A gentle reminder – in the hustle and bustle of this holiday season

Just a gentle reminder that, in the hustle and bustle of this holiday season, there may be those among us who have lost a dearly loved one this year – child, spouse, parent, grandparent or friend – who may be in need of some extra special TLC as they remember the Christmases that “used to be” and struggle with how to celebrate the present Christmas with an empty chair.

A Mother’s Grief
by Kelly Cummings

You ask me how I’m feeling,
but do you really want to know?
The moment I try telling you
You say you have to go

How can I tell you,
what it’s been like for me
I am haunted, I am broken
By things that you don’t see

You ask me how I’m holding up,
but do you really care?
The moment I start to speak my heart,
You start squirming in your chair.

Because I am so lonely,
you see, friends no longer come around,
I’ll take the words I want to say
And quietly choke them down.

Everyone avoids me now,
I guess they don’t know what to say
They told me I’ll be there for you,
then turned and walked away.

Call me if you need me,
that’s what everybody said,
But how can I call and scream
into the phone,
My God, my child is dead?

No one will let me
say the words I need to say
Why does a mothers grief
scare everyone away?

I am tired of pretending
my heart hammers in my chest,
I say things to make you comfortable,
but my soul finds no rest.

How can I tell you things
that are too sad to be told,
of the helplessness of holding a child
who in your arms grows cold?

Maybe you can tell me,
How should one behave,
who’s had to follow their childs casket,
watched it perched above a grave?

You cannot imagine
what it was like for me that day
to place a final kiss upon that box,
and have to turn and walk away.

If you really love me,
and I believe you do,
if you really want to help me,
here is what I need from you.

Sit down beside me,
reach out and take my hand,
Say “My friend, I’ve come to listen,
I want to understand.”

Just hold my hand and listen
that’s all you need to do,
And if by chance I shed a tear,
it’s alright if you do too.

I swear that I’ll remember
till the day I’m very old,
the friend who sat and held my hand
and let me bare my soul.
–Kelly Cummings


As a bereaved parent, we notice and remember those who took the time…and, unfortunately, we also notice and remember those who could not or would not take the time. Once again, I express my heartfelt wish that bereaved parents feel surrounded by love this Christmas season.

© 2012 Rebecca R. Carney

6 thoughts on “A gentle reminder – in the hustle and bustle of this holiday season

  1. I have thought of you so often! I’m very pleased to read this exceptionally moving poem, with the reminder to just show up and be attentive to those who are grieving. I typically don’t have to look far to find a friend who needs that touch of a hand. It’s good to find you here again, Becky. oxo

  2. Thanks for the gentle reminder of how difficult it is to be among joyful people when your world has been immersed in loss.

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