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Does Grief Ever Go Away?

This week I have been contemplating grief (again). Keenly aware of the reality that grief never ends. We never stop missing those we’ve lost, we just get used to life after they are gone. We learn to tolerate the pain of the loss, we learn to access gratitude for all the good times shared.


My paternal grandmother was the first significant loss of my life. At that time, there was a poem that brought a lot of comfort to me and my family, especially my grandfather.


I’m sharing this poem with you with an invitation to take a moment to honor the 2,584 people who died from Covid-19 yesterday, and the 668,000 people we’ve lost in this pandemic. If you’ve lost a loved one to Covid-19, or watched as someone you love suffered, know that you are not alone.


As you read these words, feel free to adapt the pronouns and details to fit your circumstances.


Gone From My Sight


I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,

spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts

for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.

I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck

of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, "There, she is gone."


Gone where?


Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,

hull and spar as she was when she left my side.

And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.


Her diminished size is in me -- not in her.


And, just at the moment when someone says, "There, she is gone,"

there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices

ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"


And that is dying...


Henry Van Dyke