Grief: A poem

Personal Stories | September 15, 2023 | Gretchen Huntley

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I lost my son and my husband thirteen months apart; it has been, and still is, a rough road to travel. Grief is a terrible thing and, certainly for me, it has taken on many twists and turns. I am no different than anyone else having lost loved ones. I have discovered there were lessons to be learned; but not on how to grieve, because I believe no one can tell another person what they should or should not feel.  

I also believe grief and guilt go hand in hand because we are still alive, and our loved ones have gone.  

For me, words are a comfort and I often just sit down and pour out my heart on paper. Many times, when I finish writing, it feels like I have been talking to a friend. This is how this poem was written and it is my hope that maybe after you read it you might feel like you have talked to a friend, too. 

Gretchen Huntley – Poet Laureate 


Don’t try to tell me how to grieve 

Or foist on me what you believe 

You have not walked in my shoes 

The loss is mine not yours to lose 


If I choose to cry and hide away 

Don’t tell me how I must face each day 


It is my loss, my pain is real 

You cannot truly ever feel 


What is buried in my heart 

Of which you’ll never be a part 


Sadly, until it happens to you 

You won’t understand that these words are true 


But grief is lonely, and it can’t be shared 

Even though you’re thankful for those who care 


Please don’t say that you understand 

Just smile and nod and pat my hand 


I ask you please don’t give advice 

Just be there and just be nice 


I know this seems like unkind words 

And you probably think I am being absurd 


But trust me there will come a day 

And you will understand just what I say 


That I am not being cruel at all 

But when death actually comes to call 


No matter how many are close by 

The tears are yours alone to cry 

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