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My father and sister after Mother's burial

My father and sister after Mother’s grave

I’ve found it true for myself and for other people I know — that when we go through a period of grief and loss, the deep feelings that need expression may bubble to the surface in the form of poetry. This helps our hearts heal  and helps us minister to others in need of healing.

After my mother died, my dad started writing poetry. Losing Mother so young she was 48 was hard for me. But it was also devastating for my dad. Here’s a poem he wrote five months after Mother died. Maybe these lines will help someone going through their own deep grief and “dark night of the soul.”


Grief came to visit me one day
And soon I found he’d come to stay.
He lived with me both day and night
Through darkest gloom and in the light.
He lay his hand upon my heart,
To bring it pain and tear apart.
He cast a shadow on my mind,
He put my reason in a bind.
My inner pain was so severe,
I thought, Could this just last a year?
God send sweet comfort to my soul;
I bid my heart His love extoll.
But still old Grief to me held on,
I hoped in comfort he’d be gone.
Sweet friends poured in affection’s balm.
Still on me was his clammy palm.
He walked along the path with me,
Such dubious, doubtful company.
At meals he took my appetite
And slept with me alone at night.
I longed for love ~ could it dispel
This hold on me so much like hell?
But how could I find love again
With heart and soul and mind in pain?
Will he some day depart from me,
God’s Presence give tranquility?
When will I end my walk with Grief,
And find at last a sweet relief?
I asked God, and He said to me,
“I sent him, for it had to be
To bring you through the purging fire
So that your life can all inspire.”
I said, “O Lord, your way is best;
In your own time you’ll give me rest.”
~ © George Herbert Cummings