My Grief is Like a River
I have to let it flow,
But I myself determine
Just where the banks will go.

Some days the current takes me
In waves of guilt and pain,
But there are always quiet pools
Where I can rest again.

I crash on rocks of anger–
My faith seems faint indeed,
But there are other swimmers
Who know that what I need

Are loving hands to hold me
When the waters are too swift,
And someone kind to listen
When I just seem to drift.

Grief’s river is a process
Of relinquishing the past.
By swimming in Hope’s channels
I’ll reach the shore at last.
– Author Unknown

I read this (or at least tried to) at my Father’s funeral. I had experienced grief before, but nothing like this. My Dad always had the solidity that I valued, he was a rock. My sister spoke about him at the funeral too and one thing that struck me was that we had both had very different relationships with him! I didn’t recognise the man she was talking about at all.

He was not present in my younger days in the same way that he was in hers – there is eight years between us – but nonetheless, I knew that he loved me.

Four days before he died he phoned me on my birthday to wish “his baby” a happy birthday. I don’t remember him ever being so softly spoken or gentle of voice. He was a big man, ex boxer, ex Army and manual worker, it just wasn’t his way. It left me puzzled at the time. And by the way…I was 42!

What I am feeling now 10 years later, for someone else, is grief. A very different kind of grief. It’s ambiguous. Why do I grieve? It’s uncertain. Are you dead or somehow still alive?

9 thoughts on “Grief”

  1. I read this, my dad died 6yrs ago yesterday. Yesterday I spent the day remembering a photo of him & my daughter with a smile on my face.

    1. Hello Morag, I have more to say on the impact that my Dad’s death had on my life. This was just one aspect. I love the poem myself and have read it time & time again. It is very appropriate for my own father who was a keen fisherman and whiled away many hours by the river Avon x

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