It’s Not the Weight You Carry, But How You Carry It!

I gave a eulogy this past weekend at a memorial service and read the poem Heavy, by noted poet Mary Oliver. Oliver’s poem shares how we experience grief, and how we survive grief. The poem was written after her long-time partner died. She shared her grief with each and every one of us who reads the poem. Oliver gives us the unspoken secrets of the grief journey and shows us that we can emerge triumphant.



That time

I thought I could not

go any close to death without dying

I went closer,

and I did not die.

Surely God

had his hand in this,

as well as friends.

Still I was bent,and my laughter,

as the poet said,

was nowhere to be found.

Then, said my friend Daniel

(brave even among lions),

“It is not the weight you carry

but how you carry it

books, bricks, grief-

It’s all in the way

you embrace it, balance it carry it.

When you could not, and would not,

put it down”

So I went practicing

Have you noticed?

Have you heard the laughter

that comes, now and again,

out of my startled mouth?

How I linger to admire, admire

the things of this world

that are kind and maybe

also troubled-

roses in the wind.

The sea geese on the steep waves,

A love

to which there is no reply

I read this poem and just sat with her clarity about the grief journey. I thought about how poetry allows us to share our deepest vulnerabilities in a way that others will comprehend. It gives us the tools to express the depths of our emotions when facing adversity. It doesn’t matter how you express yourself, the act of ultimate self-expression is what counts. It’s one thing that will release you from the ties that bind. It will release you to explore all your emotions and share those experiences with the Universe.

How do you creatively express your vulnerabilities? Let’s start a conversation in the comment section below.

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