“Be strong,” someone said
To a person dealing
With the loss of a loved one

What crock of dung
How can we be expected
To be strong
When the weight of grief
Has pressed our nerves
Into little pools of sadness that
Look for a way
To ease from our minds
The hurt of loss

The old way of tucking stuff away
Instead of honoring the pain
Without any recognition
Is long gone.
Pain is there for a reason.
Grieving is connected to pain for a reason.
Reasons that are hard to understand
If they are denied
By “being strong”

The strength is in the resolve,
Giving tragedy its due,
Forsaking the fear, and
Acknowledging the hurt accompanying death.
By having moments of sadness
When something as simple as a shirt in the closet
Can bring the blessed fortune of catharsis
To the surface, allowing
Our tears to flow
In remembrance
Of a soul too quickly taken,
Is how life should be for the living,
Those tears,
Those feelings,
Those emotions,
All true expressions of our love

How perfect that is.

Strong is calling on the emotions
To have their say and
Embracing their message,
However difficult,
Without fear or apology
For these feelings should happen

Be strong your way, Karen.

Rest for a moment
Words of war
Make wounds, not peace
Take time in your grief
For striking under a temper’s heat
Cannot soothe the coldness
Of an unnecessary death

Endure hardship
With honor and pride
Risk change with caution
Armored only with your values
To protect against the trouble and grief
That must be managed


Defend against them
Stay to true to what is right