After A While

May 26, 2014

in Workshops

After A WhileLoss is an experience that I believe cannot be generalized. Each occurrence throughout my life has been different. Why? Because I myself have been different in each particular point in time, my range of feelings has differed, each other person involved has been unique, as has our relationship with each other and the surrounding circumstances. Each time, whether I have wanted to or not, I have had something to learn.

A few years before she died, Haven’s Dianne Anderson, my long time friend and my son’s partner for over 20 years, shared this poem with me. As poetry often does, it speaks eloquently of what I don’t have adequate ordinary words to express.


After a while you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
and company doesn’t always mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises
and you begin to accept
your defeats
with your head up
and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman,
not the grief of a child

And you learn to build
all your roads on today
because tomorrow’s ground
is too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way
of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.

And you learn
that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn…

~ Veronica A. Shoffstall

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Linda Nicholls

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