To conclude this set of posts, I would like to say that there are many ways of helping yourself to grieve. Writing a letter to the deceased is a good one, keeping a journal to record your thoughts and feelings is another, painting or drawing is also an excellent way of expressing emotions. You don’t have to be an artist, by the way. Colour is the main ingredient. Your instinct will tell you what colour to use. Poetry is also a very good way to vent grief. I would like to conclude with one of my own grief poems
The Lights of Christmas make me sad,
For they remind me of my dead child
Who was a light in my life
And who passed from me
Like a candle
Quenched by the cruel fingers of fate.
Oh, how I hate to think of it.
That child reminded me
When I was young and carefree,
Full of mischief and of glee,
Blushing with the bashfulness of innocence.
He was to me
Six Christmases have come and gone
With each the easing of my pain,
But all the same, the memories remain,
And live within me,
And I see him every day.
I always fear that somehow
In the distance of time
Since he was placed in the cold earth,
Waiting for me to come
And join him in eternal sleep,
That I will forget the sound of his voice.
And every day I listen carefully
To ensure that it remains with me.
For the voice is the sign of the spirit,
It is the essence of the inner soul.
And his voice was soft as silk,
Like the music of the rain in spring
It falls upon my hardened heart.
And no! I will not forget
As long as breath remains within me
That lovely sound,
Which echoed in our lives
For thirteen short summers
Before it died.
I composed this poem as I drove into the town of Thurles on Friday 20th of December 1996, almost 7 years after Cathal’s death. I had celebrated the end of term with my staff, and was in a happy mood. Then without warning the bright Christmas lights of Thurles reminded me of the darkness that had descended upon our household in February 1990, following a joyful Christmas, when Cathal had presented us with a lovely fruit bowl. It must have taken him a long time to save that much money from his frugal pocket money. I feel my tears anew as I contemplate his generosity. And I still remember the soft sound of his voice.
having finished my posts on grief, my future posts on grief will be a serialising of my book ‘When a Child Dies’, which I hope will help those unfortunate people who have lost a child