Tomorrow is my brother’s birthday. He died in a car accident in 1997, a few weeks after his 20th birthday. I miss him very much still. I was only 22 myself, and it took me many, many years to even begin to come to terms with his death; I didn’t handle it well at all. Finally, just a few years ago, I made the long overdue decision to focus his birthday each year, rather than on the anniversary of his death, which is later this month. I don’t dwell on the pain any longer; it’s still enough to make me catch my breath around this time even after so many years, but it doesn’t ravage me as it once did. I remember instead his smile and feel so grateful that shortly before he died we were able to spend some very special times together. I think about the good stuff. I’m grateful that I had his love for the time that I had it.
I wanted to share this poem here today because it might help someone else as it has helped me. I found it in the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami memorial garden on Koh Phi Phi, Thailand, in 2009.
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you wake in the morning hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there, I did not die.
I came across this quote today in a new post from Slow Your Home, a site I’ve only recently started subscribing to. It comes at the right moment for me, as although this is a wonderful time for us as we await the imminent arrival of our baby girl, it is also a very difficult and heartbreaking period as we are simultaneously dealing with the prospect of a bereavement within our close family overseas. Recent weeks have been some of the most difficult I have ever encountered, as there have been so many arguments and conflicting emotions, along with heavy responsibilities to shoulder. Sometimes it is hard to see any light or come to any understanding as to how things are going to unfold and what the impact will be on my little family as well as on our wider family. Hope is all I can have – that although there will be suffering, this too shall pass. And I hold on to the belief that the birth of our baby girl will still bring joy, and also comfort, in the midst of pain.