I didn't know a heart could die
before it stopped beating.
I didn't know a life could cease
before it stopped breathing.
I didn't know how devastation
could wend a living soul
I didn't know how death could make
one lose all self control.
I didn't know the pain of loss
was so intense and sharp.
I didn't know the depth of void
death leaves within the heart.
I didn't know how often tears
would redden hurting eyes.
I didn't know how hard it was
to say one's last good-bye's.
I didn't know that pain would come
and go as it well pleased.
I didn't know that joy is scarce
to those who are bereaved.
I didn't know that time would stop
and meaning cease to be.
I didn't know that friends would pray
but shy away from me.
I didn't know how difficult
to get the whole night through.
I didn't know the strength it took
for simple tasks to do.
I didn't know that as time pass
slowly, the pain subsides.
I didn't know what I thought was lost
still in my heart resides.
Now I know a little spark,
somehow in me remained.
Now I know that someway,
my life will be sustained.
Now I know the feelings felt,
were all a part of grief.
Now I know how fervent prayer
helped me to find relief.
So rest assured my unknown friends,
though healing comes real slow.
It actually does get better
for now, I truly know.
Yes I survived my loved one death
that occurred this time last year.
I feel the loss and always will
but the pain's much less severe.
Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. http://www.clergyservices4u.org She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: A Grief Healing Workbook, will be available soon.