Image of the poem 'Don't tell me

I’m not a fan of most grief poetry but this is one of the exceptions. I like that it sets out the common platitudes used by well meaning people and quietly, gently explains why those words, freely given and well meant as they are, are no comfort at all.

I used it as a gentle primer for people to nip any of those words before they were used and caused any harm.

This plan did not go well. For some it seems that whilst they may feel they can dictate the terms and acceptable parameters of grief it is not okay for the bereaved to set out how they would prefer to be spoken to.

In one instance I received a reply that used the poem as a template to set out why the poet was wrong to dismiss those platitudes and worse how it betrayed an immature attitude and that the change described at the end of the poem was simply part of maturity or ‘growing up’. The letter wasn’t really about my grief it was about their grief.

This did have the benefit of replacing my quiet detachment and depressive feelings with an icy spike of rage which was a nice change of mood at least.

The funniest part about it was how absolutely outraged the Sands befriender was on my behalf.

Cuddle Fairy
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