Funeral Poems & Readings

How We Survive

A funeral poem for comfort during unsettling times

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How We Survive

If we are fortunate,

we are given a warning.

If not,

there is only the sudden horror,

the wrench of being torn apart;

of being reminded

that nothing is permanent,

not even the ones we love,

the ones our lives revolve around.

Life is a fragile affair.

We are all dancing

on the edge of a precipice,

a dizzying cliff so high

we can’t see the bottom.

One by one,

we lose those we love most

into the dark ravine.

So we must cherish them

without reservation.

Now.

Today.

This minute.

We will lose them

or they will lose us

someday.

This is certain.

There is no time for bickering.

And their loss

will leave a great pit in our hearts;

a pit we struggle to avoid

during the day

and fall into at night.

Some,

unable to accept this loss,

unable to determine

the worth of life without them,

jump into that black pit

spiritually or physically,

hoping to find them there.

And some survive

the shock,

the denial,

the horror,

the bargaining,

the barren, empty aching,

the unanswered prayers,

the sleepless nights

when their breath is crushed

under the weight of silence

and all that it means.

Somehow, some survive all that and,

like a flower opening after a storm,

they slowly begin to remember

the one they lost

in a different way…

The laughter,

the irrepressible spirit,

the generous heart,

the way their smile made them feel,

the encouragement they gave

even as their own dreams were dying.

And in time, they fill the pit

with other memories

the only memories that really matter.

We will still cry.

We will always cry.

But with loving reflection

more than hopeless longing.

And that is how we survive.

That is how the story should end.

That is how they would want it to be.

Mark Rickerby
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