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Of Mourning Tides: A Poem on Grief

Updated on February 20, 2019
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Poetry is one of Lori's favorite ways to share memories, to express feelings, and share what inspires her, so others might be inspired.


Many describe grief as coming in waves in varying intensities. There are several stages of grief, and you go in and out of them. One of my favorite quotes on grief is by Earl Grollman:

"Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve."

Although grief can be so intense you don't know if you can survive it, it is a gift to mankind. It's a gift that hurts, but it hurts because you loved so deeply. God, Himself grieves.

One thing that is most true, is that if we turn to God in our grief we will find comfort in the midst of the pain. I have a friend who lost her teenage son in a car accident when he was sixteen. Naturally, losing a child is the most devastating thing a parent can go through. She tells people how during the immediate shock and first year or so of grieving that she felt as though God were holding her hand. He held her hand when grief washed over her like a tsunami. Now, more than thirty years later, she tells the story of those first terrible months and years and testifies to a tenderhearted Father who walked her through it. It shows in how much she loves God.

I wrote this poem based not only on how grief has been for me but how many others describe it. Perhaps it will resonate with you.


Of Mourning Tides

Mourning tides rush in,

churning the white foam of grief.

Following, it is suctioned back

into the body of the sea

where it diminishes

into tolerable swells.

Lambasted back to shore

as a tsunami,

it crushes me against

jagged rocks-

gouging, gashing, shredding, bleeding.

I am drowning, bereft,

seized with despair.

My world goes dark;

I am ready

for forgetfulness.

A siphon of great force

Inhales me back into

the sea and light.

I am afloat

on a debris-laden ocean,

numb but alive.

I inhale the saline air,

strengthening for the next

surge of sorrow.

Adrift on the gentle current

of normalcy,

on my back,

eyes and toes pointed

toward soaring gulls

that keen and cry,

we anguish in concert.

The ebb and flow of grief

is without cadence,

unpredictable in volume and power;

one day a riptide;

another a whirlpool;

yet another, serene glass,

golden in the sunrise.

Sometimes it resides

in small tide pools

teeming with tender memories,

fusing sorrow and new mercies

to sustain me.

© 2016 Lori Colbo. All rights reserved.


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