In October 2019 Ted and I flew to join Siobhan. We desired to support her in her grief. We walked the beaches together. Four months earlier, her eldest son, Saren, who was 22 years old died in a freak accident in the mountains, doing what he loved.
Little did we know.
Three months later, our youngest son, 30 years old, was killed by a bullet. A freak accident, while hunting with friends, doing what he loved. This time she flew to support me in my grief. Geordie.
Little did we know.
Then, less than two months later, the pandemic sent us into isolation. In the isolation of the pandemic, she wrote. Today, her poetry is published. Unobservable: Poems of Grief and Grace. Inside the cover: Dedicated to Saren.
I flip open the book, and I see my name. She wrote about us. She wrote about learning to speak “his” name. She wrote this for me.
Writing can be a healing way to adapt to our losses, to grieve.
Poetry can communicate with power what cannot be expressed in narrative writing.
This book of poetry follows some of Siobhan’s journey, but it speaks to me of my journey. Can you relate?
Over the past few years, I participated in an online support group for parents who had experienced the death of an adult child. One of the themes that was often spoken of was the difficulty when people did not understand the pain of the person who was grieving. The wisdom that was shared by the parents was something like, “how nice that they have not experienced the death of a child, and therefore, do not understand”.
In this next poem, Siobhan writes of the time in her life, and the time in others’ lives, when the heart is “intact” and when understanding is not there.
On finding a poem that might fit for you
A while ago, I received a message from my dear friend, Antoinette Oberg, a writer, educator, researcher, and person with great heart. She describes picking up a book of poetry, she writes, “and, without reading a table of contents, I open to exactly the poem that is most meaningful to me, and that I know I am intended to read.”
I wonder if you might find the poem that is most meaningful to you.
And if poetry does not speak to you… next month I am going to share one of my favourites, delightful, easy reads, full of wisdom, insights, love and joy.
Connect with Siobhan at siobhanwestrop.poetry on Instagram