adversity and grief

Grandma Said

Written by Susan Noyes Anderson on . Posted in Life Lessons Poems, Poems about Death

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©2021 Susan Noyes Anderson

Soon or late, life teaches lessons
few would choose to learn.
Ours is, at best, a rocky path
with many a twist and turn.

We used to hear, “When things get tough,
the tough get going,” right?—
To suck it up, not muck it up,
keep smiling, and hang tight.

Today it’s all about self-care
and focusing on feelings.
Hold space, give space to loss and pain,
wade through, make room for healing.

The world has given us hard times
in recent years; it’s true.
Most seek relief from current counsel,
and that’s good to do.

Embrace those seas of strong emotion;
swim in grief and sorrow.
Be real. It’s needed—but past ways
are also good to borrow.

No psychic tool precludes the rest.
No balm is always better.
The bold use methods new and old
to hold themselves together.

It works, sometimes, when down and out
and feeling quite bereft,
to focus less on what is lost
and more on what is left.

{My grandma said it best.}


We lost our son in July nearly three years ago, our healing process complicated somewhat by a year-and-a-half of Covid chaos. I have been doing my best to work through feelings of grief and loss in every healthy, therapeutic way available to me. As a former counselor, I know how important that process is to moving (with an open heart and mind) toward the hope and joy that had always been mine.

This little poem was born the other day as I realized my grieving is best served when I balance “feeling my feelings of loss” at least equally with setting them aside and simply going on with the process of living and loving. In 2018, making that choice was not a feasible option for me, nor should it have been. My main (and appropriate) priority was mourning my son. It makes me grateful three years later to have more choices, and I try to exercise them as my spirit directs.

Grieving is necessary, a continuing process, but I don’t want to get mired in it. And my grandma wouldn’t want me to, either.

If this poem speaks to you, you might also enjoy “Be Still and Grow.

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