A Mountain of Grief

I exist in the spaces –
crushed and flattened –
between the rocks that form
this mountain of grief.

Each sorrowful fragment
petrified,  polished –
a collection of coldness
hardened and maintained.
I’ve never known how to grieve.

How do I shed the weightiness –
crawl out from the crevices –
breathe new life into myself?

Should I try to scale the mound?
Conquer my emotions?
Raise a flag to victory
and ultimate denial?

Or, one by one,
should I examine
and relive the losses
counting them till my head spins
and my heart beats no more?

Lacking the strength to do either
I sit and feel the hollow agony –
the overwhelming numbness
that precedes movement.

I live in the cracks
of this precariously constructed
shroud of stones –
a self-imposed prison –
and pray for resurrection.


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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

2 thoughts on “A Mountain of Grief”

  1. Jan, you are my earth angel. As you know, there are so many layers of loss with chronic illness, and I had just felt them come tumbling down. My therapist recommended writing about it, even though it is so raw. Poetry, like photographs, capture a moment in time. Thankfully, time moves on.


  2. Immediately after I first read this poem, I wanted to reply, but couldn’t find the words. The grief you describe is so complete, so hopeless, that platitudes seem powerless against it. It is only after reading “My Spirit Stands Strong” that I am able to relax, knowing that you are still able to recover hope after so much loss.


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