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Recently Deceased

FOR GRIEF - John O'Donohue

When you lose someone you love,
your life becomes strange,

the ground beneath you becomes fragile,
your thoughts make your eyes unsure;
and some dead echo drags your voice down
where words have no confidence.

Your heart has grown heavy with loss;
and though this loss has wounded others too,
no one knows what has been taken from you
when the silence of absence  deepens.

Flickers of guilt kindle regret
for all that was left unsaid or undone.

There are days when you wake up happy;
again inside the fullness of life,
until the moment breaks
and you are thrown back
onto the black tide of loss.

Days when you have your heart back,
you are able to function well
until in the middle of work or encounter,
suddenly with no warning,
you are ambushed by grief.

It becomes hard to trust yourself.
All you can depend on now is that
sorrow will remain faithful to itself.

More than you, it knows its way
and you will find the right time
to pull and pull the rope of grief
until that coiled hill of tears
has reduced to its last drop.

Gradually you will learn acquaintance
with the invisible form of your departed;
and when the work of grief is done,
the wound of loss will heal
and you will have learned
to wean your eyes
from that gap in the air
and be able to enter the hearth
in your soul where your loved one
has awaited your return
all the time.


John O'Donohue was an Irish poet and philosopher who lived in the West of Ireland and spoke Gaelic as his native language. He passed away unexpectedly and peacefully in his sleep in the night of January 3, 2008. aged 52. On Saturday, January 12 2008, he was laid to rest in Fanore, County Clare, Ireland with nearly 500 friends, family and fans in attendance.




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