Poem given to Susan Whitmore, Erika's mom, on Mother's Day 2008 by her niece, Paisha Fellows.
Happy Mother's Day Aunt Susan. I know this is always an especially hard day for you so I wanted to say I love you and so does Erika. You were and still are an amazing mother to her and she would be so proud of how far the foundation has come and how many people, more people then you probably know of, that you have helped. Here's a poem that I wrote a little while ago and I hope relates to how this day makes you feel because I know this happens to me and how hard it is to have to go threw the pain all over again.

Life is sad once in a while

Making it hard to laugh and smile

Everyday things suddenly remind you

Of memories of old, you thought you put behind you

A picture here a story there

A glimpse of eyes a flash of hair

Loved ones past take new form

Thinking you see them, false alarm

You know they’re gone but still can’t help

That memory lapse during which you yelp

But once again you realize the terrible truth

They’re gone, not here, not nail nor tooth
I Know You By Heart
I Know You By Heart
-- Diane Scanlon, Eve Nelson

Midnights in Winter
The glowing fire
Lights up your face in orange and gold. I see your sweet smile
Shine through the darkness
Its line is etched in my memory.
So I'd know you by heart.
Mornings in April
Sharing our secrets
We'd walk until the morning was gone.
We were like children Laughing for hours
The joy you gave me lives on and on.
Cause I know you by heart.
I still hear your voice On warm Summer nights Whispering like the wind.
You left in Autumn
The leaves were turning
I walked down roads of orange and gold.

I saw your sweet smile I heard your laughter
You're still here beside me every day.
Cause I know you by heart.
Cause I know you by heart.
Love Lives On
Love Lives On

A fire no longer glows bright,

A bird that suddenly takes flight.

An ocean switches from calm to wild,

A torrent of wind you once thought was mild.

A sturdy tree torn down in a storm,

Love suddenly changes form.

Once beautiful, and there

Now gone forever, who knows where.

When they leave, so does the love,

That you never before really thought of.

But when it’s gone, you finally appreciate,

The gift you had, but now it’s too late.

There’s no more time, to say how you feel,

You never said you loved them, never made it real.

Now they are where you can’t reach,

And yourself you must beseech.

To forgive yourself is a difficult task,

For ourselves we blame, ourselves we ask.

How we could let things get this way,

How we could forget the most important thing to say,

How we could take for granted the most important thing,

Compared to it, all else is a trifling.

But I guess some way they must know,

Even though they’re gone, we love them so.

Forever they have a place in our hearts,

Forever without them it will be broken in parts.

They may be gone, but still be here

Holding us, every time we shed a tear.

Loving us forever more,

Nothing else must we implore.
Storms of Life
Storms of Life

When the storms of life are raging, And the clouds are all around, And you think you're all alone, Just take a look around.

When there is no one there to talk to And you're feeling sad and blue And you think no one will listen, I'll be the light in the storm for you.

Even though we've never met, Or seen each other's smiles, Our friendship is from the heart, not sight, And it can span the miles.

We all are one winged angel, Alone it is impossible to fly, But if we embrace each other, We can span the sky.

The next time you're feeling lonely, And the storms are beating you down, Just come online and find me, And I will take away your frown.
The Day the Earth Stopped Spinning
The Day the Earth Stopped Spinning

When I lost my child,
the earth ceased to spin.
The moon will not rise,
the tide won’t come in.

The sun insists on having its way,
Blasting its rays and rising each day.
Another day comes,
my child is not here;
Another day comes,
I live my worst fear.

Each morning I wake with the same painful thought;
Why am I here when my sweet child is not?
All moments that pass, I question this fate;
While other lives carry on, I sit and I wait.

I wait for an answer, for some reason why…
Praying for it to be me that could die.
Through my sorrow and grief,
I have made a life choice;
To keep my son’s memory alive and give him a voice.
I share stories of my son,
and the man he would be;
A boy who lived life and was a hero to me.
Who would grow up and make the world a better place.
Who would save the seas and the oceans from the human race
When I lost my child, the earth ceased to spin.
But the moon still must rise and the tide must come in.
And since the sun insists on having its way,
I will live in my child’s memory each and every day.

~Kim Turner in memory of Matthew Beard 1/20/85 – 12/29/06
My First Christmas In Heaven
When I lost my child, the earth ceased to spin.
The moon will not rise, the tide won’t come in.
The sun insists on having its way,
Blasting its rays and rising each day.
Another day comes, my child is not here;
Another day comes, I live my worst fear.
Each morning I wake with the same painful thought;
Why am I here when my sweet child is not?

All moments that pass, I question this fate;
While other lives carry on, I sit and I wait.
I wait for an answer, for some reason why…
Praying for it to be me that could die.

Through my sorrow and grief,
I have made a life choice;
To keep my son’s memory alive
and give him a voice.
I share stories of my son,
and the man he would be;
A boy who lived life
and was a hero to me.

Who would grow up and
make the world a better place
. Who would save the seas and
the oceans from the human race
When I lost my child,
the earth ceased to spin.
But the moon still must rise
and the tide must come in.
And since the sun insists on having its way,
I will live in my child’s memory each and every day.

~Kim Turner in memory of Matthew Beard 1/20/85 – 12/29/06
I'm Always Here
"I'm Always Here"
--Author, Unknown

I have not turned my back on you,
So there is no need to cry.
I'm watching you from Heaven,
Just beyond the morning sky.

I've seen you almost fall apart,
When you could barely stand.
I asked the Lord to comfort you,
And watched him take your hand.

He told me you are in more pain,
Than I could ever be.
He wiped his eyes and swallowed hard,
Then gave your hand to me.

Although you may not feel my touch,
Or see me by your side.
I've whispered that I love you,
While I wiped each tear you cried.

So please try not to ache for me,
We'll meet again one day.
Beyond the dark and stormy sky,
A rainbow lights the way.

My Mom Lies
Ask my Mom how she is . . .
My Mom, she tells lies
She never did before.
From now until she dies,
she'll tell a whole lot more.

Ask my Mom how she is,
And because she can't explain,
She will tell a little lie--
She can't describe the pain.

Ask my Mom how she is,
She'll say "I am all right."
If that's the truth, then tell me
Why does she cry every night.

Ask my Mom how she is,
She seems to cope so well.
She didn't have a choice, you see,
Nor had the strength to yell.

Ask my Mom how she is,
"I'm fine; I'm well; I'm coping."
For God’s sake Mom, tell the truth,
Just say your heart is broken.

She'll love me all her life--
I loved her all of mine.
But if you ask her how she is,
She'll lie and say she's fine.

Here I am in Heaven,
I cannot hug from here.
If she lies to you, don't listen;
Hug her, and hold her near.

On the day we meet again,
We'll smile, and I'll be bold,
I’ll say, "You're lucky to get in here, Mom,
With all the lies you’ve told!"
I Wrote Your Name.
My Mom Lies


Ask my Mom how she is . . .
My Mom, she tells lies
She never did before.
From now until she dies,
she'll tell a whole lot more.

Ask my Mom how she is,
And because she can't explain,
She will tell a little lie--
She can't describe the pain.

Ask my Mom how she is,
She'll say "I am all right."
If that's the truth, then tell me
Why does she cry every night.

Ask my Mom how she is,
She seems to cope so well.
She didn't have a choice, you see,
Nor had the strength to yell.

Ask my Mom how she is,
"I'm fine; I'm well; I'm coping."
For God’s sake Mom, tell the truth,
Just say your heart is broken.

She'll love me all her life--
I loved her all of mine.
But if you ask her how she is,
She'll lie and say she's fine.

Here I am in Heaven,
I cannot hug from here.
If she lies to you, don't listen;
Hug her, and hold her near.

On the day we meet again,
We'll smile, and I'll be bold,
I’ll say, "You're lucky to get in here, Mom,
With all the lies you’ve told!"
There will come a day
By David Ray

There will come a day
When you would have lived your life
All the way through.
Mine long gone.
And peace will descend then.
Such a great peace, like a breath
Moving those pines, moving
Even the stone.
And then, then I can let go.
Macrina Weiderkehr’s reflection
Macrina Weiderkehr’s reflection
Blest Are the Sorrowing: They Shall Be Consoled


And what does it mean to mourn? I asked.
And a wise elder stepped forward and said:

To mourn is to be given a second heart.
It is to care so deeply that you show your ache in person.

To mourn is to be unashamed of tears.
It is to be healed
And broken
And built-up
All in the same moment.

Blessed are you who care for others
With a heart that feels
With a heart that hurts
With a heart that loves

And blessed are you who continue to care for others
With a heart that serves
And a heart that sees the need.

To mourn is to forget yourself for a moment
And get lost in someone else’s pain
And then,
To find yourself
In the very act of getting lost.

To mourn is to be an expert
in the miracle of being careful with
and honoring
your pain and grief.

To mourn is to sing with the dying
And to be healed
By the song
……and the death.
SPECIAL ANGEL IN HEAVEN
SPECIAL ANGEL IN HEAVEN

There is a special Angel in Heaven
that is a part of me.
It is not where I wanted him
but where God wanted him to be.

he was here but just a moment
like a night time shooting star.
And though he is in Heaven
he isn't very far.

So I send this special message
to the Heavens up above.
Please take care of my Angel
and send him all my love.

For This Child I Prayed.......1 Samuel 1:27
GOOD NIGHT SWEET KNIGHT
I thought I'd share a song I wrote for my son...
David was a Gulf War vet who died as a result of Gulf War Illness which he suffered with for 13 years...he was 36.

GOOD NIGHT SWEET KNIGHT

My grief is a constant companion
Too familiar the sting of my tears
But I know that our Lord has released you
From all of your suffering and fears.

I pray that my sorrow will somehow
Give way to my memories so sweet
And until we are someday united
There's a piece of my heart that you keep.

Now that you have complete healing
You know how you touched all our lives
You're a part of so many who love you
And a brave shining knight in my eyes.

So I'm wishing you sweet dreams my darling
Sweet rest from your terrible fight
Remember that I'll always love you
My baby, my son, my sweet knight.

Gail Leighton
Wrote for those at Virginia Tech
About Avery: Avery Beer is 9 years old, and her mommy, Kori Beer, died in 2005. Avery is an amazing girl who wrote this beautiful tribute to all of those at Virginia Tech. Here is what she wrote:

This is a poem I wrote for those at Virginia Tech. If you knew any of them I'm sorry to hear. Oh and when I wrote it I was thinking of the family of these people so it's sort of said by the students.

Mommy, Daddy I miss you so much
I love you and I wish I were there
Watching my siblings grow so soon
Although I'm not right next to you
I want you to know
I'm there for you

I tryed because those at Virginia Tech never got to say goodbye. So I'm taking my part in showing that I care.
Love,
Avery Beer
The Gift
For Jill, Written by April Muir, Jill's Sister

Of all the things that are left behind

When a person leaves this world,

The one to treasure above all else

Is the gift of one brave girl.


The battle ground to which she fought

Became a spiritual garden,

Of love and laughter, hope and faith

For others to grow strong in.


A gift you see is what she gave

To every one she touched.

A piece of her she handed out

And each time gave so much.

The world became a better place

The day that she was born.

The day she left the world agrees

A million hearts were torn

The joy she brought to those she knew

Will ensure that we miss her.

But I was blessed more then most

That special gift was my SISTER.

By: April Muir
I MISS YOU MORE
I MISS YOU MORE . . . by Kim Hodne

I miss you more than you’ll ever know
The world is not the same without you here
Sadness washes over me without a moments notice
Your presence can be so clear

I wish I could me that Mom again
The one who answered every call
And laughed at all your stories
Who lent the understanding ear

I loved being there for you
I looked forward to all that lay ahead
I wanted the best for you
I lost such a good friend

I still long to see that bright smile
That lit up those Irish eyes
I want to feel the strong hug
I want to hear your contagious laugh

The wait seems so long indeed
Until I can see you again
I just want to be that Mom again
The one who loved you more than you’ll ever know
A HOLIDAY MEMORIAL
AS WE LIGHT THESE FOUR CANDLES IN HONOR OF YOU,

WE LIGHT ONE FOR OUR GRIEF, ONE FOR OUR COURAGE,

ONE FOR OUR MEMORIES AND ONE FOR OUR LOVE.


THIS CANDLE REPRESENTS OUR GRIEF. THE PAIN OF

LOSING YOU IS INTENSE. IT REMINDS US OF THE DEPTH

OF OUR LOVE FOR YOU.


THIS CANDLE REPRESENTS OUR COURAGE – TO CONFRONT

OUR SORROW – TO COMFORT EACH OTHER – TO

CHANGE OUR LIVES.


THIS LIGHT IS IN YOUR MEMORY – THE TIME WE LAUGHED,

THE TIMES WE CRIED – THE TIMES WE WERE ANGRY

WITH EACH OTHER – THE SILLY THINGS YOU DID, THE

CARING AND JOY YOU GAVE US.


THIS LIGHT IS THE LIGHT OF LOVE. AS WE ENTER THIS

HOLIDAY SEASON DAY BY DAY WE CHERISH THE SPECIAL

PLACE IN OUR HEARTS THAT WILL ALWAYS BE RESERVED

FOR YOU. WE THANK YOU FOR THE GIFT YOUR LIVING

BROUGHT TO EACH OF US.


WE LOVE YOU
The pain of death
The pain of death

The pain of death is not with those who have passed on.
It lives in the hearts of those who remain behind.

An unbearable ache that grows with each empty day.
Days without our children; comforting them, holding them, drying their tears and sharing their laughter.

Our children have passed into a place of calmness, comfort and peace

But for us who remain, we are embarking on a lonely journey, a sad and tearful voyage to which we see no end.

Many will travel this mournful journey, yet along our path, we will find new friends, compassionate, loving and understanding.

We will mutually share our pain and gain strength as we move through this journey, and learn to accept that life does move forward.

I know we will always live with this pain, but will the hurt will lessen as we continue this journey?

I like to think that I can go on because my child is always with me, always in my heart

I am comforted by the pictures in my mind, that voice that only I hear If only I could reach out and hold my sweet child again

This pain is not benevolent; it has ravaged my very being It has fractured my spirit and devastated my soul

I pray for a gentle respite from this pain,
For tender moments of grace and beauty
When I can be joyfully immersed in precious memories of my child. . .
And find solace.

Denice D’Andrea
July 2006
Grief
This thing, this blackness we call grief,
menacing as the dark storm cloud
that moves in silent threat,
Never knowing at what moment
It will strike and with what intensity.

Grief is no respecter of status or person,
age or circumstance.
It consistently hovers, and we, the bereaved
seek shelter from its agonizing attacks
on our bruised and battered hearts.

We seek a shelter that is not to be found
Old friends forsake us, new acquaintances are wary,
Happiness eludes us and peace is non-existent
Normal is a foreign idea

Our daily struggle is so intense that we are
often a weak and weary adversary for this grief

All encompassing and ever present,
This grief drains our deepest emotions.

Will we, can we ever pass through this pain,
this sadness, this grief?

What waits for us when at last we find that
tiny opening that allows us to enter a
new world where grief remains only as
an infrequent intrusion?

Surely someday, we will find that time when
Memories, beautiful, warm and comforting
will embrace us. . .

Bittersweet, perhaps, but none the less
These precious memories of our dear children
will be the cornerstones upon which we will build
a new normal in our forever changed lives.

In memory of my daughter, Abby Ellen D’Andrea
6-13-1978 - 12-4-2004
Denice D’Andrea
DEAR FRIEND
It has been said that the more deeply we loved,
The more deeply we grieve
My love cannot be measured
In the ways I show my grief

There is no “formula” for grieving
No pattern to which I must adhere
My grief is unique
As was my child

I ask this of you, my friends
Do not be afraid of me, because I grieve openly
Do not avoid me, because I often shed tears
Do not shun me, because I choose not to speak
And please, do not forget me, because I cannot forget my child

Please be there for me to share the tearful times,
The lonely times, the times of talking
And the times of silence.

My child lives on within me
I want her memory to live on within you

I lovingly speak her name often
Can you do this, as well?
Can you look at her pictures and see beauty
As I do everyday?

Can you do these things for me, my friend?
For me and for my beloved child?

Denice D’Andrea
July 2006
I Wanted So Much for You
I Wanted So Much for You
by Maria LaFond Visscher

I wanted so much more for you, my sweet little baby.

I wanted to change your diapers, not my life.

I wanted to nurse you, not my grief.

I wanted to dress you up, not bury you down.

I wanted to hear the sounds of you crying for me at night, not my

own sounds of crying for you, my innocent, misconceived baby.

I wanted to see you grow, not the grass upon the grave.

I wanted to see you asleep in the crib, not in the casket.

I wanted to give you life, not death.

I wanted to show you off, not alone go on.

I wanted comb your fuzzy hair, not save a lock of it.

I wanted to pick up after you, not put down my dreams for you.

I wanted to hold you in my arms, not this doll.

I wanted to walk you late at night, not my fears.

I wanted so much for you, my newly born, newly gone—child.

I wanted so much more

I want so much

Today, I’ll speak with an angel
Today, I’ll speak with an angel
Not just any angel,
But a special one
My child

I will say many things
And know my child hears
My child will comfort me
As I shed countless tears

My questions need answers
But when I ask “why”?
“One day you will know”
Is the gentle reply

I ask “Please visit me”
And the words softly came. . .
“I always am with you”
Just call out my name

And then came the voice
I was anxious to hear
From my child, my dearest
Whispered soft in my ear

Please know at those times
In your sorrowful cries
It is me that will wipe
All the tears from your eyes

When the pain you are feeling
Becomes too much to bear
My arms are around you
To give comfort and care

My arms ache as yours
To be held and to hold
To sit next to you
Sharing memories of old

Then I’ll gaze in your eyes
Overflowing with love. .
And wait for the day
When we’ll meet above
Denice D’Andrea June 2006
MY PRECIOUS CHILD
MY PRECIOUS CHILD
Talk to me, my precious child
Speak to me in my heart,
Let me hear your kind, sweet voice
Full of love, though we’re apart

Touch my hand, my precious child
Even if just so brief
Let me feel your gentleness
To help me through my grief.

The scent of you, may I enjoy
Just one more time, I plead
To lift my spirit and soothe my soul
Right now, it’s what I need

May I see your smile once more
It brightens up my day
With twinkling eyes and warmest grin
You won’t seem far away

Stay with me, my precious child
In heart and soul and mind
Though you have left this world for now
Please don’t leave me behind

In Memory of Abby’s birthday
June 13, 1978

Denice D’Andrea
MY CHILD, MY FRIEND
There will come a time
When life comes to an end
But I lost you too soon
My child, my friend

My days are so empty
My tears overflow
Yes, my heart is broken
Why must it be so?

Though I must believe
That you are at peace
My grief and my sorrow
Seem never to cease

But someday I hope
This grief will give way
To beautiful memories
Of happier days

When courage and purpose
Will take away sorrows
These are my hopes
For all my tomorrows

And when that day comes
That my time here must end
I’ll meet you in heaven
My child, my friend

For Abby

Denice D’Andrea
May, 2006
My Love Set Free
My Love Set Free
(TK Jordan - Author "Woman at the Well - Get Past the Pain!")

I’ll never forget the day that God sent you into my life,
The awesome way your smile seemed to make everything all right.

I’ll never forget the love you shared, unselfish and true,
I’ll never forget the special gift God bestowed on me in you.

As you stood before the Father, as your precious time had come,
With open arms he welcomed you, my child He said, "Well Done!"

But what about my Parents, who stood by me all the way?
I need to know, I’ve got to know Lord will they be O.K.?

You mean the ones I chose for you, whose love for you has no end?
Oh yes, my loving precious child, their broken heart I’ll mend.

For they know me and they love me, though today their heart is torn,
Your Parents faith will uphold them; they know I'll comfort them that mourn.

Though at times our hearts are heavy, the truth we plainly see,
My loving, dedicated, precious Child…

This day God has SET YOU FREE!
My Son, My Rain
My Son, My Rain

You arrived early and left that way,

But taught me well in your short stay,

Loving your family in an honest way,

Fairness and sharing part of your day,

A smile and hand to all coming your way,

Only injustice would move you much to say,

Your love for Megan - admired by all,

Your riding skill made you extra tall,

Proud of your trade and one of the best,

You loved it most when put to a test,

Loved by so many and loving them too,

I thought there was much here for you to do,

But your heart was troubled trying to love,

In a life with too much push and shove,

You got confused trying to fix your pain,

So “In Harms Way” was the sad refrain,

Through tear filled eyes, I cry out … How can this be?

And in my mind….Your words come to me,

“I screwed up Pop….Well…. I mean…..not really…..

Yea but …..Yea I did…..Huh..? …. It doesn’t matter now”

With a whisk of your hand to erase the pain,

I have tried the same many times in vain,

So proud I am …you are my Son,

Your parting will forever… be my rain.
When I come round to call. . . .
When I come round to call. . . .

I'll lend you for a little time
A child of mine, God said,
for you to love the while he lives,
and mourn for when he's dead.

It may be six or seven weeks,
or thirty years, or three
But will you, till I call him back,
Take care of him for me?

He'll bring his charm to gladden you
and should his stay be brief,
You'll have his lovely memories,
as solace for your grief.

I can not promise he will stay
, since all from Earth return,
but there are lessons taught down "there"
I want this child to learn.

I looked the world over
in my search for people true,
and from the throngs who crowd life's way,
I have selected you.

Now will you give him all your love,
Not think the labor in vain,
Nor hate Me when I call around
to take him back again?

Shelter him with tenderness,
love him while we may,
and for the happiness you have known
forever shall he stay.

But when I come "round to call for him
much sooner than you had planned"
I fancy that you will say,
Dear Lord, forgive this grief,
and help us understand.
SLOW DANCE
SLOW DANCE

Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask How are you?
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?
You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Ever told your child,
We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say,"Hi" You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.
When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift....
Thrown away.
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.
The Mask
The Mask
I have a face I put in place;
It's what I wear when folks are there.

For those only who want to see
the way they think I ought to be.

I live in times that have no light,
just cloudy darkness, endless night.

I no longer see the sun,
I laugh but never feel the fun.

When I arise to start a day,
I stumble as I make my way.

I don't know who's really me,
I'm not the one I used to be.
I have no heart to fill with joy,
I lost it when I lost my boy.

The future is so bleak to me,
I choose to not let others see.

So when people stop to ask,
I hide behind my smiling mask.
When you lose a child, it is alright to . . .
When you lose a child, it is alright to . . .

Scream in the shower;
Yell in the car;
Howl at the moon;
Cry anywhere you like;
Misplace your glasses;
Lose the car;
Forget your own name;
Put milk in the cupboard;
Put toilet paper in the refrigerator;
Put ice cream in the oven;
Beat up a pillow;
Stomp on the ground;
Throw stones in a lake;
Change grocery stores if it hurts too much;
Wear one black shoe and one navy;
Have tearstains on your tie;
Eat French fries for breakfast;
toast for Lunch,
and peanut butter for dinner (as long as you can eat);
Write her a letter;
Bake him his favorite cookies;
Smell her clothes;
Lie in her bed and cry;
Celebrate his life on his birthday;
Talk to your pets (they understand);
Leave her room the way it is for as long as you like;
Say his name just to hear the sound;
Talk about her to others;
Tell loved ones what you need;
Say "no" when you feel like it;
Cancel plans if you want;
And Have a really bad day.
And One Day, When You Are Ready, It's Alright to . .
Laugh again;
Dance and feel pretty;
Look forward to tomorrow;
Sing in the shower;
Smile at a friend's new baby;
Wear makeup once more;
Go shopping;
Celebrate the holidays;
Go for a day, a week-even a month
Without crying
Forgive those who failed you;
Learn something new;
Look at her photos and remember
With happiness, not pain;
Go on with your life; and
Cherish the memories.
And One Day When It's Time, It's Alright to
LOVE AGAIN
What It's Like to Die
What It's Like to Die
Anonymous


I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says: "There, she is gone!"
"Gone where?"
Gone from my sight. That is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment when someone at my side says, "There, she is gone!" there are other eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"
And that is dying.
A Thought On Death
A Thought On Death
Anna Lætitia Barbauld (1743-1825)

When life as opening buds is sweet,
And golden hopes the fancy greet,
And Youth prepares his joys to meet,--
Alas! how hard it is to die!
When just is seized some valued prize,
And duties press, and tender ties
Forbid the soul from earth to rise,-- How awful then it is to die!
When, one by one, those ties are torn,
And friend from friend is snatched forlorn,
And man is left alone to mourn,--
Ah then, how easy 'tis to die!
When faith is firm, and conscience clear,
And words of peace the spirit cheer,
And visioned glories half appear,--
'Tis joy, 'tis triumph then to die.
When trembling limbs refuse their weight,
And films, slow gathering, dim the sight,
And clouds obscure the mental light,--
'Tis nature's precious boon to die
If I Had Known
If I Had Known
~Mary Carolyn Davies
If I had known what trouble you were bearing;
What griefs were in the silence of your face;
I would have been more gentle, and more caring,
And tried to give you gladness for a space.
I would have brought more warmth into the place,
If I had known.
If I had known what thoughts despairing drew you;
Why do we never try to understand?
I would have lent a little friendship to you,
And slipped my hand within your hand,
And made your stay more pleasant in the land,
If I had known.
A Fresh New Start
A Fresh New Start
By Erika Whitmore Godwin

The once rising sun sets,
The soft blue sky
Grows black,
Little children are tucked
Away in their sacks,
A mother's soft kiss on the forehead--
She wonders what's in store
For their lives ahead:
A fresh new life
Into this world,
With hopes and dreams
In their minds a-swirl,
A step into freedom
Out of a cage,
Like reading a book
And turning the page,
With soft pale skin
And hair to match,
So fine, thin paper would scratch.
It's a fresh new mind
Sharpened and keen,
A new soul into this world,
To love, give, hate, shine and take--
Everything a planet takes to make;
To live and die in,
A world of new beginnings--
Of new lives--
A fresh new start.
A Note to My Mom
My daughter, Erika, wrote this poem to me before she died.

A Note to My Mom
By Erika Whitmore Godwin

One of the best things we can do in our lives is this: Begin again.
Begin to see yourself as you were
When you were the happiest and strongest.
Begin to remember what worked for you
And what worked against you.
Try to capture the magic again.
Begin to remember how natural it was
When you were a child -- to live a lifetime each day.
Begin to release the baggage carried with you for years,
The problems that don’t matter anymore,
The tears that cried themselves away,
And the worries that will wash away
On the shore of tomorrow’s new beginning.
Tomorrow tells us it will be here
Every new day of our lives,
And, if we will be wise,
We will turn away from the problems of the past,
And give the future -- and ourselves -- a chance
To become the best of friends.
Sometimes all it takes
Is a wish in the heart
To let yourself
Begin again.
The Dash
The Dash

I leave you with these final thoughts:
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning...to the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth...
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own;
The cars....the house...the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard...
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what's true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we've never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
and more often wear a smile..
Remembering that this special dash
May last only a little while.
So, when your eulogy's being read
With your life's actions to rehash...
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?
First Thanksgiving
First Thanksgiving

The thought of being thankful fills my heart with dread.
They'll all be feigning gladness, not a word about her said.
These heavy shrouds of blackness enveloping my soul,
Pervasive, throat-catching, writhe in me, and coil.
I must, I must acknowledge, just express her name,
So all sitting at the table, know I'm thankful that she came.
Though she's gone from us forever and we mourn to see her face,
Not one minute of her living, would her death ever replace.
So I stop the cheerful gathering, though my voice quivers, quakes,
Make a toast to all her living. That small tribute's all it takes.