A friend on Facebook posted this poem today. Often, people post poems or affirmations and they strike me as too sentimental, too Pollyanna-ish or, in some other way, they simply don't 'speak' to my soul. This one was different though and it had a powerful impact.
I'm guessing, without doing any research, that it was written in response to the death of a loved one. However, I was immediately struck by how it applied to chronic illness and to what I have previously written about grief and acceptance.
I truly wish I had known these words when things were really bad for me. When I couldn't get out of bed for months on end and when I couldn't articulate what I needed from others.
Perhaps those who are still facing those struggles will find a use for this poem and can use it to let others know what they really need. Or, perhaps it will simply be a source of personal comfort for them. Either way, it feels worth sharing.
Please Be Gentle
Please be gentle with me for I am grieving.
The sea I swim in is a lonely one
and the shore seems miles away.
Waves of despair numb my soul
as I struggle through each day.
My heart is heavy with sorrow.
I want to shout and scream
and repeatedly ask “why.”
At time, my grief overwhelms me
and I weep bitterly,
so great is my loss.
Please don’t turn away
Or tell me to move on with my life.
I must embrace my pain
before I can begin to heal.
Companion me through tears
And sit with me in loving silence.
Honor where I am in my journey
Not where you think I should be.
Listen patiently to my story.
I may need to tell it over and over again.
It’s how I begin to grasp the enormity of my loss.
Nurture me through weeks and months ahead.
Forgive me when I seem distant and inconsolable.
A small flame still burns within my heart
And shared memories may trigger
both laughter and tears.
I need your support and understanding.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
I must find my own path.
Please, will you walk beside me?
By Jill B. Englar