Friday, May 14, 2010


Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I have been blessed with some wonderful women in my life.

One of them was my grandmother. So I was very sad to attend her funeral yesterday, although there is some comfort in the fact that she lived 92 wonderful years and died peacefully in her sleep.

The funny thing about funerals is how you can feel devastated one minute, and joyous the next. This funeral gave our family an excuse to gather: for the first time in at least a dozen years, all five of us kids were in one place WITH both parents also in attendance.

And it was great to catch up with everyone and share stories and memories. Even though all of us hated the fact that Granddaddy was in the hospital and unable to attend his wife's funeral. They were married 69 years!! Can you imagine? Please keep him in your thoughts as he has surgery today to repair a fractured hip and wrist.

I learned more about love from those two than just about anyone. And while my own parents' relationship was a bit chaotic, there was always Grandma and Granddaddy, loving each other in the house they built with their own hands in the small, coastal town of Port St. Joe, Florida.

Grandma was probably my biggest fan. And she was responsible for putting many a book in my hands -- she also took me many times to the Port St. Joe Library. And she read with great enthusiasm and joy pretty much everything I wrote.

Yesterday at the funeral, I read a poem I wrote. And afterwards, a woman came up to me and said, "You looked just like your grandmother when you stood up to read that poem. She was so proud of you."

I hugged her and thanked her for that comment. She is with me now, and always will be.

And now I'd like to share the poem I read. It's fresh, far from complete, but for those of you who have lost someone they love, I offer it to you and hope it brings some comfort.

To the Mourners

Remember: the heart cannot
comprehend endings. You must
walk the path to the ocean,
lift a smooth stone and bend
to examine the shape
left in sand, watch it fill

with water. It isn’t a question
of faith. Things will change.
Walk along the dunes, find
an open caterpillar casing,
a just-born butterfly
fluttering its wings
in this overwhelming world

of light. Then, a spider’s web –
sticky, empty threads a miracle
not to the spider, or the fly,
but to those who grieve.

Every end is a beginning.
A you gather seashells
and sea glass, listen for
that grace-filled moment
after the last bird call
but before the crickets.

Be patient with yourself.
As the sun dips below the waves,
the sky billowing pink and gold
and purple -- rejoice
in what was
and the simple beauty
of what comes after.

- Irene Latham

For other poems, round up is at Alphabet Soup.


  1. So sorry to hear of your loss. What a lovely testament to your grandmother!

  2. This is lovely, Irene. I like the line break between "this overwhelming world" and "of light." I'm so sorry for your loss. Yes, be patient with yourself and grieve well, friend.

  3. This was a very touching post. Sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your beautiful poem. The line about the empty spider web really struck me.

  4. Irene, like the funeral you mention, this post swung between grief and joy. I'm so sorry you lost your biggest fan, even though I know, too, she remains with you. I'm glad others see something of her in you. And could tell you of her pride in you.

    The poem is wonderful. I especially like:
    t isn’t a question
    of faith. Things will change.

  5. So sorry to hear of your grandmother's death. Losing loved ones is never easy but the ache in your heart will ease and eventually go away. All the wonderful memories, however, will remain. Grieve gently, sweet lady, and know you have support in the writers' community!

  6. rejoice that your grandmother lives on in wonderful memories and in people that love her. She sounded like a person that lived.

  7. Your beautiful poem has brought me to tears! She must have been wonderful to inspire such a thing of beauty. So sorry for your loss.

  8. What a beautiful post, Irene. Thank you for sharing such wonderful memories and poetry about your grandmother with us. Prayers and condolences to you.

  9. I love that picture. I love this poem. Thanks for sharing it with us and I'm SO sorry about your loss, hon.

  10. What a beautiful tribute, and what a blessing to have her in your life--still.

    Lovely poem--that billowing sky made me catch my breath.


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