“I Measure Every Grief I Meet” * My God Delivers


Two cards arrive the same day: one letting me know my aunt died 4 months ago,

the other celebrating the life of a baby about to be born.


I am thinking of the many definitions of Family

and feeling gratitude for my Community.

I am grieving again,


I am grateful again,


Emily Dickinson wrote,

“I measure every grief I meet.”

I do too.

I measure the weight and the depth.

I will be measuring the length,

and the complication.

I grieve for my aunt.

I grieve for a blood family torn asunder,

and wonder what could have been

if alcoholism had not darkened our family tree.

I am grateful also, deeply grateful.

For my Family, Capital F.

My Family built by Choice and of Love.

I am a very lucky woman surrounded by people I love

people I have loved for a lifetime,

people I have know for half that.

I am grateful for my sobriety and for the sobriety of those I love.

The cards arrived today,

both in deep blue envelopes.

Blue reminding me of my aunt

and blue reminding me of the sky

and  the baby and of hope and destiny.

I do not believe in coincidences. I do believe in my God.

Both arrived today? Both in deep blue envelopes?

One, notice of a death: short, curt, late.

The other loving, deep, and right on time.

My God does not mess around.

My God delivers.

Grief and  Gratitude.

Now it is time to measure both,

the weight,

the depth,

and the length

of each.

In Peace and in Wonder,


Happy National Poetry Month,

another Not Coincidence on this day of Grief and Gratitude.


I Measure Every Grief I Meet
_ Emily Dickinson
 I measure every grief I meet
  With analytic eyes;
I wonder if it weighs like mine,
Or has an easier size.I wonder if they bore it long,
Or did it just begin?
I could not tell the date of mine,
It feels so old a pain.I wonder if it hurts to live,
And if they have to try,
And whether, could they choose between,
They would not rather die.I wonder if when years have piled—
Some thousands—on the cause
Of early hurt, if such a lapse
Could give them any pause;Or would they go on aching still
Through centuries above,
Enlightened to a larger pain
By contrast with the love.The grieved are many, I am told;
The reason deeper lies,—
Death is but one and comes but once
And only nails the eyes.

There’s grief of want, and grief of cold,—
A sort they call ‘despair,’
There’s banishment from native eyes,
In sight of native air.

And though I may not guess the kind
Correctly yet to me
A piercing comfort it affords
In passing Calvary,

To note the fashions of the cross
Of those that stand alone
Still fascinated to presume
That some are like my own.

~ by Step On a Crack on April 20, 2013.

4 Responses to ““I Measure Every Grief I Meet” * My God Delivers”

  1. I am so glad to know you Jennifer. Jen. J. My Jen. My dear friend; my sister from another mother (so the rumour goes) … still looking for documentation …

    Huge Heart. Special. Smart. Tons of energy. Honest.

    You talk about joy; but you balance the scales.

    Your punches are never pulled; you present an intense picture! THAT IS A LIFE WORTH LIVING! FULL of all of “IT”! Weird, happy, sad, too short, crazy (and in there, somewhere; balance).

    The alcoholism: Hell on earth that knows no boundaries. I find solace under your tree; the darkness doesn’t matter. That’s where tribe lives.

    Seeing you write gives me hope that i’ll be inspired to write again. Love, MEL


  2. I am so sorry, Jen. May you be enlightened by that “larger pain” that always holds us spellbound . . .

    On 4/21/13, Step On A Crack…Or Break Your Mother’s Back


  3. Jen, this is just beautiful! My friend, I can feel the healing and peace in you. Amid the loss, yes, but there’s room for peace. My heart is with you….


  4. Sorry to hear about the passing of your aunt. I wonder at the coincidence of both letters arriving together. Maybe the reason is indeed balance. Wish you well.


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