archives, poetry

Not Alone: Grieving the Loss of My Child. {poetry}

I’ve been writing on grief and the loss of a child to suicide, as well as loss in general. I have shared the following two poems with others who have lost a family member. Hope you find comfort in these little pieces of my heart.

A Ghost in My Heart

Sometimes you feel alone
Sometimes you are alone
Sometimes you feel lonely
Sometimes you feel regret
Sometimes you dream of what could have been
Sometimes you regret what was
The cruelty lies in the self-torture
In believing the lies 
In believing the expectations
Tears drown laughter
And advice shears dreams
Memories shred broken hearts
Possibilities grind flesh
Surrounded by people
But alone in despair
The cruelty of a New Year without you
Letting go of the last one that you were gone
Dreams of completeness
Expectations of vacancy
Going to sleep with hope 
And waking to reality
Wanting to speak of you
But being shut down… “You should move on”
Another year without you
Lost dreams of a wedding, a grandchild, an adventure
Missing your laughter, brothers fighting
Broken limbs and broken dreams
Neither predictable
Scabbed knees and burning tears
Just one more hug
Just one more chance
Hating the missing place at the table
Such bullshit in listening to others
I wish I could say F*&^ off 
But politeness prevails
I am so sick of being nice
I’m okay entering the new year missing you
Being sad, regretting
It’s okay
There is beauty in pain and possibility in grief
Sometimes there is sadness where there was once joy
And that is okay, it doesn’t need to be fixed
It needs to be nurtured and loved
It needs to be remembered and embraced
Sometimes you need your tears wiped and your heartache heard
Sometimes you need to know you are not alone.

Suicide Secrets

He was your neighbor, she was your little sister
He was your dad, she was your aunt.
They said they were okay
He walked the dog
She sang at karaoke
He smiled and promised
She cried, but continued to play volleyball
He had a promising career
She married well
He promised, “I would never hurt you…”
She said, “I will tell you first.”
You said goodbye, you cried in silence
Whispers take away your voice
You never felt shame until they insinuated you should
He was brave, she was beautiful
They had good parents
How could they?
How selfish?
How ignorant for anyone to think they have the right to judge such tragedy and loss?
How dare you?
He loved his mother, she worshiped her father.
He had two brothers, she had a daughter
I promise you, you know someone.
We’re in this together, this dirty secret that we speak of behind closed doors, in whispers, and in fear of “bringing it up.”
I speak from experience, I speak from a broken heart, I speak from regret, resignation, and recognition.
I speak in hope that you will too, for someone who is suffering or as someone who is suffering.
I speak so that you can speak too, and in hopes that you know there are people who care, who will stop what they are doing and reach out and hold you tight when you can’t hold yourself.
I speak aloud, and sometimes in desperation, to find a way to prevent, to assist, to acknowledge such an insidious disease as mental health.
I speak because you matter, and I value you!
I speak because I don’t know what else to do.


Kandace Kennedy is a registered nurse, a masters student of nursing, a mother of three sons and parent of two. She dreams big and lives large. Her life is full and her heart is cracked, but she has a passion to connect with those who have suffered familial loss and grief. She is an advocate for animals and vulnerable persons, an explorer, and a fearless pursuer of dreams.


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