Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Loss

For all the saints

weary spirits
laid to rest lie soft
on winter’s snow
breathless we linger
beneath the heavens

Written in light of

  • Motionless trees coated with snow outside my kitchen window
  • Frigid temperatures and a gray sky
  • Recent and long-ago deaths of family, friends, strangers, poets and irreplaceable bright stars in our lives
  • Escalating upheavals of the last few years, locally and globally
  • This season of reflection and resolution

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 18 January 2019
Photo of Sycamores in Central Park found at

The Memory Unit

The Memory Unit gathers –

A motley congregation
faces the long, high pulpit and
double-locked entrance.
Weary attendants gather behind
the pulpit busy with paperwork
and a phone that never rings
for these lost sheep.

Women and men in varied
stages of present non-presence
watch and wait for what will not
arrive today or tomorrow.
In various stages and styles
of dress and distress they sit
on chairs or in wheelchairs or
lie strapped on trolleys to
avoid inconvenience or upset.
Some moan or shout while others
eerily silent stare and a few
bright-faced parishioners knowingly
greet everyone and no one passing by.

Silent or babbling, singing or shouting
repetitive statements and vociferous
objections to no one and everyone
in particular the congregation of
expectant supplicants searches
not for lost sheep or a shepherd
but for themselves and worlds
they can never re-enter even if
they come through the locked door
caring for and loving them as they are
if only for this passing moment.

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 19 April 2018
Poem based on my memory of a visit several years ago to a Memory Unit in Philadelphia
Photo taken by Maja Daniels in a Memory Unit in France; found on

A Poem and Reflection on Death

Death haunts the pages
Of our minds and hearts
A shadow reality bearing down
On irreplaceable relationships

Who am I without you?
Where am I to go without you?
How much agony can one soul bear?

Each beginning moves
Ineluctably toward its end
Knowing and not knowing
How the plot will play

Your death becomes my death
Bankrupt dreams and hopes
Why didn’t we see it coming?
As though we were omniscient

I’m left asking myself what must I/we do to be ‘ready’? The question is urgent, and yet…

It’s always too soon, until it’s too late.

Dr. Ira Byock, M.D., quotes this saying in his book The Four Things That Matter Most. The book isn’t just for people facing imminent death of a loved one. It’s for anyone, anytime, anywhere.

The four things are simple and life-changing. They won’t take away the pain of death. They will, however, help the people we leave behind deal with the reality of our absence.

Here they are, four things to say to those you love before it’s too late:

Please forgive me.
I forgive you.
Thank you.
I love you.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Especially now, in light of multiple tragedies here and around the world. Death piled on death. Expected and unexpected. Close to home and in our news feeds daily.

Of course there are things that ‘need to be done’ to decrease the kinds of death we’ve witnessed already this year. Yet none of that will prepare me for my death or the deaths of those I love. That’s what’s on my heart this afternoon.

Blessings of peace,

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 2 October 2017

Monday Morning after Margie

Bent on a mission from God
Not derailed by frivolous sidetrips
One painful step at a time
Thoughtfully paced and ordered
You showed up at God’s doorstep
Right on time

Too early for me and for your friends
Left gaping at the huge sinkhole
In our hearts and in that pew
where you were not sitting yesterday
Our breath sucked into silence
at the news of your death
I will not call glorious

In memory of a friend, one of the Angels in my life. She died Saturday afternoon.

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 18 September 2017
Photo taken by DAFraser, Longwood Gardens, Sept 2017

Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Glorious

elusive retreat

gray overwhelms

dreary drab

shades of life

without color

body aches

tears pile up

unable to retreat

one more day

one more year

lost forever

bar clanks shut

on doors creaking

weighted down

heavy chapters

in a book

never written


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 26 December 2016
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Retreat


Here’s a wartime poem from Amy Carmichael.  Have you ever dreaded or experienced the knock at the front door?  An unexpected phone call?  My brief comments are at the end. Read the rest of this entry »

dark cold earth mound

Weeping beech in winter

cold dark earth mound

blankets newly dug grave

beech branches weep

* * *


interrupted Read the rest of this entry »

She remembers me

She remembers me
From long ago
A stranger, yet a friend
She says she was there
The day the war ended.
I don’t remember her. Read the rest of this entry »

fiery river

fiery river streams

through banks of distant storm clouds

stars pierce gath’ring night

* * *

Blaze of dying glory— Read the rest of this entry »

Wait for me, PLEASE! | Dear Diane

Houston airport, June 1998.  It’s hot, dry, breezy.  I’m exhausted after little sleep the night before, and an early morning rise to make my 7:30am flight.  Diane’s daughter picks me up at the airport.  We finally arrive at Diane’s house.   As always, my heart is pounding Read the rest of this entry »

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