“Loved and lost” is an interesting concept to me, considering that I surely continue to love those who are no longer here as they once were. And what it truly means to be lost, I am still not sure. In any case, this poem was written in honor of someone I still love, and I wrote it in a way that it may serve you and the ones you still love too.
“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.” — Rumi
There are times when all I can do is think of the ones I love who are no longer here with me like they were once before.
The times that really stick with me, though, are the times when I stop thinking about the past and the future, and the lack I may feel in between, and simply feel. Only feel. I just feel my presence mingle with theirs, and I know something in my heart that my head will never quite understand.
The poem I penned today is a tribute to my brother, Mark; today is his birthday. His life is the whole reason Aim Happy exists. Everything here is dedicated to him, and also to everyone who reads.
This poem is dedicated to life, and more of it than we may be used to or familiar with.“The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief — But the pain of grief is only a shadow when compared with the pain of never risking love.” — Hilary Stanton Zunin tweet this
Sometimes, a string of words floats through my head when I’m still enough, and it comes with such speed and clarity that I dare to say it wasn’t me who thought the thought. I can’t say with certainty where the thought came from, but it’s always a loving sensation that follows.
One uneventful evening as I lay in bed, the phrase “Death does not hold us down” swept through me and filled me with tears. “Where did that come from?” I thought. But in my heart, it was reassurance that, somehow, all is well.
The phrase sparked this poem. As I do my best to hold on to hope—but not too tightly—I just get the sense that the love isn’t going away and that, deep down, I am the one being held. There’s still pain, but also a lightness that sweeps through if I’m still enough inside.
A Tribute Poem for Those We Have Loved and Lost
Silent and bold
Were the words you spoke
When you told me that
What it seems to be.
Still, I miss you.
I love you.
I want you here.
Maybe, you are here—
In another way,
Somehow more real than ever before.
Maybe, you’re more.
Still, I hurt inside.
I still cry.
I still wish you were here
Like you were before.
I live for you and
I honor you and
I’ll carry you with me
Until this grief subsides for good and
Until we’re together again,
As similar as we were before—
This time, maybe again, closer than we
Ever were before the earth.
I wonder if you’re lighter now,
Not held down by the weights I can’t remember
No gravity, past or future to
Hold you down.
I wonder how beautiful you are still;
Then I feel you here with me, and
I don’t need to wonder anymore.
“Death does not hold us down,”
You said to me.
Maybe, you found more.
You’re the only thing I carry that
Makes me feel lighter.
What do you think of how I’ve done
Since you’ve gone?
Has your heart smiled when
Mine broke free?
Is it you who sent the rain when
I broke down and slammed the door?
I’m sorry for having run away at first;
I feel that you understand.
I’m learning to stay now.
I’m learning to find my way.
And I’ll never forget you.
I’ll always breathe life with you.
As long as I have a past and a future,
With my heart, you’ll stay,
And when there’s nothing left to carry
I will not be afraid,
For you will be there too.
Until then, dear friend,
In my presence, I will rise to
Meet you as we both are.
I’ll do my best to see you with my heart so
I can drop the weight and fly
With you for a while.
And when I have to come back down to earth,
I’ll carry you as lightly as I can.
I’ll try to remember that
Until what I thought was the end,
I’m the one who is being carried.
What helps you walk the world with love and light, even when you’re familiar with the dark?
Share your favorite verse or sentiments from this poem, how you honor someone you have loved and lost (and continue to love and hold), and any stories or words of love with me in the comments.
Share this poem with a friend who might understand and appreciate the message.
Don’t forget that your life, while you are here as you are, is for living.
With all my love,
P.S. Happy birthday, Marky. Thank for “telling me” to write poems again.