Thoughts and writings on grief

As I stated previously, I am fully engrossed in a searching/yearning phase and therefore have been joining every group I know of that deals with the loss of a child or more specifically loss of an infant and even a group that deals with loss of a child in a multiple birth. I also ventured out to a support group for women who had lost a baby or child and/or struggled with infertility. It was wonderful! The woman that spoke was a NICU nurse for several years in Chicago and took care of the terminal babies. She herself has suffered two miscarriages. She later went to seminary and now offers counseling. I saw her a couple days ago one-on-one and FINALLY I think I found a counselor that understands, doesn't try to put me in a box or a specific "grief column", and who also has the spiritual knowledge that I am craving. I'll write another post about the crazy, looney-tune woman I was going to....yikes is all I can say!

Anyway, on with this post...I've also tried to get my hands on as many books as possible, not so much about grief from a clinical perspective, but I get much more out of a personal story or a mother's journey through grief. As such, I'd like to share some perspectives, poems, and quotes that have really struck a chord with me.

In the Midst of Winter: Selections from the Literature of Mourning by Phillips Brooks
"May I try to tell you again where your only comfort lies? It is not in forgetting the happy past. People bring us well meant but miserable conoslations when they tell us what time will do to help our grief. We do not want to lose our grief, because our grief is bound up with our love and we could not cease to mourn without being robbed of our affections"

"Surprised by Joy" by Williams Wordsworth, who lost his four year old daughter (funny that one of his poems speaks to me, I took a literature course in college strictly on the poetry of Wordsworth and Coleridge and it was the first time I nearly failed a class!)

Surprised by Joy - impatient as the Wind

I turned to share the transport - Oh! with whom

But thee, deep buried in the silent tomb,

That spot which vicissitude can find?

Love, faithful love, recalled thee to my mind-

But how could I forget thee? Through what power,

Even for the least division of an hour

Have I been so beguiled as to be blind

To my most grievous loss!-That thought's return

Was the worst pang that sorrow ever bore,

Save one, one only, when I stood forlorn,

Knowing my heart's best treasure was no more;

That neither present time, nor years unborn

Could to my sight that heavenly face restore.

From a Map of the World by Jane Hamilton

"...He said he couldn't stand Lizzy being only a memory. He said he just hadn't gotten enough of her, that he hardly knew her. He has been trying to find some way he can carry her presence forward, trying to connect her with our life now. He hates the photographs because they are so flat and still."

From the Pulitzer Prize winning play J.B. by Archibald MacLeish

"...Then blow on the coal of the heart, my darling."

"The coal of the heart..."

"It's all the light now.

Blow on the coal of the heart.

The candles in the churches are out.

The lights have gone out in the sky.

Blow on the coal of the heart

And we'll see by and by..."

Tears by Washington Irving

There is a sacredness in tears,

They are not the mark of weakness,

But of power.

They speak more eloquently

Than 10,000 tongues.

They are the messengers of Overwhelming grief,

Of deep contrition

and of Unspeakable love.

If Roses Grow in Heaven, author unknown

If roses grow in Heaven,

Lord please pick a bunch for me,

Place them in my daughter's arms

and tell her they're from me.

Tell her I love her and miss her,

and when she turns to smile,

place a kiss upon her cheek

and hold her for awhile.

Because remembering her is easy,

I do it everyday,

but there's an ache within my heart

that will never go away.

Title and author unknown of the following poem

If I could have a lifetime with a dream that would come true,
I'd pray to God with all my heart for yesterday and you.
A thousand words can't bring you back I know because I've tried
And neither will a million tears I know because I've cried.
You left behind a broken heart and happy memories too.
I never wanted memories I only wanted you.

A quote by E.E. Cummings

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart) I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear...

I'm There Inside Your Heart author unknown

Right now I'm in a different place
And though we seem far apart,
I'm closer than I ever was...
I'm there inside yor heart.

I'm with you when you greet each day
And while the sun shines bright,
I'm there to share the sunsets, too...
I'm with you every night.

I'm with you when the times are good
To share a laugh or two,
And if a tear should start to fall
I'll still be there for you.

And when the day arrives
That we no longer are apart,
I'll smile and hold you close to me...

There Should be Three by Terri Koelling for her triplet son Nathan

You may have seen me
Out with my boys.
I'm a painful reminder
of your stolen joys.

The joy of twins,
Something you should have had.
I know when you see me,
you turn away sad.

But I share in your tears
when you see me.
Because for us,
there should have been three.

My Mom is a Survivor

My Mom is a survivor,
or so I've heard it said.
But I can hear her crying at night
when all others are in bed.

I watch her lay awake at night
and go to hold her hand.
She doesn't know I'm with her
to help her understand.

But like the sands on the beach
that never wash away....
I watch over my surviving Mom
who thinks of me each day.

She wears a smile for others...
a smile of disguise!
But through Heaven's door
I see tears flowing from her eyes.

My Mom tries to cope with death;
To keep my memory alive.
But anyone who knows her knows
it is her way to survive.

As I watch over my surviving Mom
through Heaven's open door...
I try to tell her that angels
protect me forevermore!

I know that doesn't help her,
or ease the burden she bears.
So, if you get a chance, go visit her.
Show her that you care.

For no matter what she says...
no matter what she feels.
My surviving Mom has a broken heart
that time won't ever heal.

Copyright 1998 Kaye Des'Ormeaux

If you have any quotes, poems, or readings that have helped you through your grief journey I invite you to share them with me...I'm always looking for hope and inspiration.


Beth & Steven said...

Even though I don't know you, I think of you and your little Zoe often. I read another blog called "Multiple Baby Pileup" where one of the triplet babies has also passed away. Here is the link to the blog:


The author, Ann Hood, has also written beautifully in 2 books about the loss of her daughter. You can google her name and find lots of links. She is an amazing writer who I strongly recommend.

Beth & Steven said...

Oh, I should mention that the author of the blog I mentioned is NOT Ann Hood. Sorry for any confusion!

Jen Clark said...

the book, Holding on to Hope, by Nancy Guthrie, helped me tremendously in my grief. i heard her speak in person at a retreat for mothers who have lost children, and she was wonderful. she's had two babies die, by the way...so she's been there. i'm so glad you're reaching out and have found some supportive people, especially a great counselor!! i found a support group near me called, "a mom like me," and it was the best thing that could've happened for me.

Elizabeth said...

A great book I am currently using is the One Year Book of Hope. It is a daily devotional written by a mother who lost 2 babies to Zellweger's.

All time favorite video of Zoe!

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Bible verses that comfort me

"Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:8

"Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children....Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them"
~ Mark10:14 & 10:16

"...those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint"~ Isaiah40:31