Yesterday, when I wrote a post about not wanting Christmas to arrive this year, I really had started off planning to write about the grief I have been experiencing since my husband/soul mate died two years ago this month and that I especially feel this time of year. Christmas was Gary’s favorite holiday and our home and preparations reflected that. We decorated and baked and welcomed ‘one and all’ into our abode with open arms.

Somehow, though, the post ended up being a humorous look at this time of the year, and I was fairly satisfied with the end result. But I knew that it was not a completely truthful essay about my feelings right now. I took the ‘light road’ when I talked about greeting ‘The Season’ at the door and saying “no thanks…not this year; I’m not interested.” I hope my readers enjoyed my efforts even though part of me wanted to scream, “But that’s not discussing what is really going on in my head”!

The following poem is a more truthful account of my mind these days…I know that I will forge ahead through the holidays with the love and support of my wonderful family and close friends, and for that I am truly thankful, but deep down, when I lie awake in the night, grief is an extremely powerful emotion, one that I am still learning to deal with. Patience is a virtue, I’ve heard, and I’m trying to be patient. Surely one day I will cope better than I am right now. Thanks for reading…


Grief is a cat
Stalking me on velvet paws
Preening itself on my bed
Dreaming of birds and mice
And though I’ve given nourishment
And hugged it close for months
It’s feral still
Its claws and teeth are sharp

It waits until I face the night
Or until the sun is high
Or until it senses weakness
And can attack
Hissing and spitting
As if I am the enemy
And not the one who found it
Shivering, on my step

I can do nothing then but draw it close
Cocoon it in my arms
Embrace the pain
When feline bites draw blood
And the bedroom clock
Counts the hours


21 thoughts on “Grief

  1. Your poem is so very moving in its symbolism and realism and the same time. I suppose that is how grief is, too. My dad died on St. Patrick’s Day and I mourned every year for most of my life on a day the people did crazy celebrating. I hope that it doesn’t take you as long as it took me (almost 50 years) to finally stop mourning his death day and start celebrating his birthday.

    May you find some comfort in that cat who, while its claws and teeth are sharp, has the ability to purr and lull you into serenity.

  2. Christmas is a time of year that seems to bring many a deep cavernous black hole of grief. Lives change whether we want them to or not and all of the traditions we have built into our lives over the years change with our lives leaving us standing on unstable ground.
    You are in my thoughts and prayers. I hope you and your family feel the warmth of Gary’s embrace as you are comforted by the recognition of what you two built together surrounding you.

  3. Sylvia. I have no clever words and even if I did, they would only be that, clever words….so instead I send you a this: Close your eyes and imagine yourself being hugged long and hard…that is what I send you today.

  4. Funny Syl I portray the same dreams……. many many nights I hear the same tick tock of the clock grieving in a different way tears stream down my face in the middle of the night …we put on a brave face in the day light but ha ha we are not as tough as we apear….the family tries to act brave but we are not take care Syl xoxo

    1. Hey Deb…thanks for reading and commenting. I know that I am not the only one feeling Gary’s loss and I can only imagine how you and the other siblings feel after losing two brothers within six months of each other. I guess we all need to support each other whatever way we can to get through this. Hope to see you soon.

  5. Sylvia,
    May peace curl up in your lap and knead your soul, may you feel your husband’s presence as real as if you are petting the fur of a kitten. May grief take a holiday and give you some relief this week. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  6. Sylvia, thank-you so much for sharing this poem. It is very moving. The imagery it portrays and the emotion it evokes are so powerful. My heart goes out to you, especially at this time of year, knowing how difficult it is for you. We love you!

    1. Faye (and Les)…thanks so much for your words…I hold them dear to my heart at all times…I know you read this poem earlier this fall but thought it was time to post it on my blog…thanks for reading and commenting…love you both and miss you too, especially this time of the year.

  7. I lost my mom one year ago Wednesday. We had her funeral on Christmas Eve morning. The community couldn’t understand why we didn’t put it off until the following week between Christmas and New Years. The church was near bursting anyway. Because of the rituals of Christmas, this time of year is again heavy.

    I’m sorry about your loss.

    1. Tess–I’m so sorry for the loss of your mom…my mom passed away six years ago and it is still difficult for me…she had a difficult death that was traumatic for those of us who witnessed it day in and day out…so sad to see a loved one die, and especially sad to watch a loved one die in pieces when the doctors could have done so much more for her. I appreciate your comments here and wish you a peaceful holiday!

    1. Rita…thank you so much for your words and your hug…means a lot to me that it comes from your heart. I know there are many people out there who understand and empathize with my grief and for that, I am grateful. I keep going on because that is what I am expected to do and that is what my children need me to do, and so the world turns and the seasons change…and I mark the hours and the days….

  8. Sylvia, this is beautiful and so true. We do ourselves a disservice when we assume that grief can be dealt with by progressing through specific stages in a specific time period. When you have loved, the loss of that loved one will always hurt, at least a little. I hope that you do have a blessed Christmas, and that the memory of your husband will make your day special.

    1. Michele…thank you so much for your words…I find comfort in reading blogs such as yours, knowing that other parents love and treat their children the way that Gary and I loved and treated ours…and now that they are grown, I get to experience the love and joy they have for their family and their roots…makes me one very proud mother. And I know that Gary loved them so much that words could not express his feelings…but they were in his thoughts right up until his last day on earth. I am a truly blessed person to have had a love such as his in my life for as long as I did, and for that I am thankful.

  9. Hi Sylvia,
    Grief is such a hard feeling to get over, not that you ever get over it! Losing my Mom 2 years ago and this time of year is always sad for me but then I think about how lucky I am to have good friends and my children. I have no parents, both my Mom & Dad are gone and I lost my sister 31 years ago but it seems like yesterday….not a day goes by that I do not think about her…so thank you for letting me read your blog and I hope you have Peace & Love and Happiness this coming year and Merry Christmas to you and your family and keep writing! Miss You…Take Care…

  10. Hi Sylvia…thinking about you these days. Grief sure does it’s job on a person. My dad passed away 19 years ago and this time of year is especially difficult. The month of December turns me into an emotional basket case!

    I hope you can find some peace and comfort!

    Merry Christmas from our home to yours…

  11. Sylvia, I have been feeling sorry for myself for a few days, and after reading this post I am ashamed. My Mom died two years ago, and the thought of a second Christmas without her has been heavy on my heart. Your words brought me back to reality, losing a Mother is indeed difficult, but your grief is heart renching. I pray that your family will bring you much joy over the holidays!

    1. Mo–there is no need to apologize about your feelings…I lost my mom six years ago and miss her still…she had such a great laugh and sense of humor and she thought the sun rose and set on my children…and on my husband. I always said that if I ever got divorced Gary would get my mother! She absolutely loved him, and he thought the world of her, too…even when he teased her. I miss them both so much…Thank you for visiting and for commenting on my post…I wish you peace and contentment…

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