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Words of Hope



I have often found others' words to be of comfort along my grief journey, and I thought I would share a few of the pieces that have brought me hope, or reassurance, or lightness during the past few years. Some of them may already be familiar, but some will be new to you. I hope that they may bring you something of that sustenance too.






You will not always hurt like this These words are true. If they do not reach your heart today, do not reject them: keep them in your mind. One morning – not tomorrow perhaps, but the day after tomorrow, or the month after next month. One morning, the dawn will wake you with the inconceivable surprise: Your grief will have lost one small moment in its force. Be ready for the time when you can feel for yourself that these words are true: You will not always hurt like this.

Author unknown

This got me through my darkest days. Its simplicity and immediacy became something I hung on to with desperation in the early years; I did keep the words in my mind, and those words helped to keep me sane.







A Beginning

One day you wake up and realise

you must have survived

because you are still here, alive and breathing.

But you don’t remember the infinitely small steps

and decisions you took to get there.

Your only awareness is that you have shed miles of tears

on what seems to be an endless road of sorrow.

One day, one glorious day,

you wake up and feel your skin tingle again.

And you forget, just for an instant,

that your heart is broken…


And it is a beginning. Susan Borrowman







If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something

you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger

than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is,

even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.

AA Milne







Afterparty

I held a party the other week and grief came.

She wasn’t invited but she came anyway - barged her way in through the door and settled down like she was here to stay.


And then she introduced me to the friends she’d brought with her - Anger. Fear. Frustration. Guilt. Hopelessness.


And they sang in the loudest voices, took up space in every corner of the room and spoke over anyone else that tried to talk.


They made it messy and loud and uncomfortable.


But finally, they left.


And long afterwards, when I was all alone, I realised there was still someone here.

Quietly clearing up after the rest.


I asked who she was and she told me, “Love.”


And I assumed that’s why she looked familiar - because I had met her before.


“Or perhaps,” she said, “it’s because I’ve been here the whole time.”


And I was confused then because I hadn’t seen her all evening.

But when I looked more closely,

when I looked into her eyes,


I realised quietly that she had been here.

All the time.


She’d just been dressed as grief.

Becky Hemsley from When I am Gone (2023)







How can it be that it’s nearly six years since I saw your face?


To begin with

I only wanted to be with you

Not here amongst the trees

The washing up and the grass

Not here to hear the birds sing

In the morning

And the blackbird’s cry at dusk.

Nothing

I only wanted to be with you


It was only time,

the silent pulse

teaching me how

I still carry you

Wherever I walk, wherever I sleep

You are here

In every breath, every beat of my heart

Quietly now, more gently

I carry you

my darling, my beautiful child

We’ve never been apart.

Barbara Boxall, June 2023


I am privileged to call the bereaved mother who wrote this beautiful poem

my friend. She and I belong to the same caring and supportive local TCF 

group for bereaved parents.







Try to praise the mutilated world

Try to praise the mutilated world.

Remember June's long days,

and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.

The nettles that methodically overgrow

the abandoned homesteads of exiles.

You must praise the mutilated world.

You watched the stylish yachts and ships;

one of them had a long trip ahead of it,

while salty oblivion awaited others.

You've seen the refugees going nowhere,

you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.

You should praise the mutilated world.

Remember the moments when we were together

in a white room and the curtain fluttered.

Return in thought to the concert where music flared.

You gathered acorns in the park in autumn

and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.

Praise the mutilated world

and the grey feather a thrush lost,

and the gentle light that strays and vanishes

and returns.

Adam Zagajewski (translated by Clare Cavanagh)


This was given to me many years ago by a client. It has become

very precious to me, as it speaks of the devastation and cruelty of loss, and yet also of simple pleasures, and special memories







When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Khalil Gibran







The Thing Is

to love life, to love it even

when you have no stomach for it

and everything you’ve held dear

crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,

your throat filled with the silt of it.

When grief sits with you, its tropical heat

thickening the air, heavy as water

more fit for gills than lungs;

when grief weights you like your own flesh

only more of it, an obesity of grief,

you think, How can a body withstand this?

Then you hold life like a face

between your palms, a plain face,

no charming smile, no violet eyes,

and you say, yes, I will take you

I will love you, again.

Ellen Bass, from Mules of Love (2002)


I don't remember where I stumbled upon this poem by Ellen Bass,

but it spoke to me immediately, as did her book The Courage to Heal*,

when I first found it over 30 years ago.







And when great souls die, after a period, peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.

Maya Angelou







To Honour You

To honour you,

I get up every morning and take a breath.

and start another day without you in it.

 

To honour you,

I laugh and love with those who knew your smile and the way

your eyes twinkled with mischief and secret knowledge.

 

To honour you,

I take the time to appreciate everyone I love, I know now there is no guarantee of days or hours spent in their presence.

 

To honour you,

I listen to music you would have liked,

and sing at the top of my lungs with the window rolled down.

 

To honour you,

I take chances, say what I feel, hold nothing back,

risk making a fool of myself and dance every dance.

 

You were my light, my heart, my gift of love

from the very highest source.

 

So every day I promise to make a difference,

share a smile, live, laugh and love.

 

Now I live for us both, so all I do,

I do to honour you

Connie F Keifer Byrd


In truth I don't do all these things, yet. Maybe one day...







Miss you. Would like to take a walk with you.

Do not care if you just arrive in your skeleton.

Would love to take a walk with you. Miss you.

Would love to make you shrimp saganaki.

Like you used to make me when you were alive.

Love to feed you. Sit over steaming

bowls of pilaf. Little roasted tomatoes

covered in pepper and nutmeg. Miss you.

Would love to walk to the post office with you.

Bring the ghost dog. We’ll walk past the waterfall

and you can tell me about the after.

Wish you. Wish you would come back for a while.

Don’t even need to bring your skin sack. I’ll know

you. I know you will know me even though

I’m bigger now. Greyer. I’ll show you my garden.

I’d like to hop in the leaf pile you raked but if you

want to jump in? I’ll rake it for you. Miss you

standing looking out at the river with your rake

in your hand. Miss you in your puffy blue jacket.

They’re hip now. I can bring you a new one

if you’ll only come by. Know I told you

it was ok to go. Know I told you

it was ok to leave me. Why’d you believe me?

You always believed me. Wish you would

come back so we could talk about truth.

Miss you. Wish you would walk through my

door. Stare out from the mirror. Come through

the pipes.

Gabriel Calvocoressi


The loss of ordinary. The loss of what was. The loss of all those moments we took for granted, never once imagining they would become such

precious reminders of what we once had. I have so many of those

in my mind. My memory knows what Anton felt like to hold, it knows

his smell, the touch of him, the sound of his voice and his laughter, the

changing colour of his green eyes, the solidness of his presence. And, too,

the hoody he loved, the cotton shorts, the flip flops I have with the

shape of his feet imprinted on the soles.







He is Gone

You can shed tears that he is gone,

Or you can smile because he lived,

You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back,

Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him

Or you can be full of the love that you shared,

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,

Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he is gone

Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on,

You can cry and close your mind be empty and turn your back

Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on

David Harkins


I still find this hard to read, because it makes me think of Anton,

and all the pain I still hold inside. But it also speaks to me of the wonder

of sheer determination. How you and I have somehow found the strength

to go on, day after day, in the darkness of loss, faltering, stumbling, falling...

pulling ourselves up, starting again. There is nothing about this journey

that is easy. It is bitter and cold and black. Yet we drag ourselves along

the hard and stony path, bleeding our pain, determined to reach a kinder place.










Notes

*In 1988, Ellen Bass and Laura Davies wrote a controversial book called The Courage to Heal. It is a book for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and despite its critics I believe it to be a very important, and helpful book, and I have long ago lost count of the number of copies I bought second-hand and gave to the many survivors I have had the privilege to work with over the years.




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4 Comments


Amanda Fisher
Amanda Fisher
Feb 08

I realised many important truths reading these Ligia.......and I got in touch with some emotions I think I'm very uncomfortable with and so have never really let in. Thank you.


I will continue to recommend your blog where appropriate. x

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ligiakasanin
Feb 08
Replying to

That means a lot, thank you Amanda. Sending love to you x

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capel1205
Feb 08

I particularly feel drawn to Barbara’s poem. Thank you.

Extract

‘’It was only time,

the silent pulse

teaching me how

I still carry you

Wherever I walk, wherever I sleep

You are here

In every breath, every beat of my heart

Quietly now, more gently

I carry you

my darling, my beautiful child

We’ve never been apart.’’

Like
ligiakasanin
Feb 08
Replying to

Yes, it is beautiful, I agree. Thank you for taking the time to comment Mari x

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