For those who are struggling with loss . . .

Sometimes, this time of year,
we struggle to stay in the present.
Memories intrude ever so gently
or sometimes harshly,
like a kick in the gut.
We may gasp. We may wail.
Loved ones lost. No. Wrong word.
Loved ones gone.
Gone from our sight, our touch,
our living space.

Tears they say, are cleansing.
A release. Well . . . perhaps.
But must we be staid while others carol?
Granules of being have disappeared,
theirs and thus some of ours.
So we reminisce. Sometimes ache
as waves of emotion flow through us.
Whisper aloud I love you,
though the room is empty,
save for us.

This Christmas season shall pass
and we shall live on.
Beyond the celebratory gifts,
beyond that sweet gospel
of an infant born one miraculous morn.
Our treasured memories still intact,
just shelved, perhaps a bit farther back.
But still there. Always there. Always with us.
Available for the taking out, the reexamining,
at any time we wish.

Today, we shall step into the sun,
feel its rays and warmth.
We shall smile through gentle tears.
Our tongue shall linger on our lips,
taste sweet saltiness,
a gift of remembrance.
We shall walk another day
but we shall always know one truth.
The empty space beside us
is not indicative of an empty heart.

I am about to celebrate Christmas with our home warmly decorated, and my spouse of fifty years by my side. I am however, cognizant of the many who have lost loved ones in the past year or two…whether to Covid, addiction, cancer, accident, any myriad of other reasons. Many people have difficulty during this season as they face the starkness of their loss. My poem is dedicated to all of you. May you all be blessed with gentle memories, serenity, and a new year that brings hope and health to all.