Friday, June 24, 2011

Elegy for a Friend

for Steinway, 10/22/2009

Steinway Leone Moore (5/1/1993-6/22/2011)
Four months ago you left me.
The memories of the pain we lived,
Those last shadow-vale days,
Remain as fresh as this morning’s paper cut.

Your intoxicating, dream-sweet scent
Has all but faded
From last pillow
Left unwashed,
Unsoiled by death’s indignities.

How I longed,
In those months of fading light,
To distill your fragrant essence—
Favorite anodyne—
In a bottle
Against emptiness to come,

But the only elixir left me now
Is my own tears,
Distilled in Another’s bottle,
Against the Day they all
Are wiped away,
For what purpose
I know not yet,
But set my face
Toward trust.

Soon the only remnant
Of your tangibility,
Relics of sixteen-year
Habits of the heart,
Will be your small casket
Of ashes, fur clipped
From final bath,
A lost tooth,
Drawer of wee sweaters,
Cast-off toys,
All too likely, too, to fade—
Merciful agony—
Like your scent
On this last cushion.

If this finds you grieving today, the keen sharpness of fresh grief, in my experience, does dull in time. I do not promise it departs, but the intensity does soften a bit so one can move forward again. The second anniversary of Steinway's death was much better than the first, which was somewhat better than the four-month mark described in the poem above.

More importantly, the grief itself opens the way to know our Lord in a deeper way as the Holy Spirit Jesus promised in John 14-16 comes alongside us and the Father of mercies comforts our afflictions so that we in turn are better able to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1). Ultimately, comfort is not a thing or a feeling but a Person, the Lord God Himself indwelling His children. May this loving Lord make His comfort real in your experience as He has in mine.

Grief resources I have found helpful in various losses:
GriefShare e-mail service (free, no collateral spam)
Rain on Me book, by Holley Gerth (40-day devotional)
A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis
God in the Dark: Through Grief and Beyond, Fourth Edition by Luci Shaw

If you seem to be stuck in your grief and it is not getting better at all with time, please know there is no shame in seeking help from a guide equipped to provide it. In her book listed above, Holley Gerth recommends this site for information and referrals:


  1. "Ultimately, comfort is not a thing or a feeling but a Person, the Lord God Himself indwelling His children."

    Thank you for this.

  2. I'm so sorry for the pain of this loss, sweet friend. I can see how special Steinway was from this pouring out. And you? Giving in the midst. You sure look like Jesus.

  3. @Laura Thank you for your gracious words and consolation. May the Lord pour it back into your heart today!


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