During my regular visit to Morningside Assisted Living facility this morning, I learned that one of my favorite residents, Mrs. Frances, has died. Frances is the one who always, without fail, requested The Warsaw Concerto when I asked for hymn requests. The concerto is not a sing-along number, but I tried to end every program with it–just for her. But no more. I feel a profound sense of loss, not only for Frances, but for George’s nephew, BJ, who died last Sunday, for my neighbor, Luanne, who lost her daughter-in-law a few months ago, and for so many others. Grief has been on my mind because of the way it irrevocably changes us and because of its constant presence, on the far side of the curtain.


In the Wings


standing in the wings,

rues what’s been lost.

It listens patiently for a cue,

its moment to step from behind the curtain.

Meanwhile, we have immersed ourselves in our roles,

focused on our lines in this act of life.

If we stay busy, we hope,

we can keep grief from making an entrance.



it slips in and takes center stage,

demanding that we remember.

As it makes us focus on the pain of our loss,

we gasp and lose our balance, toppled from our stage markings.

In anguish, we cry until,

in a flood of tears, grief is washed from the stage,

back behind the curtain,


until that next,

unexpected, moment.

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