Her daughter loved visiting the older couple who lived next door

but after the lady’s husband died the daughter said, “I don’t want to visit her anymore.”


“She’s so sad every time I see her…and she still talks to her husband too.

It makes me a little uncomfortable…I don’t know what to do.”


Her mom said, “I understand your feelings but surely you have to see

now that her husband is gone…how lonely she must be.”


“But what can I do to help her?” she asked…”She’s acting awful strange.

It’s not the same when I visit now…everything has changed.”


Her mom looked into her eyes then patter her on her head.

“I think the best thing you can do…is just be her friend.” she said.


“Let her be sad, let her cry, let her be somber. let her be grim…

Remember she lost someone she loved…and she wasn’t done loving him.”


“I imagine right now she needs a friend…who quietly by her side will stay

and listen…just listen…until her sorrow fades away.”


And so the daughter followed her mom’s suggestion…

and though she’s not sure exactly when

slowly she noticed her friend began to smile again.


She began talking about other things…found other reasons to be glad…

until the day thoughts of her husband…no longer made her sad.


And the daughter learned a valuable lesson…

about how one doesn’t always have to intercede….

sometimes just knowing a friend is near 


is all a person needs.

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She received a lot of advice after her Grandpa died

It seemed to come in waves…

They said Grandpa was in a better place…They told her to be brave.


Be brave for your grandpa they said…he wouldn’t want you to be sad…

Be brave for your bothers and sisters…be brave for your mom and dad


She remembers being somewhat confused from all the advice they gave

She was just a young girl…What did she know about brave?


She ran to her Dad and asked, “Dad! What’s the correct way to behave?

When we go to Grandpa’s funeral…What do they mean…be brave?”


"People mean well when they say be brave.” Dad said, 

“But you are kind and loving and smart,

I think the best advice on how to be brave is to listen to your heart.”


“What is your heart telling you?” he asked.

Then she looked up at her dad

“My heart is saying it’s broken…It’s telling me I’m sad.”


“It’s telling me I miss him …It wants to know why he died.”

“It’s telling me it hurts…It’s telling me to cry”.


Dad nodded saying…”Grandpa made us smile so many time over the years.

We never think how one day those smiles will be the reason for our tears.”


“Don’t give a second thought to what people say or think today,” he said,

“or any time you say goodbye”.

“Be brave enough to be yourself…Be brave enough to cry”.


She related this conversation word for word to her daughter

about what it means to be brave

while happy memories made them cry


As they stood at Grandpa’s grave.

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Somebody died today…it’s part of life’s ebb and flow

but what makes this day so different is…this somebody was somebody I know.


She had a full life, my somebody…filled with many highs and some lows…

but Death is unsympathetic…when it comes our time to go.


Yet how lucky we are has humans… 

for although in death…of her presence we’re deprived

the myriad of memories we created…in a way keeps her alive…


And that’s where our sadness originates…

That’s why we feel so bereft…

not from all those memories we created together 

but that those memories are all I have left.


We know Death has taken her from us…but in Death there is a plus

for Death has left her memories behind…Death can’t take those away from us.


When we want to, when we have the urge…we can visit her a while

Just by closing our eyes and remembering…

her voice, 

her eyes…

her smile…


And for a moment in our silence…as more and more memories arrive

it’s as if she never left us…as if she’s still alive


And when our eyes reopen

we smile remembering all the memories we’ve sewn

and we feel blessed 

she was a somebody we were lucky enough to have known. 


Which gives us all hope for the time when Death comes too our door

as part of life’s ebb and flow

That we, too, will have been lucky enough


to be somebody…somebody knows.


“Why did Grandma have to die?” the young boy asked his Dad

He could see his son was hurting…he could see his son was sad…


“I’m not sure why our bodies give out,” he said… “only that one day they all do

but even though Grandma is gone…she lives inside of you?”


“She’s in the way you smile…in the way you laugh…the way you cry.

She’s in the way you walk and talk…I can see her in your eyes.”


The son smiled…then said, “Dad, tell me this…there’s something I’d like to know…

now that she’s no longer here…where did Grandma go?”


“There are many beliefs and thoughts on that.” Dad said “Some think to heaven some to the stars.

But I believe…I like to think…Grandma hasn’t traveled very far.”


“We begin as part of the Universe…particles floating in time and space

Then a miracle occurs….and we are put upon this place.”


“We are blessed to live…we know not how long…we know not where or when

our time upon this Earth will be over and we’ll join the Universe again.”


“Your grandma was here long enough…not long enough for you and me

but long enough to share herself…to become a memory.”


“And though it’s true…she’s gone from Earth…all those memories she made

will stay with us forever..will never wither…never fade…”


“She has blended back into the Universe to become the wind within the trees

She is the rain, she is the cool breeze…she is the flowers and the trees.”


“She is the sunshine that warms your cheeks, she is the moonlight shining bright

She is the clouds that float gently overhead…she is the stars…she is the night.”


She is the sky, she is the snowflakes, she is the fall leaves upon the ground

she is the moon…she is the day…you will find her all around…”


“No, you needn’t worry about Grandma, Dad said, because every minute of every day


though she may be gone forever… she is never far away…”

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It was a week before they found you

a week before anyone had known.

It took a week for them to realize

you had died alone…


150,000 people across the world die every day

most have friends and family they’ve known

but this poem does not go out to them

It goes out to those like you…who die alone.


Who have no friends or family

for whatever reason why

No one by your side at the end

No one with whom to say goodbye.


We did not know to think about you

not while you were living anyhow…

so we’d like to say we’re sorry

and we’re thinking of you now… 


It is our hope these thoughts will find their way to you

to let you know we care…

that you will feel their presence

and find some comfort there…


Perhaps if we all take a moment every day

to make thoughts like these known

even those who die by themselves


will never die alone. 

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There is no cure for the sorrow we feel

(It’s one reason that we cry)

no antidote for the pain

when someone we know dies.


We immediately wonder why her…why now…

how we would have loved just one more day

one more moment…

one more memory

when someone we know passes away…


Our mind flashes back to certain moments…

wonderful memories we linger on

as the joy we feel for having known her

mixes with the sadness that she’s gone.


Our memory happily jumps back and forth.

We give thanks she was ever sent to us

and we hope and pray she understood

everything she ever meant to us.


We couldn’t have created a better friend

If we had planted seeds ourselves then grown her

and we know our lives will never be the same

and we are better people…having known her.


So we are content to grieve a moment…

knowing in our hearts she wouldn’t mind…

knowing the sadness we feel today

will acquiesce to the joy she left behind…


Yes, today we’ll allow sorrow to envelop us

we’ll linger in our tears a while

knowing in the future

every time we think of her

with every memory…


we’ll smile.

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Hanging by a thread, reel me in

Give me something to believe in

Trying to catch up, but it feels like I'm running in sand

I'm terrified of these demons in demand.


...the gallows echo my name.


Hanging by a string, lying low like fen

I need to be born again, like Jesus of Nazareth

Lost & trapped

My mind is a labyrinth.


...the hangman shrieks my name.


Hanging by a rope now, instead of a thread

This demolition course of a life,

Now has me dead.

Cut down by the scythe.


...the grim reaper carries my head. 

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His son came to him with tears in his eyes…he was crying…

both of them were sad

His son had lost his Grandpa…and he had lost his dad.


“What am I going to do?” his son asked…his sadness on display

“Is there anything I can do to make this sadness go away.”


He hugged his son, lifted him up then lovingly placed him on his knee

“Let me teach you something,” he said…”your grandpa taught to me.”

Let’s sit here together close our eyes and think of Grandpa for a while.

Think of all you the time we spent together…all the times he made us smile.


“Today we’re feeling one huge sadness…and here is what Grandpa taught us:”

“Not to let this one huge sadness outweigh all the happiness he brought us.”


He said, “sadness and happiness are incompatible. They can’t take up the same space

and the best way to remove a frown is to put a smile on your face.”


“It’s not always easy.” he knew… “like today when we’re both so aware

how Grandpa is no longer with us…how sadness fills our air.”


“But Grandpa knew what he was talking about and when sadness comes our way

we must remember happiness…to make that sadness go away.”


So they sat together father and son…and they thought of him a while…


and on one of the saddest days in both their lives…they found a way to smile.

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With the memory of her death still fresh in his mind

he pauses to think about her…

and he wonders…

if the world will always be this quiet

and this lonely…


without her.

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