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Hurricane

It didn’t behave
like anything you had
ever imagined. The wind
tore at the trees, the rain
fell for days slant and hard.
The back of the hand
to everything. I watched
the trees bow and their leaves fall
and crawl back into the earth.
As though, that was that.
This was one hurricane
I lived through, the other one
was of a different sort, and
lasted longer. Then
I felt my own leaves giving up and
falling. The back of the hand to
everything. But listen now to what happened
to the actual trees;
toward the end of that summer, they
pushed new leaves from their stubbed limbs.
It was the wrong season, yes,
but they couldn’t stop. They
looked like telephone poles and didn’t
care. And after the leaves came
blossoms. For some things,
there are no wrong seasons.
Which is what I dream of for me.​

Still

The greatest gift I ever received by far is you
Not was, but Is

The proudest thing I’ve ever been is your Mom
“Is” is the key word again

The heartstrings hum louder today with the vibration of distance
as I prepare myself to witness the outside world
and the public celebration of Mother’s Day around me

Though mine is inward and quiet
Still I celebrate being a Mother
Still I am forever one, forever yours
No matter the distance

Still I celebrate
All the wonders of you
And all the joy you continue to fill my heart with

Being your Mother has been
and continues to be, a privilege

You are,
have always been,
and continue to Be
the greatest gift in my life

Always your presence remains
Falling gently on me like stardust
Forever brightening my heart within

Still

You are,
have always been,
and continue to Be
a miraculous ever-present force

Mother’s Day for me will always Be
loving and embracing all the wonders of You

Still

About the Author

Maria Sallese

Maria Sallese lost her 26-year-old son to suicide in 2019 and joined the Alliance of Hope forum shortly after. She finds hope and healing through writing and wishes to help others by sharing her words. Maria can be reached at: sallese.maria@gmail.comRead More »

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Hope

March is a month that now sings to me of Hope.

This evening we prepare to spring our clocks ahead and with it comes the promise of a brighter tomorrow.

As an early riser, I like to sit quietly and watch Nature lift her blinds as she welcomes the return of light.

This morning, even the birds seem to be reveling. There’s a chill in the air but my windows are open just enough to hear their song as they call to one another.

Do they know what tomorrow brings?

Certain things come to be forever stamped in time, and three years ago, March was a thief. I remember standing at my backdoor feeling broken and betrayed that the season dare change while I stood frozen.

Today I stand at that very same doorway, no longer betrayed by the return of Spring.

I now welcome her light and I’m hopeful.

About the Author

Maria Sallese

Maria Sallese lost her 26-year-old son to suicide in 2019 and joined the Alliance of Hope forum shortly after. She finds hope and healing through writing and wishes to help others by sharing her words. Maria can be reached at: sallese.maria@gmail.comRead More »

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Finding Hope in the Broken

I remember when the world broke in,
To rip apart my soul,
For years after that one event,
I thought myself not whole,
My hours were spent with trying,
To fix it up with tape and glue,
Until one day I discovered,
Everyone else was broken too,
Here we were with pieces,
Of ourselves in both our hands,
So fragile and so open,
That I began to understand,
Maybe I’d been greedy,
To want my soul all to myself,
When it could be a lot more helpful,
In the palms of someone else,
Now every time I go somewhere,
I leave a part of me behind,
And collect all of the pieces,
Of others’ souls that I can find,
So when I’m meeting someone new,
It’s not just me they get,
But also tiny fragments,
Of all the others that I’ve met,
And all my life’s become much bigger
Now that it’s home to things so small,
And if this is what “broken” means,
I do not mind at all.

– e. h

Gray with a Touch of Pink

    It’s an overcast morning and my mood feels very much the same.
    Pensive and reflective.
    Gray with a touch of pink.
    Certain Sunday mornings arrive heavy for no particular reason, full of familia.
    Rolling thunder in the distance, longings emerge with memories that always come with a tear and a smile.
    Gray with a touch of pink.
    I try not to let it be primary, but necessary it is, gray is a color that represents my grief.
    I’ve come to learn to sit with it. To learn from its hues and fades, always emerging a tad bit stronger.
    The gray leads way to blue and the pink that represents Hope always remains.
    Perhaps I’ll always be gray with a touch of pink, but pink is my primary.

    About the Author

    Maria Sallese

    Maria Sallese lost her 26-year-old son to suicide in 2019 and joined the Alliance of Hope forum shortly after. She finds hope and healing through writing and wishes to help others by sharing her words. Maria can be reached at: sallese.maria@gmail.comRead More »

    1 Comment on Gray with a Touch of Pink

    A Bereaved Thanksgiving

    It doesn’t seem to get any better – but it doesn’t seem to get any worse either.
    For that, I am thankful.

    There are no more pictures to be taken, but there are memories to be cherished. 
    For that, I am thankful.

    There is a missing chair at the table, but the circle of family gathers close. 
    For that, I am thankful.

    The turkey is smaller – but there is still stuffing. 
    For that, I am thankful.

    The days are shorter – but the nights are softer. 
    For that, I am thankful.

    The pain is still there – but it only lasts moments. 
    For that I am thankful.

    The calendar still turns – the holidays still appear – and they still cost too much – but I am still here.
    For that I am thankful.

    The room is still empty – the soul still aches – but the heart remembers.
    For that, I am thankful.

    The guests still come – the dishes pile up – but the dishwasher still works. 
    For that, I am thankful.

    The name is still missing – the words still unspoken – but the silence is shared.
    For that, I am thankful.

    The snow still falls – the sled still waits – and the spirit still wants to.
    For that, I am thankful.

    The stillness remains – but the sadness is smaller. 
    For that, I am thankful.

    The moment is gone – but the love is forever. 
    For that, I am blessed: for that I am grateful. 

    Love was once (and still is) – a part of my being. 
    For that, I am thankful.

    May your holidays be filled with reasons to be thankful. Having loved and having 
    been loved is perhaps the most wondrous reason of all. 

     

     

    The Beauty that Still Remains

    “I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” ~Anne Frank

    I often hang my hat on a quote. It’s the peg I choose and use to refresh my mindset for the day.

    I go for those that whisper hope and grant me courage to start each day anew. Such is this.

    It’s been over two years since my son, my only child, took his life.

    The years embedded, but the overflow months, no longer a reflex, require counting on my fingers.

    “I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”

    Grieving the loss of his physical presence, the hopes and dreams I carried for him present and future, that part has been a difficult climb. But I take the zig-zag trail now instead of the steepest route.

    There I can catch my breath.

    Along that gentler trail, he walks by my side. The tenderness of his heart resides in mine and his smile somehow shines brighter than before, radiating warmth and lighting my way.

    Not simply deep desires, these things are palpable.

    “I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”

    Longing remains . . . how could it not? But it’s not all misery.

    I do my best to avoid background noise and see deeper beauty in the quiet of simple things. Mostly nature.

    Mother Nature continues to be both Teacher and Healer.

    So strongly my son resides within, maybe he brings that clarity. I see for the two of us now.

    Perhaps it is my job, as his mom, to always seek and show him the beauty he somehow lost sight of.

    The beauty that still remains.

    The ties that bind . . . perhaps we show that beauty to each other.

    The Suicide’s Father – A Poem

    Baron Wormser, Former Poet Laureate of Maine.

    Everything has become a museum.
    Where I live is where I lived.
    My face in the mirror in the morning
    Was my face. I am here the way a chair
    Or painting is here. I have weight and
    A meaning I cannot possess.

    We walked to the war plaza, bought bags
    Of popcorn, watched the jugglers and mimes,
    Walked home through the lamp-lit twilight.
    It was a Sunday in early spring.

    What do you do when the past is
    No longer yours? I was a simple man.
    I thought it was something that could not
    Be taken away. I would have it
    For always.

    In those stances, excursions, mornings—
    Even in laughter—I see death.
    It is wrong but that is what I see.

    I have put my purposes in a burlap bag
    And thrown them in the river and watched
    Them sink. It did not take long.
    It is cold in that river and now when I walk
    I wander like a tramp or bored pensioner.
    People avoid me or banter courteously.

    You, my boy, are never mentioned.
    That is for the best. I have
    Committed a crime but am not sure
    What it was. It is a crime where there
    Are no police or reports or even lies.
    It is a crime of meals, presents,
    Postcards, worries, lullabies.

    There was the time you asked for money,
    The time I didn’t hear from you for months.
    But we have those times and live.
    We come around. We walk through a door
    Into the right, welcoming room.

    I spoke gladly concerning you:
    My son this, my son that.
    My son built little, wooden airplanes
    That really flew. I was proud. Like the mime who
    Could not open an imagined door, you frowned.

    You were in the river for days
    Before they found what they said was you.
    I had to say it too.
    On what was a hand was a ring.

    What was there before this
    To think twice about?
    Everything. Everything

    “I am Alive” Dan Pallotta’s 2002 Out of the Darkness Speech

    “I may have lost my brother, my sister, my parent, my child, my friend, my spouse, my partner … but I am alive.

    I am a survivor of the dark night of unspeakable loss, of my own darkness … and I am alive.

    I am unwilling to stand idly by and allow shame to defeat love or silence to defeat action. I stand for the enlightenment of a society that would hide from suicide … and I am alive.

    I am unwilling for my perseverance to be in vain. Unwilling for the passing of my loved one to be in shame. I loved them more than I loved myself and their life will have meaning in my action. I am alive.

    In a world blinded by the pursuit of pleasure, I am here to say that people are in pain. In a world rushing to get ahead, I am here to say that people are being left behind. In a world obsessed with the value of the market, I am here to speak for the value of life … and I’m alive.

    This will be no quiet fight.

    I am the voice of audacity in the face of apathy.

    I am the spirit of bravery in a world of caution.

    I am a commitment of action in the face of neutrality.

    I am into the light and I am alive.”

    The Winter of Our Grief

    Hello all. I just thought I would share a page out of a book I’m reading that has helped me tremendously. Yes…I’m actually reading in small increments. It’s a start!

    I hope it helps someone else as it has me. A dear friend mailed it to me and I am forever thankful as I have read half the book in two sittings. Hugs to this amazing unselfish and caring warrior. I don’t think she realizes the gift was far more than just a book.

    The book is titled Winter Grief, Summer Grace. This page is under the Winter section:

    • “The winter of your grief is a time to do what is best for you: a time to be – just to be.
    • A part of you may wish to push ahead.
    • Winter says, “Take your time.”
    • A part of you may wish to get this over with as quickly as possible.
    • Winter says, “Be patient.”
    • Something within you may want to escape.
    • Winter says, “This is what you need right now.”
    • This time offers an opportunity to do what you may not often do,,,
    • Sit and be quiet,
    • Walk and be aware,
    • Write or talk and be reflective.
    • You can spend time with yourself and make a close, close friend.
    • You can immerse yourself in the stillness and let it inform you.
    • You can open your eyes to the starkness that is all around you and find unusual beauty.
    • You can use this time of barrenness to begin your healing.” ~James E. Miller

    Grief is uncomfortable, but it demands to be felt. We can choose to deal with it or avoid it, but I have found that eventually, it will knock on our door. To truly heal from grief, we must walk through it and not around it. I always tell myself, “It’s OK to visit grief, just don’t move in.”

    I hope what each of us takes from this is to allow ourselves a time of Winter in hopes that Spring will follow. We all deserve peace and healing. Our loved ones surely want this for us all. Sending warm hugs and wishing you all a peaceful night’s rest.

    About the Author

    Wisdom From Our Community

    "Wisdom From Our Community" posts originally appeared on the Alliance of Hope Forum for Suicide Loss Survivors and are reprinted with the permission of the authors. Our online forum transcends time and distance, offering a culture of kindness, hope, and understanding to people who have lost loved ones to suicide. Operating like a 24/7 support group, our forum is supervised by a mental health professional and moderated by a trained team of loss survivors. Members can read and comment, share their stories, and connect with other suicide loss survivors.Read More »

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    ‘Twas the Night before Christmas – For Bereaved Parents

    ‘Twas the month before Christmas and I dreaded the days,

    That I knew I was facing -the holiday craze.

    The stores were all filled with holiday lights,

    In hopes of drawing customers by day and by night.

     

    As others were making their holiday plans,

    My heart was breaking – I couldn’t understand.

    I had lost my dear child a few years before,

    And I knew what my holiday had in store.

     

    When out of nowhere, there arose such a sound,

    I sprang to my feet and was looking around,

    Away to the window I flew like a flash,

    Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash

     

    The sight that I saw took my breath away,

    And my tears turned to smiles in the light of the day.

    When what to my wondering eyes should appear,

    But a cluster of butterflies fluttering near.

    With beauty and grace they performed a dance,

    I knew in a moment this wasn’t by chance.

     

    The hope that they gave me was a sign from above,

    That my child was still near me and that I was loved.

    The message they brought was my holiday gift,

    And I cried when I saw them in spite of myself.

     

    As I knelt closer to get a better view,

    One allowed me to pet it – as if it knew –

    That I needed the touch of its fragile wings,

    To help me get through the holiday scene.

     

    In the days that followed I carried the thought,

    Of the message the butterflies left in my heart –

    That no matter what happens or what days lie ahead,

    Our children are with us – they’re not really dead.

     

    Yes, the message of the butterflies still rings in my ears,

    A message of hope – a message so dear.

    And I imagined they sang as they flew out of sight,

    “To all bereaved parents – We love you tonight!”

    When Despair Grows in Me

    When despair grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

    I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting for their light. For a time, I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

    Note to Self and for Those Who Need to Read This Today!

    “You will not always hurt like this.”
    These words are true.
    If they do not reach your heart today,
    do not reject them:
    keep them in your mind.
    One morning – not tomorrow perhaps,
    but the day after tomorrow,
    or the month after next month.
    One morning, the dawn will wake you
    with the inconceivable surprise:
    Your grief will have lost
    one small moment in its force.
    Be ready for the time
    when you can feel for yourself
    that these words are true:
    You will not always hurt like this.

    About the Author

    Wisdom From Our Community

    "Wisdom From Our Community" posts originally appeared on the Alliance of Hope Forum for Suicide Loss Survivors and are reprinted with the permission of the authors. Our online forum transcends time and distance, offering a culture of kindness, hope, and understanding to people who have lost loved ones to suicide. Operating like a 24/7 support group, our forum is supervised by a mental health professional and moderated by a trained team of loss survivors. Members can read and comment, share their stories, and connect with other suicide loss survivors.Read More »

    Leave a Comment on Note to Self and for Those Who Need to Read This Today!

    If I Could Have Just One More Day with You

    I would shower you with kisses.

    Walk hand in hand to the beach

    And tell you over and over again

    How much I love you

    How much we all love you

    How much we need you in our lives

    How so very important you are

    How you’re our son’s favorite superhero

    How you’re in my every waking thought

    And the thought of life without you undoes me

    How much your son needs you to grow up and be a man–a good man like you

    How the world became terrible when you left

    How I have to learn to breathe again and I don’t want to

    How sorry I am that I never told you enough of this when you were here

    How broken we all are

    How much I will love you forever

    And every day I wake up

    I’m a bit older

    And closer to the day

    We will meet again

    And I will kiss you with tears streaming and wait impatiently for that day

    And that’s when I will stop crying

    And stop missing you

    That moment I take my final breath.

     

    Forever my husband and Jesse’s Daddy