After A While

I have mentioned once before on this blog that when I was 17 I placed a baby for adoption.  It was a terribly hard experience and comes into almost a tie with my dad’s death as far as grief goes.  I am glad I did it.  It was the right choice.  I wouldn’t change it.  It has taken a long time to get over it though.  This is the first year I haven’t felt really sad on her birthday.  That could be because it was 9 days after dad died and 2 days after his funeral.  Or maybe it just takes 25 years to get over something that difficult.

The reason I even bring it up (because that is not what THIS blog is about)  is because my grandmother (my dad’s mom) sent me this poem in the days after I had the baby.  It has been a favorite of mine over the years, and has taken on different meanings in different situations.  Today as I was making dinner part of the poem popped into my mind and it was comforting to me.  I knew I wanted to post it here on this blog.

After A While

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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