In Grief, Take As Long a Road As You Need

A poem in the wake of tragedy

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Deborah McNamara

In grief:
Take as long
a road
as you need,
mingling with
heartbreaking
holy darkness
giving space
to each chasm
calling for tending.

When emerging,
coming up for breath
hold firm in keeping
light
alive and well,
find ways to live brightness
and love
in wake
of unimaginable heartlessness.

Do not succumb to pressure
to let go too soon,
but rather integrate:
a broken heart
held fast
in present moment,
shored up
on inner resources
to weather these storms.

Enter these hearts of darkness,
move through.
Travel with homage
through this portal,
still recognizing
abundant beauty
being offered up
in countless ways.
This seeing: a lifeboat
on which to cross the world.

Deborah McNamara is a climate campaigns director with 350 Colorado, a mother of three young boys in Boulder, and author of The Invitation of Motherhood: Uncovering the Spiritual Lessons of Parenting.