A few days ago, I was going through a box of memories, and came across “When Great Trees Fall” by Maya Angelou.
When Jim died, a friend gave me the gift of this poem. It came in the mail, enclosed in a beautiful card that said, “I saw this poem and thought of you, and of Jim.” It meant a lot to me, for it acknowledges the deep pain felt by anyone grieving someone they love, while also offering hope of eventual healing in the last stanza.
I love that she shows grief isn’t linear and that there is no timetable with “..after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly.” And also the knowing that love lives on in our hearts, and we always carry them inside of us. She writes: “We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.”
What a comfort and a gift this is!
When Great Trees Fall
by Maya Angelou
When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.
Debbie Augenthaler is a psychotherapist and author of You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide to Grief, Healing, and Hope. You can learn more about her and the book here.