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Grief Journey Poems

Grief is a personal journey. Everyone who experiences the loss of a loved one feels that loss in different ways. Each day is different. It takes time to heal from a major loss, and there is no right or wrong way to experience grief. Sometimes, simply knowing we are not alone is enough. These poems remind us that we are not alone, and I hope they can be a comfort in painful times.

Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf’s a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf, So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day Nothing gold can stay

In Lieu of Flowers by Shawna Lemay

Although I love flowers very much, I won’t see them when I’m gone. So in lieu of flowers: Buy a book of poetry written by someone still alive, sit outside with a cup of tea, a glass of wine, and read it out loud, by yourself or to someone, or silently. Spend some time with a single flower. A rose maybe. Smell it, touch the petals. Really look at it. Drink a nice bottle of wine with someone you love. Or, Champagne. And think of what John Maynard Keynes said, “My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne.” Or what Dom Perignon said when he first tasted the stuff: “Come quickly! I am tasting stars!” Take out a paint set and lay down some colours. Watch birds. Common sparrows are fine. Pigeons, too. Geese are nice. Robins. In lieu of flowers, walk in the trees and watch the light fall into it. Eat an apple, a really nice big one. I hope it’s crisp. Have a long soak in the bathtub with candles, maybe some rose petals. Sit on the front stoop and watch the clouds. Have a dish of strawberry ice cream in my name. If it’s winter, have a cup of hot chocolate outside for me. If it’s summer, a big glass of ice water. If it’s autumn, collect some leaves and press them in a book you love. I’d like that. Sit and look out a window and write down what you see. Write some other things down. In lieu of flowers, I would wish for you to flower. I would wish for you to blossom, to open, to be beautiful.

For Grief 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.

Remember by Christina Rossetti

Remember me when I am gone away, Gone far away into the silent land; When you can no more hold me by the hand, Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay. Remember me when no more day by day You tell me of our future that you planned: Only remember me; you understand It will be late to counsel then or pray. Yet if you should forget me for a while And afterwards remember, do not grieve: For if the darkness and corruption leave A vestige of the thoughts that once I had, Better by far you should forget and smile Than that you should remember and be sad

Still Held by John Mark Green

Words seem so feeble in moments like these. Life is so precious, and death such a thief. The depths of your pain I cannot comprehend, but I’ll stand alongside you in the darkness, my friend. Love is a bond that death cannot part. Gone from your arms, but still held in your heart.


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