IN THE SHADOW OF MY DESPAIR
You have no idea just how I feel
unless you're in my shoes
no way you can comprehend
the depth of sorrow in my blues.
The shock carried me away
when my son first died
a cloud like calm enveloped me
as friends hugged me and we cried.
They then felt the bitter pain
putting themselves in my place
envisioning the loss of their child
as they gazed upon his face.
They at once realized how vulnerable
one can truly be
how painful that reality
was brought clear for them to see.
To see such a beautiful child
laying cold and lifeless in his funeral bier
strikes terror in any parents' heart
that their child could too expire.
Uncomfortable people don't know what to say
so you hear, "if there is anything that I can do..."
feeling helpless in a situation
so difficult to get through.
So many people often exclaim,
"I don't know how you do it,
I love my children so awfully much
there is no way I could get through it."
My God! Does this mean because I am calm,
I love my children less?
How else could I handle it,
under such great duress.
God grants us a little time
a short period that we are numb with shock
to attend to funeral arrangements
and the ability to even talk.
It is when the wake is over
the funeral said and done
the graveside interment finished
or the ashes scattered in the sun.
These acts of life's finality
start to erode the facade of calm
and the reality of my great loss
breaks down God's numbing balm.
It is said that grief takes time
at least two years most experts agree
before a semblance of normalcy
will start to return to me.
At times I feel quite normal
in fact almost good
and then the boom is lowered
as I expected that it would.
Intense pain then returns
and racks my very soul
depression I have never known before
starts to take its toll.
The real world fades away...
people talk and are not heard
apathy surrounds my being
it's difficult to utter a word.
Tears flow in a sudden flood
with deep convulsive groans
wails of torment escape my throat
that vibrates from my bones.
As an exhausted shell of myself
I feel washed out and spent
the intensity diminishing
from this scenario of my lament.
I slowly then recover
and feeling better in part
it seems a great weight has been lifted
temporarily from my heart.
It is these intense feelings
other people do not perceive
not realizing the profundity of pain
that each day I do receive.
Their lives go on as before
with a modicum of change
their petty priorities seem unimportant
that in their lives they do arrange.
I have a lowered tolerance
for trivial problems that people exclaim
no time for their trifling complaints
or who won the baseball game.
I understand that it is my perception
it is no fault of their own
but I cannot help the way I'm feeling
caught in this "grieving zone".
I wonder how long it will take
before I lose a friend
because of my intolerable moods
that could put a friendship to end.
I think that friends that truly care
will always be by my side
and in the shadow of my despair
their love will still reside.
It may take several years
before I can stand tall again
and I will thank God for the loving arms
of the people I still call a friend.
Printed with permission from the author, Mitch Carmody.
I would like to recommend a book to help bereaved parents through their grief. The book is titled "Letters To My
Son". It is a very touching story about a father's journey through grief after the death of his son. The poem above came from
After reading this book, I felt some validation to my own grief. I realized that some of the emotions that I am
going through are 'normal', and you must give yourself 'permission' to grieve.
If you would like to order a copy of this book, you may order it directly from the author.
Heartlight Studios Inc.
14765 70th Street South
Hastings, Minnesota 55033
The cost of the book is $14.95 plus shipping.
Phone number: 651-436-3658