©2021 Susan Noyes Anderson
Grief was a ghost with an ache in her chest
and a lot of emotions that scared me to death.
She was love with no outlet and pain with too many…
had little control and less grace (scarcely any).
Her feelings exploded on walls and on ceilings
in chaos, a state not conducive to healing;
and even when she settled down for a while,
she could never be trusted. Her sad little smile
was a lid (a loose lid) on a cauldron of loss,
and she spent every moment just counting the cost.
I spoke to her recently, hoping to find
a way to move forward or leave her behind.
Was a friendship in order, an uneasy truce?
Could we meet in the middle or was there no use?
“So, Grief,” I asked frankly, “what end will be ours?
Can we tempt our beloved to reach past the stars
and join us together in ways so profound
that we balance each other and find solid ground?”
She answered, her voice like a wisp in the air,
“It is possible, but requires courage and prayer…
the courage to sit down with me and accept
every feeling now magnified by your neglect…
every woe I have carried, too heavy for one.
And the prayer seals our partnership, once it’s begun.
I yielded. Grief’s chaos found its own end.
Our burden now shared, Grief was less ghost, more friend.
The sorrows remained, but we carried them better.
We even found joy, when we sought it together.
With Grief as an anchor instead of a weight,
I formed a new center and opened the gate
to the love and the joy loss had stolen from me.
My spirit was wounded, but now it rose free
to appreciate loved ones that had not passed on
and connect with my son, even though he was gone.
When I ghosted Grief, I was ghosting Todd, too.
Grief explained that “the only way out, would be through.”
Enter, memories. Rendered less bitter, more sweet,
I allowed them full rein, even saved them a seat,
for they brought my son closer and gave him a place
in my heart…one my fear-wall had sought to erase.
Grief whispered to me Todd was not far away
and assured me we’d be reunited one day.
I had known that already but just couldn’t feel it.
Acceptance made space for his soul and revealed it.
Grief tells me Todd’s gone and reminds me Todd lives,
says that running from sorrow takes more than it gives,
and shows up at my door when I start to revert
to the me that was trapped inside layers of hurt.
I will never get over the death of my boy,
but I owe it to him to hold on to the joy
that he brought to my life from the day of his birth.
I intend to return it, when I leave this earth.
May it light up my face and shine bright in his eyes
as we walk, arm and arm, to our home in the skies.
If this poem resonates wth you, you might also enjoy “Grief: Owning the Road.”