In Distress



Poems and prayers for  times of loss or bereavement


‘You were here,
and now you are not’

There is nothing to compare with the pain of death
You were here, and now you are not.
That’s all.

I search for you in old photographs, letters
things you touched
things that remind me of you,
but they cannot fill the space you occupied.

The space is in me too,
bleeding round the edges where you were torn away.
In the night, strange spaces haunt the space….
regret, fear, fury,
all the things we might have done,
all the unused dreams.

How can I go on with this hole inside me?
A partial person?
God, don’t let me fill the space with the wrong things.
Don’t let me cover it up
to eat me from within.
Give me courage to hold my emptiness,
to hold it gently
till the edges stop bleeding;
(will they? ever?)
till the darkness becomes friendly;
till I see some star at its heart;
till it becomes a fertile space,
growing new life within it.

If we had not loved you, we would not have wept.
This love you have given us;
this love we have carried
this love has carried us.
And I know that though I cannot see you, touch you, the love does not go away.



To the living I am gone
To the sorrowful, I will never return
To the angry, I was cheated
But to the happy, I am at peace
And to the faithful, I have never left
I cannot speak, but I can listen
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard
So as you stand upon the shore
Gazing at the beautiful sea, remember me
As you look in awe at a mighty forest
And its grand majesty, remember me
Remember me in your hearts,
In your thoughts, and the memories of the
Times we loved, the times we cried, the
Battle we fought and the times we laughed
For if you always think of me, I will
Have never gone.


She is Gone

You can shed tears that she is gone
or you can smile because she has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all she's left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see her
or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him/ her and only that she's gone
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
or you can do what she'd want: smile, open your eyes love and go on.

David Harkins