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Trying to make sense of it. Friday April 22, 2016

Although rather sad, the lady who wrote this poem hopes it may help anyone else in the same position. Caroline, The Moodscope Team.

Myself and my daughter are at a funeral.
A school friend died
The same age as my little girl
We sit, huddled and cuddled together
On a wooden pew
Mourning the death of a little princess.

My daughter asks me how and why
I have no answers.
I have hugs and tears and words of comfort
But the truth is -

What is the truth?

The truth is -
There is no place for empty words here
This is not a time to say 'she is in a better place'
This was an innocent child
Taken too soon.

Where is she, mum? Where has she gone?

I envy those around me with faith
A faith that allows them talk of god
Talk of heaven, talk of angels.
I wish I had their words, their beads, their beliefs.
I do find comfort in the religious rituals,
I do enjoy the theatricality of the ceremonies
But that's as far as I go.

I hold my daughter tight
I say I love her
I say life is precious
Sad and difficult -
especially for those who grieve for their children -
But precious.

My daughter says she's sad
I say sadness is part of life.
My daughter says she's angry
I say anger is okay.
It's the first time I've said that to my children
The first time I have acknowledged anger is okay
To them
To me.

I have always equated anger with rage and cruelty.
But now, on this sad of saddest of days,
I say we need our anger
We need to embrace it and use it
In a positive way
To push our little fragile selves through life
To live each day as best we can.

It's okay to be sad and angry I say to my little girl
It's human,
It means we're alive and kicking.
She bites her lip
What about laughing, mum?
Is it okay to laugh, even though my friend is dead?
Yes, it's okay to laugh
It's vital to laugh
That's why we're here

To feel
To be
To love
To live.

But, right now, we stand. Because today, we are here to mourn.

Salt Water Mum
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Zareen Fri, Apr 22nd 2016 @ 6:59am

I found the poem extremely moving & may well come back to reading it over & over again. Thanks for posting it.

Emer Fri, Apr 22nd 2016 @ 7:25am

Straight from the heart. Clear, concise and too true. I embrace these sentiments - it's ok to be sad, angry, to laugh. It's crucial to feel.

Hopeful One Fri, Apr 22nd 2016 @ 7:40am

Hi SWM- I share your grief and admire your positive outlook in opening the gate of acceptance and allowing anger and the sadness to walk through despite the tragedy you and your daughter have endured. Happiness and sadness are two faces of the same coin - we cannot have happiness without accepting that we will be sad from time to time.

You say "Yes, it's okay to laugh
It's vital to laugh
That's why we're here".

So I will set the ball rolling despite my sadness at the sudden loss of Victoria Wood so son after losing Ronnie Corbett.

This one is cheeky saucy even saucy but by now fellow Moodscopers know me well enough to just appreciate its funny side.

Bill worked in a pickle factory. He had been employed there for a number of years when he came home one day to confess to his wife that he had a terrible compulsion. He had an urge to stick his privates into the pickle slicer. His wife suggested that he should see a sex therapist to talk about it, but Bill said that he'd be too embarrassed. He vowed to overcome the compulsion on his own. One day a few weeks later, Bill came home absolutely ashen. His wife could see at once that something was seriously wrong. "What's wrong, Bill?" she asked. "Do you remember that I told you how I had this tremendous urge to put my privates into the pickle slicer?" "Oh, Bill, you didn't." "Yes, I did." "My God, Bill, what happened?" "I got fired." "No, Bill. I mean, what happened with the pickle slicer?" "Oh...she got fired too."

LillyPet Fri, Apr 22nd 2016 @ 8:28am

Lol! Love it when I dont see the punchline coming! Thanks HO! LP :)xx

LillyPet Fri, Apr 22nd 2016 @ 8:30am

Sending my condolences to you and your little one SWM. Warm hugs. LPxx

Anonymous Fri, Apr 22nd 2016 @ 8:37am

Hi SWM. What a sad experience for you and your daughter but a good one to share with us. Adults can't understand untimely deaths so why should we expect children to. Your daughter now knows it is OK to express and feel all sorts of emotions at a funeral. I didn't attend one until I was an adult and remember well the first one. It was unknown territory for me and I took my cues from others in the congregation. The fact that you answered all her questions positively have given her a good grounding in believing that all feelings any one experiences at funerals are right. The advice you gave to your daughter is good advice for all of us, Julxx

Julia Fri, Apr 22nd 2016 @ 9:17am

This is so sad but I think your advice to your daughter is wonderful. We went through something a little bit like this but with much less impact on my daughter when a friend whose son was in my daughter's class lost her baby shortly after birth. I am tempted to share your poem with my daughter who is now 13. There's also a good book Vicky Angel by Jacqueline Wilson but bits of it are quite upsetting so you might want to read it yourself before deciding whether it would be worth recommending to your daughter.

Debs Fri, Apr 22nd 2016 @ 10:53am

Wow - what a beautiful, powerful poem. Thank you so much for sharing it with us, it must have taken so much courage - both to hold the space for your girl and to write how you felt. You're an amazing mum and you're daughter is incredibly blessed. Sending love and thoughts to you both xxxx

Salt Water Mum Fri, Apr 22nd 2016 @ 12:57pm

Thank you so much for your comments. They all mean an awful lot to me.

Julia, my daughter reads a lot of Jacqueline Wilson (wow that writer is so prolific!) but she doesn't have "Vicky Angel' so that's a good idea - I will read it first and see if I think she's ready. There is a book by an Irish author too called 'The Butterfly Shell' which a friend gave me for my daughter but again, it tackles difficult issues I believe so I am going to read that first as well.

I have a deep need to protect her from all the darkness and yet, she has sadly seen so much already. The death of her friend, her parents' separation, three grandparents dying plus two other much-loved older ladies in my (and my children's) life. Yes, she sure knows about grief (even more so than her younger brother methinks).

She still makes me laugh though - she was chatting to her BFF the other day who was telling her about her aunty's wedding and my daughter says 'aren't you lucky? I've been to seven funerals now and zero weddings - no one we know ever ever gets married' !!!

That little honey died in January and I wrote the piece some weeks later. So, there has been a bit of time lapse since it happened. Very interesting therefore for me to read it today again. There is a still a lot of emotional residue since. There is still sadness and confusion and questions. The concept of 'life going on' despite the grief. A locker still contains sports socks and runners. A hockey stick still still in its place. Art work remains on the wall. One day, my daughter came home crying because the teacher called out the poor little honey's name on the roll call. Silence. Then one child said 'don't you remember...?' and the teacher said sorry. And the roll call continued. No one knows what to say.

At home, my policy is to talk about whatever comes up - no matter how awkward or sad the subject is. Better out than in as Shrek wisely says!!

Talk, cry and yes... it's okay to be angry. I have learnt the difference between a negative hostile anger and a constructive get-us-through-the-dark anger.

I'm so glad I wrote about it,

thank you for listening,


The Gardener Fri, Apr 22nd 2016 @ 8:48pm

Well put - 'shielding' children does not work - they are more resilient than we think - thouugh had a difficult job calming g-grandaugher last year when she though Mr G was near the end. Curiously, the carting off in the ambulance was a huge shock when experienced for the first time. For kids, just exciting if it's someone else.

The Gardener Fri, Apr 22nd 2016 @ 8:52pm

There's a quote somewhere 'they do not know grief who have not lost a child'. I keep meeting very old people who have been pre-deceased by one or more offspring. Their cry 'it should have been me'. One of our parsons, they had three children, lost a son to a brain tumour at 13 years old. she was clever, beautiful, seemingly 'stable' but she always felt like a '3 child' family, and never went to other's big family gatherings again, too poignant

The Gardener Fri, Apr 22nd 2016 @ 8:56pm

Muddled thinkinhe' 'she' was the mother. I feel that during our lives funerals have changed from 'mourning the passing' of someone, to giving thanks for -the life had and the joy to others. Is that old age sentiment? Or have attitudes changed?

David Sat, Apr 23rd 2016 @ 12:25pm

That's a triumph, SWM – to transform the welter of overwhelming feelings into something so sharp and clear.

When you say it's okay to be angry, it reminds me of the Jewish tradition of protest against God, of wrestling with God, of being angry with God. If you don't believe in a god or any spiritual dimension, then just substitute 'reality' for 'God'.

Yes, we have to protect the little ones. And yet it's hard to avoid protecting them too much, in which case they might end up being fragile creatures upset by every breeze that blows. You seem to have helped your daughter through the experience in the best way possible.

Keep writing like that ... it's power! As Maya Angelou said: "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Salt Water Mum Tue, Apr 26th 2016 @ 9:04am

How lovely it is to peek back at my blog and see a sparkling new comment days later ! Especially such a kind and positive one. Thank you David. (And thank you Gardener.)
I adore Maya Angelou - she is so wise. I bought a book of hers recently for a dear aunt of mine.
I must treat myself to her beautiful words too!


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