This winter I was asked for something to read at the memorial of a teenage boy who had taken his own life. I could hardly imagine the agony of his family and friends. This is the poem that came through for me. Weeks later, I received a thank you in the mail with a lovely box of tea. I printed out the last verse of the poem for a sympathy card, and people have responded well. This has given me confidence to offer it here. I hope it is healing and helpful for anyone who needs it.
This is what grief looks like:
the tide has gone out,
farther than the eye can see,
pulling with it every ship,
the sun, and every single wave;
stealing hopes, plans, agreements,
and a thousand precious things;
leaving a shattered seabed of
lost shells, secret wishes, dying reeds
and impossible questions…
And there is the feeling that
life will remain emptied, slack like this,
much longer than we can bear…
How could the ocean return
and moonlight shimmer upon it?
We pray one day to drag our courage
to the ravaged and restless shoreline,
face the horizon, looming,
and find ourselves
calling beyond our mourning.
We pray life responds, gently urging,
This one we love has moved on,
yet somehow we are not finished.
Love grows the heart. So does sadness.
Within each of us, a warm harbor
of memories, visions, sorrows and joys.
Where light breaks on distant waves,
gulls glide above the incoming sea,
and the soul of our loved one is whispering,
Fear not. Carry on. I am with you…
I am grateful. I am loved. And I’m free.
p.s. I seem to have to put a ~ in between verses so that the blog doesn’t squish them together…