Friday, February 22, 2013

Poetry Friday: The Letter

 For more Poetry Friday, stop over with Sheri Doyle, our host this week.

During the month of January, my blog posts have been primarily recounting the grieving process I experienced after the loss of a child, a full-term stillbirth many years ago. The impetus for revisiting this period of my life was the expected death of my father. While writing these posts, I opened myself to the deep sadness that I knew was approaching. In a way, I began the grieving process before he was gone, and Allison's death was the tool for allowing me to go there.

Daddy died almost two weeks ago. These two weeks have been full of grace and peace. Yesterday I wrote my memorial to this dear man. I am working my way back to a normal routine that no longer includes a regular visit to his assisted living apartment. This poem is rich in the emotions that play through me as I think of him.

Next week, I hope to finish the story of Allison. Once started, I feel strongly that I need to complete this accounting. For myself and for anyone else who needs to hear this journey. Thanks for reading.

This was a Father's Day card I gave to my dad years ago. The inside message said: Dad, Next to your heart is still my favorite place to be!

He wrote a response on the facing page: I wish my heart was bigger, then I could be closer to you. H.

by: Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1836-1906)

     HELD his letter in my hand,
    And even while I read
    The lightning flashed across the land
    The word that he was dead.
    How strange it seemed! His living voice
    Was speaking from the page
    Those courteous phrases, tersely choice,
    Light-hearted, witty, sage.
    I wondered what it was that died!
    The man himself was here,
    His modesty, his scholar's pride,
    His soul serene and clear.
    These neither death nor time shall dim,
    Still this sad thing must be--
    Henceforth I may not speak to him,
    Though he can speak to me!


  1. Dori, this poem shares the sentiment so eloquently, doesn't it? I still find little notes from my mother & 'hear' her voice. Thank you for sharing, & as I said yesterday, so lovely to hear that your father wrote you back on those cards. What a gift he gave to you.

  2. There is such grace and truth in these lines:
    "These neither death nor time shall dim,
    Still this sad thing must be"
    There is comfort there and recognition of the grieving process.

  3. Dear Dori, so sorry for your loss. Having lost my parents years ago, I still grieve and hear them when I read little snippets from them. Beautiful poem.

  4. I'm sorry for both your losses, Dori. Thanks for giving us a window into your grieving and healing and coping process. I love that your Dad wrote a note back to you in that card. It speaks volumes about the kind of person he was.

  5. I'm sorry for your losses. I'm really touched by your father's note back to you in the card. So loving.

  6. Amazingly touching on all levels. Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us. Blessings.

  7. Dear Doraine - what sweetness, that card. Thinking of you as you continue to grieve. Love you, friend.