Remember

Grief seems to be taking the forefront now that the flashbacks have calmed down.  This is how things work out with me- when I have a great upset, crisis mode lifts quickly.  Then, things take their turn until the lot of my past has had its say.

I read the poem ‘Remember‘ by Christina Rossetti at my sister’s funeral.  She loved reading and writing poetry, and she was rather good at it.  This poem still comforts me greatly.  Hopefully, it will comfort those of you who have found this blog searching for information about grief and loss, as well:

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 plann’d:

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.

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Memorial Poem

I have no idea who wrote this poem, but I am incredibly grateful to him or her.  A fellow bereaved parent recommended the poem to me when I was floundering about trying to find the perfect words for my daughter’s memorial cards.  It’s not the greatest in terms of the techniques of poetry, but that is of absolutely no matter.  If you or someone you know is in that same position, maybe this poem will help:

The world may never notice

If a Snowdrop doesn’t bloom

Or even pause to wonder

If the petals fall too soon.

But every life that ever forms,

Or ever comes to be,

Touches the world in some small way

For all eternity.

The little one we long for

Was swiftly here and gone.

But the love that was then planted

Is a light that still shines on.

And though our arms are empty,

Our hearts know what to do.

Every beating of our hearts

Says that we do love you.

Dominoes

One by one they fell like dominoes,

She by her own hand.

The fundamental loss.

Twelve years old and she’d had enough.

Her body limp and bleeding,

Cold flesh I’ll always remember.

~

He fell next.

Car screaming through the wind.

Useless brakes as he watched.

I wonder sometimes if he was afraid.

I wonder if he even knew.

~

Then my mother tumbled,

She, too, by her own hand.

Suicide.

A forever decision.

Was it really, as she said, my fault?

~

The last of the living fell away when my father died.

A blast of metal.

An echoed sound in my mind,

His life becoming stains on my clothing.

His eyes, minutes before, had been so happy.

~

The end of the end came with her.

A chance for happiness

Gone before she took her first tiny breath.

I hold her in my heart and mind.

I’ll look for her forever.

~

The lone domino still standing,

I live with their ghosts.

The restless spirits who roamed the world

Have now passed into nothingness.

One by one they fell

Like dominoes.

Self Reflection

I try not to think too deeply, lest I realise how much the present mirrors the past.
I try not to feel too strongly, lest the dam break and everything burst through.
I try not to love completely.
There are few words of love I haven’t heard twisted before.
I try to remember that not everything is fake, that some people really are safe.
I try to believe that it’s OK to let my guard down sometimes, to let someone else carry the weight.
I try to exist, in spite of those who wish to stop that happening.
I try to simply let myself be, to understand that I am my greatest obstacle.
I try to rise above the anger, but sometimes it swallows me anyway.
I try to understand what happened to me, why it was allowed, and what its purpose was
I try to live beyond that, to become who I am.
I try to open myself up slowly, to show the centre of me to those I love.
I try not to let the fear of that force me away.
I try to stay present, to remain a part of my own life.
I try not to collapse inside myself.
Because, even though I can’t always believe, I deserve a chance.

The Old Road

I took the old road tonight

Where the moon is not so threatening

I drove around the time-worn curves

And watched the tiny houses

Drift past outside my window

I listened to the night wind

As it blew all around me

Sharing memories of better times

Easier times from the not-so-distant past

And I smiled

I drove around that last sharp edge

Where the moon became threatening again

But it was softer, somehow

I took the old road tonight

And found you waiting there

Scars

My scars tell the secrets that I keep

They wind up and down my arms

Form patchwork on my legs

This one his, that one hers, this one mine

Some cover another

Like the shattered panes of a stained-glass window

Making a barely intelligible picture

Pain and suffering that still filters light

Through the cracks of colour

Beauty in the darkness

Smiling Through Grief

I wanted to share this poem with everyone, as it’s really helped me get through some difficult moments.  I’d like to think my son, in whatever form he’s taken, feels this way.  That first laugh or smile after the newness of the grief wears off can leave you feeling guilty in an odd sense.  It’s almost like we need permission, sometimes, from the person we’ve lost to smile again or to feel anything other than that horrible sense of grief.  My suspicion is, as the trite cliché goes, they do want us to heal.  It’s just a difficult task from this part of the Universe, especially when we feel like our grief is the last remaining tie we have to the person we’ve lost.

Right.  On to the poem…

I should point out that it is absolutely *not* my original work.  It’s by Christina Rossetti, a very talented English poet from the Victorian Period.  You can find this poem and a few other poems by Rossetti on this site.

————-

Remember

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 plann’d:

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.