Cheryl's Blog

When Great Trees Fall

In this week’s blog, I’m sharing a poem by Maya Angelou given to me by a wise woman who knows the right medicine at the right time.

I lost my friend Ileen yesterday, a woman who embedded herself in our hearts and home for more than thirteen years and has now left a crater-size hole in our lives. Ileen was a force who took on any task worthy of her time with the steely determination to succeed. And she did. Her optimism made even the darkest of times shine bright with possibility. Light returned in her company.

So now the roller coaster of grief begins, a familiar ride of twists and turns – bafflement, anger, breathless sorrow, mind-numbing despair. At times like these, words can heal, even a little, and Angelou’s poem is a good example. For me, it affirmed the magnitude of our loss and it provided a much-needed reminder that peace is around the bend.

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.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

Travel with angels dear Ileen ❤️.