Posts Tagged ‘grief’

Poetry Friday is hosted this week by Michelle Kogan

Honestly, I’m not sure 
if I’ll be home soon. 
I’m glad you were able to see me.
I love how you hear a different story from my eyes,

how we find honesty under the moon– 
a strawberry moon
like a beacon through the trees. 

You read me with an elder’s wisdom.
Tears well up when you hold my heart with your eyes,
how they flow with knowing.
Your own tears leaking onto your cheek. 

You never even met my father,
but he was speaking through you,
his presence nowhere and everywhere. 

Honestly, the well of deep compassion 
grows when watered with our tears. 

Margaret Simon, for Carolyn

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Design by Linda Mitchell

One of the wisdoms I have gained as a writer is that writing with others creates strong friendships because writing is such an act of vulnerability. It is true for the classroom, for writing workshops, and for critique groups. My group, the Inklings, are true friends. They listen, respond with integrity, and encourage me as a person as well as a writer. We live far away from each other, but we used Zoom long before the pandemic, and see each other twice monthly. This is all to say that when my father died, they did what they do best, and sent me a book of poems. I sat alone with these poems and let the comfort and wisdom of words wash over me. I offer a video today of me reading each poem sitting out by my beloved bayou. It’s 8 minutes long.

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life .

I’ve been thinking about writing this post and have gone back and forth about whether or not I should.  Loss is a difficult topic to write about, but especially hard when the loss is not your own.  As parents, we all hope that our children do not have to face hardships, but as living and breathing people, we know inevitably they will.  We cannot protect them.

I have experienced loss in my lifetime, but I’ve not experienced a miscarriage.  I am one of those lucky women who had three pregnancies and three children.  So when my oldest daughter, Maggie, announced her pregnancy last November, I had no reason to believe that it would be anything but normal.  We celebrated with her sisters.  She was feeling nauseous and tired and enjoying it.  Mid-December, I waited to hear about her doctor’s appointment.  I crumpled when she said there was no heartbeat.  The ultrasound showed the baby had not developed past 8 weeks.  Her body, however, still thought she was pregnant.

The next day, I went with her to the surgery center for her DNC.  Maggie cried quietly.  I sat near her and listened.  She talked about how she could now relate to her friends when it happened to them.  There is a scary statistic that many first pregnancies end in miscarriage.  She knew this.  She knew that the baby was not viable.  That something had gone wrong.  That it wasn’t meant to be.  But even so, a new child died that day.  There was no way to deny the loss.

My daughter realized that through her pain and grief she was learning a life lesson.  Little did she know how soon her counseling would be needed.  A few weeks ago, she got a call from my middle daughter, Katherine. On the previous Saturday, Maggie and I had talked about how she was being weird, unusually cheerful.  We thought something was up.  But once again, a new baby was not to be.  Katherine had taken a pregnancy test on Saturday and was waiting to tell us the following weekend when we’d all be together.  On Tuesday, bleeding started and her blood test came back negative.  A quick drop on the roller-coaster that took her breath away. She tried to see the positive side of things, but she was devastated.

There is so much joy and hope and love in watching your daughters get married and start their lives with someone they deeply love.  We expect the best.  We hope for new life.  I’ve even been a little pushy about wanting to be a grandmother.  I didn’t expect this heartache, this loss.  I have no explanation for it.

Grief over miscarriage is a private grief.  There are no ceremonies to offer condolences.  In fact, most people don’t talk about it.  The loss is buried deep into the woman’s soul.

As their mother, I grieve with them.  As their mother, I hold their hearts in mine.  I’m with them through it all, joy and pain, love and loss.  I am holding onto faith that there will be new children in our future, but for now, I grieve with my daughters.



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Slice of Losing a Life

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

I put off going to visit.

I took my time finishing a prayer blanket. Then busy days kept me away. Until Sunday.  I knew I needed to go before it was too late.

I knocked tentatively on the door.  No answer.  Another knock. No answer.  I hung the bag with the blanket inside on the door handle and tip-toed back to my car.  I texted her daughter, “I left a package at the door.”

She responded, “No one answered the door?  I’m not home.  They must be on the back patio.”

I turned my car around.  Ok, here I go.  I walked around to the back and met her husband and her sister.  “I have the monitor, so I can hear her,” her husband said. “It’s time for her medicine. It’s a good time to visit.  She will be more alert.”

“You may be shocked to see her,” he added.  I remembered seeing my husband’s father near death.  I felt prepared.

I wasn’t prepared.

She lay in the bed. Her face pale, almost stone-like, but still soft and warm.  I lay next to her, placed the blanket over her, and cried.

When I spoke her name, she opened her eyes.  Did she see my tears?  She tried to reach out to hug me, but her arms had no direction.  I held her hand and rambled:

“You are beautiful.

You are a queen.

I love you.

God is with you.”

She mumbled.  I didn’t understand her words.

I think she said, “I’m sick.”

I think she said, “I love you.”

I think she smiled.

When her husband came in with her medicine, I saw true love.  He climbed onto the bed, raised her up, and said, “Breathe, breathe. I love you. Breathe.”

As I left, I hugged him.  A man I just met.  He was doing the best he could.  He’s holding on to a small thread and knows that it will soon break.  He will lose her.  She will die.  My eyes met his.

“I’m sorry,” I said.  “I’m so sorry.”

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Click here to read more #spiritualjourney posts.  Thanks Holly for hosting this roundup!

Click here to read more #spiritualjourney posts. Thanks Holly for hosting this roundup!

Holly invites us to reflect on our spiritual journey every Thursday. This week’s theme is Forgiveness, but I am being one of those students who is writing off-topic.

I was reading with one of my students about Buddha. A woman whose child was dead came to him asking for a miracle. Buddha told her if she could find a house that death had not visited, he would save her child. Of course, this proved impossible. The woman accepted the child’s death and buried him.

Death affects us all. But a young vibrant girl should not have to face the death of her mother.

Yesterday I got the news that Emily’s mother had died suddenly and unexpectedly. Emily is a fourth grade student. She bounces into class. She hums songs all the time. She is full of life and joy. Emily should not have to face the death of her mother.

After I heard the news, I called Emily’s grandmother and gave her my cell number saying Emily could call me anytime. She did. It was good to hear her voice, but it was shaky and small and sad. I held back my tears, told her I loved her, and reminded her of Dot Day, the happy day we had together on Monday.

Later I called Healing House, a nonprofit organization that helps grieving children. What gentle calming voices! They told me they have a “koping kit” that they can drop off for us at the school. I talked to the director about how to tell my other students. She said to be as honest as possible. She also told me to allow them to come up with ways to comfort Emily.

My students are amazing; however, I don’t ever want to see those expressions again. Their eyes immediately shone with tears. Their mouths fell open. We talked, and I kept my own tears at bay. We decided they would write personal messages to Emily on our blog. On the post, I put a picture of Emily’s dot. One of the students brought up how happy we all were on Dot Day. I am grateful that I allowed them to have a day of pure creative fun.

These are some of their comments:

I am so sorry. We are crying tears for you. I hope to you see you soon. I am looking forward to cheering you up. I wish you and your family love and happiness. Hope you feel better. Kielan

I’ve gone through the same thing Emily. My grandfather died in 2012 and it took me a whole month to get over it. The whole GT class is worried for you. We hope you feel better real soon. Nigel

I do not know what the next few days or weeks will bring. None of us do. We will all experience tragedy as we all experience love and joy. My prayer for Emily is that she will become strong and resilient. She will be the best she can be. She will love life again and feel joy. For now, we will be present with her in her grief.

Emily dot

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