Good Grieving

Peony, June (C) 2008 Margaret Dubay Mikus

There are many things I am grateful for in all this and I try to remember the love that surrounds me. I have a lot of support and many healing skills, but I am just barely coping. Each day I try to sleep and eat and take care of myself, but I feel like a huge weight has crushed me flat, like one of those old cartoon characters that is steamrollered into a paper-thin version of himself. I know from experience that this is part of the grieving process and it will get better over time. Every day I keep on.

As I was slowly trudging to an appointment with my holistic doc earlier this week, some words came into my head: “I feel I weigh six hundred pounds, with shoulders bowed and feet of lead….and walk through mud.” And I thought: that is exactly how I feel. Oh wait, I wrote that…years ago. It is one of two poems in my book, As Easy as Breathing, that I think of as “the good grieving poems.” I wrote these at another time when life knocked me flat. And writing saved and healed me.

First I want to share a short recent poem. For the last month, as she declined, Mom and I could no longer have our weekly phone conversations. I felt her presence nevertheless. These insistent lines came out of that space between dream and waking My Mother’s Daughter) that I complied for Mom’s wake, to share with family and friends as my contribution in celebration of her life and our connection.

She is quiet
she is still
she is peaceful

she is getting ready
to walk the long tunnel
ever grace-filled.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2012

Below are the two “good grieving poems” from my book, As Easy as Breathing: Reclaiming Power for Healing and Transformation—Poems, Letters, and Inner Listening

Back to the Living

I feel a dreadful sadness
of losses overwhelming,
one on top of the other,
no chance for breathing
in between. No re-balancing

as waves hit from the blue,
knocking the breath out
and feet out from under.
For a time water comes into
lungs…and there is a peace in this,

but no life. For a time
floating numb. Then salt
mixes with salt and body
begins to right and cough
and sputter back to the living.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 1996

Who Can Shine Such Light

I feel I weigh six hundred
pounds, with shoulders bowed
and feet of lead.

I see through salt water
and walk through mud.

The mud that clings I fear
will never wash away
by no matter how many tears.

Even so…there is a wisp of smoke
that may vanish, whispering, “feel this
too…fully…and then see

the other side.
Release what must be
to heal from wounds old and new.
The lightness that will come

from this unloading
will be miraculous.
People will be drawn to this one
who can shine such light on darkness.”

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 1996

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