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Secret grief

Posted by Simon Parke, 15 June 2018, 5.27am

Secret Grief is a new book of poems/reflections by Cathryn Deyn around the subject of bereavement.

Here is the forward I wrote for the book:

The woman talks… a mixture of sadness, confusion and rage.

She is reluctantly letting go of a friendship, but she is letting go screaming, because she doesn’t understand how or why it is over.

She’s expressing grief, though she never would have used that word, because no one has died.

But then, as Cathryn reveals in this wonderful book, bereavement takes many forms.  It may be the life-stopping death of a loved one… or the children leaving home. It may be a dream of ours coming to nothing; the loss of a job; the end of a friendship or diminishing health.

There’s so much to let go of as the years unfold, and in these emotionally-literate pages, we are invited beyond ‘the happiness bias’, in which everything must be shiny and positive, towards the hidden lakes, the more wounded aspects of our psyche, and towards a kind self-honesty, the most healing path of all.

Through rage, through creation, through darkness, through avoidance, through denial, through kindness, through numb, through sadness, through love, through joy, through insensitivity, through judgement, through a growing understanding of our selves and our ‘one precious life’... Cathryn leads us with poetry and understanding.

Rather than speak of the stages of grief, I learn to speak only of today. ‘This is how I feel…and it’s allowed.’ I find myself on a journey, though not as the crow flies.

And as long as I stay honest, allowing my life to rise and fall within me; and kind - allowing punishing thoughts to pass - I’ll be fine.

Grief is rejection, grief is abandonment, and with care, grief is also invitation.  It cuts like a cold wind, it deadens like a sodden blanket, it maims like a car out of control… and is a door, always a door, a fresh starting for ourselves.

And wherever I am today, (and no inner state is a crime) there will be a poem in this book for me.

(‘Secret Grief’ is presently available on Lulu here: It will be available on Barnes and Noble and Amazon mid-July.)

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