Poems for Grief and Hope

Since my dad died in February, it’s certainly been a blur of emotions and adjustments.  I hope to share with you more of this journey some day, but for now I’d like to share the stanzas that have helped me walk through every step. I’ve never enjoyed poetry nor attempted to write it, but for whatever reason, my thoughts keep rolling out in stanzas. I shared this on social media and got lots of messages of how these words brought comfort to others.  So now I’m sharing them with you.

Day 1

I’m grieving the sudden loss of my dad last night. I’m not a poet, and this is my second sleepless night. So there’s your disclaimer. But writing is healing for me. So here it goes. 

Food has no taste and sleep gives no break

Dark is the day and long is the night

It’s quiet without you, the silence is screaming

I want one more call, one more laugh, one more song.

We hit all the feelings,

you and I did.

It was good, it was hard

and love conquered it all.

You always bounced back

with faith, hope and humor

I’ll miss that

I’ll miss that

I miss all of you.

 

Day 2

Day 2 in this strange new world. I’m beginning to think this isn’t one of his practical jokes after all. So we plan a funeral. And words form in my head when I try to sleep:

 Sleep runs away when I lay my head down

My thoughts run in circles and circles and circles

Phone calls and flights, pictures and planning

What will we say? Where will we meet?

And Dad’s favorite question: what will we eat!

It’s strange to be building the day of your dreams

While we’re breaking and using your name in past tense

But you’re present, I feel it, in all that I do

In phone calls and flights, pictures and planning

 

 Day 3

Over 400 emails, texts, posts and phone calls. This is the fullest shortest three days.

I carried his name and I’ll carry his stories. Thank you for choosing to share them with me.

Dad, yours was the fullest shortest of lives. Thank you for choosing to share it with me.

 

Day 4

How to write a eulogy:

  1. Clean entire house
  2. Eat chocolate cake
  3. Stare out window
  4. Cry
  5. Remember
  6. Write

 

Day 5

Five days have passed

Since he passed

How is that?

Life keeps on moving

I keep on moving

 

Get a dress

Get the kids

Get a haircut

Get the suitcase

Organize the pantry

Clean out the fridge

Get pictures from the attic

And don’t forget that bill

Or that email or that memory

Airplanes and meal trains

Playdates and diapers

Sam’s baseball tryouts

And Mia’s big party

I should sleep

I should eat

I should….

 

I will sit

Breathe

Pray

Wait

Be

 

Day 6

I envisioned this day

But it’s not how I planned it

You would be older

and I would be stronger

Kids wouldn’t cry

and I would know why

I liked my plan better.

I’ll trust God’s plan best.

 

Day 7

On Dad’s last day

He fixed my mom’s vacuum

(And if you know her you know

That’s the ultimate gift.)

He bought her flowers just because

And an almond joy for himself

(And if you know him you know

That’s just how he was.)

He played racquetball with his friends

and called his brother on the drive home.

He kissed my mom goodnight

And slept for a few hours

(

 

)

Then kissed this world goodbye.

I can only imagine what unseen heavenly things

Took place within that space.

 

Day 8

I’m driving and crying

And calling your phone.

Shopping in stores

And standing in line.

The cashier should know.

Do I tell her? Explain?

Why I can’t reply to

“Have a good day.’

It’s just that I’m busy

planning a party

that Dad would’ve liked-

But I don’t at all.

 

Day 9

Today I leave a Georgia Spring

To bury my dad in a cold New England winter.

How can both exist together?

The death of winter and the hope of spring?

But they do. I’m in both.

And Dad is in summer.

 

Day 14

*First Day ‘Back To Normal’*

He’s everywhere in my day-
The cooking and cleaning and tears.
It’s so lonely.

My phone keeps on ringing-
“Thinking of you”. “I’m here.”
It’s so quiet.

Grief is so strange-
To be busy and still, alone and together
All in the same breath.

So we keep on breathing-
With gladness and sadness and hope.
It’s so full.

 

Day 30

I’m finding him in memories I didn’t know I had-
Of bedtime and mealtime and play time

All the time

He’s everywhere and nowhere and somewhere

All the time

In the noise and silence and stars and sunshine

All the time

I’m finding him

 

Spring Thoughts on Losing My Dad in Winter

One of my earliest memories is of trimming trees in the yard with my Dad. He’d let me pull the string that cut the limbs off of high branches and I thought that was so cool. He’d whistle while we worked (he was always whistling) and stopped this one day to say, “You know, Tom Tom, I won’t always be here. But when I’m gone, you’ll hear me in the birds.” The birds started showing up the week my Dad died- singing with the sunrise, eating in our back yard, nesting by our windows. Robbins especially remind me of Dad. I see them everywhere and they always seem to be visiting. Watching.tree

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