The featured picture is nabbed from the internet.
Grief is sticky. It changes form but it’s always there. Each grief, I am sure, is different — but each one asks an almost superhuman effort from us. Like a grocery list where everything is on the highest shelf and tucked way back. You have to keep your balance while reaching up for the thing you need — rest, time, perspective, hope, memory. But in the process of reaching you are as likely to lose balance and fall deep into the sorrow, as to get your hands on those rare and precious things. The most success I have had is through tenderness. Pushing the grief away does no good. It just lurks around the corner . Better to feel it, to weep, to honor it. Then, like the homeless dog that Levertov wrote about, it may curl up for a while and sleep. And when grief sleeps, while loss remains, the pain is less cutting, color returns to the world, and memory can bring a vulnerable joy.
The poet knew what she was talking about when she wrote this poem.
Talking To Grief
Ah, Grief, I should not treat you
like a homeless dog who comes to the back door for a crust, for a meatless bone.
I should trust you.
I should coax you into the house
and give you your own corner,
a worn mat to lie on, your own water dish.
You think I don’t know
you’ve been living under my porch.
You long for your real place
to be readied before winter comes.
You need your name,
your collar and tag.
You need the right to warn off intruders,
to consider my house your own
and me your person and yourself my own dog.
Denise Levertov (1923-1997)
Hold your sorrow in loving respect. It is the price of love and humanity. It is the signal of the good heart — the faithful heart. I remember Thich Nhat Hanh saying, “there, there, my little despair” — teaching that we can hold our sadness in our hands and that, touching and holding it, we may rest, too.