I read this at my Mom's Wake. Ironically, when Mom was admitted into the hospital for brain cancer, I was going through the mail. The PBA Magazine had arrived. Inside it mentioned an NYPD Crossing Guard who was killed. The family of that Crossing Guard submitted that poem under thier Mom's name. After reading it, I was very moved. Earlier, we had recieved word that Mom would definately die, it was just a question of when. So I went online and printed out the entire poem. Rehearsing what was to happen was easy. I was able to recite the poem with no trouble. Then there was the Wake itself. Several people spoke about Mom in one way, or another. Then it was my turn.
'Do not stand at my grave and weep' (I got through the first line okay. No tears, choking up, etc) , I continued. As I got about 1/3 of the way through the 3 line, I was not only choking back tears, but actually crying. This woman who lay here, well that is my Mom. Here I am saying goodbye. Not very easy. Afterwards the poem was actually finished, so I walked over to Moms coffin and knelt down and prayed. As I was doing so, I was holding her hand. Before I said 'Amen', I slipped the poem into the coffin.
Mom, I love you more and more, and miss you beyond words.
I hate this poem. I always have. Even if the idea of someone becoming one with the universe and nature is comforting, the poem completely invalidates and ignores the experience of the grieving people left behind. It expressly FORBIDS them to grieve - DO NOT WEEP. DO NOT CRY? ! ? ! ? ! ? People who love and miss someone usually need to, want to weep, to cry. It's NORMAL to do so - even if you believe that you somehow are still connected to your loved one through the rain and the stars. This is just another loathsome, maddening example of how our culture is grief-phobic, grief-ignorant, and is squeamish about NATURAL reactions to loss. I hate how viral this poem has become, because it just reinforces the damage of forbidden, unsupported grief. Some people DON'T need to cry when they grieve - if that's really normal for them, fine. But tears after a loss - most of us shed them. Quit stomping on our grief.