Uncover the Sun


Don’t hold it in too long,
that breath
that fear

Every worried thought
that sits inside

becomes a weight
than any virus

deep belly
to diaphragm

Round it out
like a baby

and finding
her feet
for the first time

Don’t hold anything
past one full
in and exhale

and breathe
right through loss
and love again

Uncover the Sun

Worth It


Rocks yearn

for the watery kiss

of ocean waves,

although that press

may eventually wear them down


Ask any bit of sand

if love was worth

shattering for

and that tiny smooth rubble

will smile under your feet


while it holds

families and picnics

and vacations

and dogs running like lovers

into the waves


The gritty sand

that was once rock

clings to feet, legs, hands,

hair, and thus travels

the world


to be brushed off by towels

and washed away

by hoses and showers

to go wherever

it may, still smiling


at how far love

has taken it,


and embraced it,

shattered and all

Uncover the Sun

Walk Through


Walk through

that open door of grief

and you may find

a softer heart

and a kindness of memory


Under the pain and sorrow

are images

of smiling faces

and moments of togetherness

that transcend time


Beneath the wrenching alone

are all of the ways

of connection and comfort,

the conversations between hearts

when they love


On days

when grief spills from the door

and overwhelms everything,

sit quietly and remember



When you walk through

that open door of grief,

you may find

a clear window

into forever

Uncover the Sun

Tell You


No one wants to tell you

it may always hurt,

your heart, pummeled by death

and swollen and bruised

by years of loss later


No one wants to tell you

that as you age

you will meet death suddenly

in hospital corridors

and on roadways


No one wants to tell you

that there will be other phone calls

that plunge your stomach down

and bend your knees

in disbelief


No one wants to tell you

that you’ve become part of a group

others don’t want to know,

those that have been seared

to the soul


No one wants to tell you

that time only blunts the pain

but does not remove it,

and that the missing doesn’t disappear,

only migrates


No one wants to tell you

that to be fully alive

you have to look death in the face

again and again, even your own,

until you no longer fear it


No one wants to tell you

that accepting

loss as a part of love

is what it truly means

to be human



Uncover the Sun

Past Any Season


Autumn is everything-colored

except black and white,

magenta, dark purple,

orange and red and gold,

every shade ever seen in gardens


If we were leaves

would we love each other

far past youthful green

into the fallen months

of rusty brown?


Would we remember each other

long after we lay

on mossy ground,

slowly darkening

into earth again?


Every autumn I picture you

playing in the fallen leaf piles,

throwing them sky high

and laughing

past any season


Uncover the Sun



For the dead,

we swallow past

the lump in our throats


We stand up to speak

in the face of those

whose misery matches ours


We struggle for words

to share our hearts

and our loss


Birth and death dates

are inscribed in newspaper articles

or etched on stone


to become part of a story

of a life that no one

wholly knows


Most of us only meet

in the middle, missing

the birth or maybe the final moment


And every day

and some day

each person here


will have to grieve

the dead or be grieved

by the living


Year after decade

we mourn

and remember


Our rituals for the dead

become love

honoring love

Uncover the Sun

The Third Death


The first death is the physical,

the shock of the person gone,

no longer there to hold

or see or hear,

all of their possessions

no longer theirs


The second death is the realization

that they will not be here

for the rest of your life;

at any occasion of family and friends,

through further losses and celebrations,

they will be missing


The third death

is how they disappear

from most conversation

into the realm of thought and feeling only,

as if being alive is a requirement

for inclusion


The third death

includes the awareness

that most of the living shun the dead

and that someday, we too

will be an occasional thought or feeling


Uncover the Sun

After Years

“It’s been two years and it’s still awful.” This from a fellow after his partner of over 35 years died. And he went on to say that people think he should, at the age of 86, “be better at getting over it by now.”

It may take years to process the trauma of losing a beloved, including the way the person died, how family members were notified, the behavior of family members, and other peripheral events. Initially, we may only be focused on the fact of death rather than the circumstances. Later, however, we may start to process how we were treated by others at the time, whether we felt like they were present for us and if we were allowed to be there for them. Given that shock tends to insulate us from reality, we might have delayed memories of events that only come to the fore years afterwards.

And those who treat us harshly or kindly during our most vulnerable moments have a huge impact. I will always remember how incredibly courageous one of my daughter’s friends was, to call me, someone he barely knew, to make sure I had been notified of her death. And her friends organized a memorial for her, helped us clean her apartment, and provided many hugs, songs, and stories to comfort us.

Mourners may believe they are through the worst of the grief, and then have it re-ignited years later from subsequent losses that bring up old traumas. Grief has a long memory. We may forget a few things, but our bodies do not. Mourning is an intense process that can impair our physical bodies and affect our mental health. Heart and throat issues, lung problems, and other ailments may be a direct result of loss that goes unacknowledged and unsupported.

I recently overheard a therapist say to a still grieving person, “But it’s been 5 years,” as if there is an expected expiration date for mourning. And that’s probably why so many of us do not grieve honestly and thoroughly. No one wants to hear that you are still sad years later, and may always be grieving in one form or another. Our friends and family members want us to be well. And everyone processes loss differently too, which may stress already shaky relationships.

There is a kind of grace that comes from honoring our losses, while still maintaining hope for the future. And that balance is the tricky part. Focusing only on grief without a break may lead to severe depression, while completely burying the grief in order to “move on,” plays havoc with our psyches. But even the most honest acknowledgement may not keep us from long term pain. Our bodies feel everything, particularly the deep ache of losing those we love most. And we have not only lost a person we loved, but also who we were with them; it feels as if a part of ourselves is gone as well.

Six years after my daughter’s death, I still have people tell me to “smile,” on days when grief is hitting me hard. I have moments of utter joy, and great sorrow. Some days my body hurts despite all of the support I receive. One bereft mom said it very well, “I still grieve deeply, but after four years I don’t share it with others as much. They really have moved on, and don’t want to hear that I haven’t, whatever the hell that means anyway. My son is gone, and I miss him every day of my life, and that’s just how it is. And sometimes no matter how much company you have, it’s a damn lonely business.”







Uncover the Sun

All Things


Death gives this gift,

the tender ache of knowing

we hold nothing forever


and the beauty in longing,

the exquisite grace

where you once were


opens in every new laugh in the sun,

the cherishment

of flowers and friends


Everything dissolves into tomorrow,

re-lived by memory,

loved infinitely


as all things fall to ground


Uncover the Sun



Gotta hand it to you mothers

you can clean up poop

and pee and barf and still smile

and love your kid like


like a miraculous flower

never knowing how it will bloom


You don’t feel like you’re “babysitting,”

or having to “watch the kid,”

no, no trying on a role for you

it’s the real deal

until death and even after,

that small body full

of every hope you ever had for the future


Your mothering hands soothe the heart,

your gaze sees every bit of kid,

every fault and crack line

and loves right into the abyss

and beyond,

you mothers

gotta hand it to you