He wasn’t a regular customer…at least I hadn’t seen him here before.

The store was empty, save for me, when he walked in through the door.


He purchased a couple books but instead of taking them and walking…he looked me in the eyes…and then he started talking.


It was a free association of his thoughts…from one subject to another he would hop…and there was a time, I’m sorry to admit, when I wished for him to stop.


But I felt bad for thinking that…so I whisked that thought away…and I began to actively listen…to what he had to say.


Once that initial negative feeling I was able to reverse…I learned a lot about this young man in the hour we conversed.


I learned how old he was…about his family…and the reason he purchased his two books…It’s because he’s living on his own now and he wants to teach himself to cook.


I learned about the food he likes…how he’s really into spices…And now that he’s buying his own food…how he’s amazed at the high prices.


I learned about his job…where he goes to work each day…and amidst this plethora of information he was sharing…I learned his father had recently passed away.


It was here, for me, the pieces fell into place…all the clues were there….all the reasons…he was so willing, with me, to share.


All the stories of his family…of his mom (also passed) and his dad… 

He was a just little lonely…and he was just a little sad.


And in our moment of time together…in this uninhabited space

I found myself not only listening to his words but watching the expressions on his face…


And realizing, once again…not knowing what’s around the bend tomorrow….there is no substitute for joy in life…and there is no cure for sorrow.


And I was glad I chose to listen…glad he walked in through my door…

And glad that when he left…we were not strangers anymore.



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Today…some thoughts on grief because I am of the belief

just as life can give us joy…we can’t escape its grief.


When we lose someone we love…life will never be the same it was before.   

It’s as if, in that one moment, our world is not in balance anymore.


Grief can come out of nowhere…at first it makes us seethe..

It causes endless tears…it makes it hard to breathe.


When we’re overcome with grief…it can bring us to our knees as we feel the weight of scars…scars that no-one else can see.


It’s as if a window to our hearts has broken allowing in the arctic, frigid air and the person we want most to talk to…is no longer standing there.


Grief can come in waves…it matters not if we’re a mother, father, son or daughter…and sometimes the best that we can do is keep our heads above the water.


Then one day in the midst of our sadness we begin perceiving how the world around us does not stop…just because it’s us who’s grieving.


And we begin to think during those moment when we’re feeling blue…about the person whom we’re missing and what they’d want us to do.


And it’s our thoughts of them that help relieve our sorrow and our doubt and from the forest we are lost in…help to guide us out.


It's their voices that tell us grief is not a sign of weakness as each day another path we cross…It is the price we pay for loving…it is the price we pay for loss.


It’s their voices that remind us if it is balance we’re trying to achieve… then the only way to deal with our grief…is to allow ourselves to grieve…


It is their voices that are telling us…reminding us with ever breath

to live in the sunshine they created…not the shadow of their death.



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At first the sadness’s overwhelmed her…

It was with her everywhere she went

She couldn’t remove it’s ringing from her years

It’s taste

it’s feel

it’s scent


She knew if she was ever going to move on…

eventually she’d have to find

a way to deal with her sorrow…

a place for her sadness to be confined


She discovered a vacant room within her heart…

it magically opened one day

and slowly little by little she began

to pack her sorrow away.


She knows the sadness will revisit 

but no longer does she fear

the moments it returns…

the moments it appears…


For those times when it seeps back out…

those feeling of sadness and doom

she will visit with them a while 

then store them back inside this room.


Now she able to smile as she closes the door…

no longer is she mad…

for she remembers what made her so happy to begin with…


that now makes her so sad.

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We have witnessed grief first hand

It’s in the news for us to see.

We see sorrow seeping from out their pores.

We feel their agony.


A life was taken senselessly

one second there…and now it’s gone.

Their story ended prematurely

only their memory lingers on.


In time their grief will soften

they know not where or when

but when they do remember

the grief will rise again.


For the moment someone is taken from us

the moment their life is quelled

a part of those who loved them

dies that moment as well.


I imagine their only consolation

ss they wear their grief like a glove

is to remember grief is but an outcome


of the depth and wonder of their love.

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I saw a tear escape her eye…

when she whispered out his name

and I remember thinking why…

and wondering what tragedy she overcame.


She suffered a loss I did not know…

a loss she couldn’t disguise

It happened a long time ago…

I could see it in her eyes.


I imagine a tear is how our heart speaks 

when we can’t find words to explain

when a memory has made us weak…

when we’re overcome with pain.


I wonder when we hold back our tears…

suppress even one teardrop

If it’s because we have a hidden fear…

once they start…our tears won’t stop.


That once the dam is broken…

and our tears start falling down

a terror goes unspoken…

that in our own tears…we will drown.


For suffering sometimes fall like rain…

a word, a smell, a thought can bring it on

and we’re reminded by our pain 

how grief is not a sprint but a marathon.


Perhaps that’s why we have an ocean of tears…

for in any dark days we have ahead

when a memory stirs and grief appears

we’ll have unending tears to shed.


I wonder…how many of us harbor a fear

that at the end of any minute…any day

a relentless stream of our own tears

are but one memory away?


At the time I offered her a smile…

to give her strength for a sadness I’ve never known

knowing all the while


some griefs we’re meant to bear alone.

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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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He was looking at a picture of his wife…thinking of their first date… first kiss…

and now that she is gone…all the things that he will miss…


“You look sad.” the young girl said to him as he sat upon ‘their’ rock

“Sometimes I get sad too.” she said…but he didn’t want to talk.


“Why are you here all by yourself?” He asked.

“What are you doing talking to me?”

“Don’t you have someplace else to go?”

“Someplace else you need to be?”


“Do you like ice cream?” she asked

“How long since you were born?”

“How dangerous is it to pet a snake?”

“Have you ever seen a unicorn?”


The old man tried his best not to answer…but there was something about her smile he adored…

and as the questions kept on coming…she was too hard to ignore.


“I’ve never seen a unicorn.” he said

“Snakes are dangerous…you know.”

“I like my ice cream chocolate…and I was born a long, long time ago.”


She kept asking questions because that’s what a little girl does

and as the old man kept responding he forgot how sad he was.


After a while from atop that rock he was now happily sitting on

he turned to thank the little girl

but he couldn’t

she was gone.


He looked but could not find her.

Where was she?

He didn’t know…but she took with her his sadness 

she took with her his woe.


“It can’t be…can it! he wondered after sitting there a while

and returning to the picture of his wife he nodded,


“I thought I recognized that smile."

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When you look around this beautiful world…don’t you find it odd

that every religion has a similar supplication…

even people who don’t believe in God.


A wish, a hope, a thought…a prayer…a feeling we can’t hide

that emerges from within us…

and goes out to anyone who’s died.


Is that because no matter what or who our God…our color…our sex, our name

in the midst of grief and loss…

all sorrow is the same?


I know when I see other people grieving…they feel just like me…

their tears, their moans, their hurt is the same…

though they might express it differently.


We may not understand one another…we come from different faiths…

from different places

but there is no misunderstanding the sadness 

and the grief upon our faces.


As we lay to rest the people killed in the synagogue…

as we mourn a world in disarray

so many people of so many faiths and places 

have prayed for them in their own way.


When you look around this beautiful world…don’t you find it bizarre

that in seeing the way all people grieve…. 


we find how similar we are?





Her sorrow at her loss was overwhelming….

It wold not leave her side

So she sought the wisdom of an old friend

In whom she could confide….


“Today your forest is dark.” Her friend said.

“For darkness is what sorrow brings.

All the trees are bent in sadness.

All the birds have broken wings.”


“You cannot force your happiness to return.” she said

Your heart…cannot be deceived.

You must allow yourself this sadness

You need this time to grieve.”


“But when will my sorrow end?” She asked

I’ve been sad for much too long….”

Her friend smiled…

There is no right way to deal with sadness

just as there is no wrong.”


Your sadness will always be there

some days it lies dormant…other days it churns

but slowly when you least expect it…

happiness will return…


The day you smile in spite of your tears

is the day your happiness will again be revealed….

The day you can tell your story and no longer cry…

It is the day you know you’ve healed.”

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