So many of my friends and family are facing death these days. Our reactions vary widely based on what we experience in life, what beliefs we hold, and how willing we are to walk through the valley. This is a poem a friend of mine wrote as her mother was dying. It is one of the best expressions of going through stages of grief that I have ever read.

Elegy for a Damn Good Mother: an Explanation by DeMaris Gaunt

We all hated it
that mom had a closet full of clothes
with the tags still on
shoes never worn
a set of wedding China
unused in the cupboards
a diamond tennis bracelet
worn approximately once
a home built for entertaining
never filled with guests
drawers of blank stationery
that never got the chance
to deliver her hopes or wishes
into the lives of those she called friends—
and I would like to say
she loved you all so much
she thought it impossible
that hers was a life that could matter—
that could deserve the fortune at her feet—
and it was her humility
that kept her from believing
she was worthy of absolutely every good
and wonderous toy
to wear
or show off
or entertain with-
she never believed that anything
she had to say would matter
so she was quiet or silent or meek
and always uncertain how to act
or how not to cry
when something tugged even softly
at her heart—
and this is what I loved
despite her idiosyncrasies
and her irrational self doubt,
her timidity,
her innocence:
I loved her love.
She was aware of the way it seemed
she didn’t care—
if her invitation wasn’t in writing,
if a phone call went unreturned,
or if she backed out of the afternoon plan
with an ache in her head
she knew shy and insecure
could be mistaken for arrogant
or indifferent
but I promise you she was aware of,
and hated,
the disconnect between her head and heart
that made it so hard for her
to show the love she felt-
to overcome the anxiety that overwhelmed her
overtook her
smothered her
convinced her she never did anything close
to good enough.
But I am pleased to announce
with confidence, certainty and authority
she was wrong.