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Poem for Those Who Have Experienced Loss During the Past Year

February 24, 2021

IMPORTANT NOTE:  For the first time since initiating this blog on January 19, 2013, I am introducing a post with a warning to my WORDWALK readers.  The following poem is highly filled with emotions that may cause some readers to be very emotional.  Please understand that the fictional–yes, fictional–poem, although realistic in numerous ways, is a writing of my creation and imagination–with all due respect to those who may have endured or encountered similar experiences.  Since writing this two-part poem in letter (epistolary) form on January 14, 2021, I have debated whether to share this poem on my blog or elsewhere.  On January 21, I shared the poem with my longstanding critique group who did encourage me to post the piece on my blog for more people–especially those who have experienced the loss of a loved one or friend during the past twelve months–to read.  On February 8, I presented at a Readers’ Workshop, a reading of only the second letter of the poem.  With our nation’s soon marking the span of one year of this COVID Era, I decided to post the “Epistolary Prayer” on this final post of February. 

                While the first part or first letter by the character of the daughter presents the problem addressed in the poem, the second letter from the character of the mother is positive and uplifting.  If you wish, you may read only the second letter by reading what follows the second set of three asterisks.  If better for you, read the following only in the morning or afternoon, or when you are with someone.  On the other hand, you may just wish to return to WORDWALK next week when I begin my traditional month of celebrating another year of working with Leader Dogs:  my 31st anniversary of working with Leader Dogs will be marked with each post of the month of March.

* * *

Epistolary Prayer Debate of Our Times

Fictional Poem by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

Dear editor,


Dear Governor,

Dear State Senator,

Dear God,

No one should be disallowed

from holding the hand of a loved one

at one’s dying hour.

I beg you:

please pass the “Dying Hand Bill,”



because even today is too late

for some,

for too many,

for my mother.

Whether this bill allows a gloved or ungloved hand,

you must pass this bill

for all who are loved.

My mask may hide my feelings in public;

but my heart will forever bleed

upon this page

for I will be forever haunted, haunted

by my mother’s being forced

to die alone–

alone, alone–

no one to hold her hand.

Now, alone, alone, I will carry this tragic imprint

on my heart

for all of my remaining tearful,

grieving days.

With grave concern,

Crying Resident in Milwaukee

* * *

Dear editor,

Dear daughter,

God bless my daughter,

for she is good;

and despite the tone of her voice and pen,

she means well.

I am well,

but  just so far away;

yet you will be surprised by the times

I have been so near to you,

my daughter.

Do not let the thoughts of that night

haunt you.

I believe–

yes, I believe

that someone did hold my ungloved hand

that night.

In the velvet darkness of that night

came a soft, expanding golden light.

Then, at my dying hour,

I felt the gentle breeze

of angels’ wings around me.

With strength I thought I did not have,

I moved my hand from under three heavy blankets

and reached out

to hold

and be comforted by

what I believe–

yes, what I believe

was the glorious hand

of God.

In the palm of His hand,

I felt your love and presence,

I saw your smiling face

and a photo album

of all my happy times on Earth.

You thought you were not with me,

but I assure you

that at my dying hour,

I was with you.

Please do not let your heart grieve so;

stop crying yourself to sleep each night.

I am with you always.

The other day,

when you felt,

in your gloved hands,

the snow-covered hydrangea,

I was there.

Of course,

dearest daughter,

I am for the passage of the bill;

but you must come to terms with my passage

and be blessed

by understanding

I was not alone.

I believe–

Yes, I believe

I was not alone:

now, you,

my beloved daughter,

must believe.

From the snow-covered

Wings of Love,

your grateful mother

* * *

NOTE:  While the sentiments of this poem are heartfelt and filled my eyes with tears as I wrote the poem and practiced reading it for presentation, I emphasize that this poem is fictional, but truly hope that it will bring a touch of peace to someone who may need to be comforted today. 

With sincere sympathy to all who have experienced loss of a loved one or friend during this past year,

Alice and Willow

February 24, 2021, Wednesday


From → Uncategorized

  1. Susan M McKendry permalink

    Alice, I don’t know what to say except “thank you.” I was lucky enough to be with my father when he died in a nursing home, and 10 years later with my mother when she died here in our home. Since they were both in a coma-like state, I’m not sure if they were even aware of my presence, but I still have feelings of peace and gratitude knowing how they were at last free of all pain and confusion. The second poem sums it up; when we can’t be there or do anything, there is a presence that will take our place and help our loved one on that last journey.

    • Sue–I do appreciate your sharing your thoughts on this “last journey” topic.

          On a much happier note, I hope you enjoy the weekend.

      Take care–Alice and Willow

  2. Carole permalink

    This poem may be fictional, but is quite realistic, moving, and meaningful for those of us who have experienced these sad circumstances–Covid-related or death in general. I will never forget the sharp pain I felt in my left hand that awoke me during the night of my mother’s passing, right before we received the call. I believe this sensory feeling was relative, so thank you, Alice, for creating another perspective of what we eventually must face.

    My “like” is for the opportunity to be with family and friends regarding the “Dying Hand Bill,” which in reality would have forever comforted our next-door neighbor last April during the restrictive months of this horrible pandemic.

    • Hello, Carole–Warm thanks to you for sharing your personal stories and comments on my epistolary poem.  Also, I appreciate your giving the post a “like.”

      Blessings always to you, Tim, and your family–Bebe, too!

      Alice and Willow

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