by Ethel Mortenson Davis

I’ve been looking
for someone
to take our hand,
but no one does.

Louise Erdrich says
that in grief you must
take your own hand.

So we must
take our own
and step between the paleness
that camps all around:
In the trees,
in the sunlight,
and in the house.

We must take
our own.

from White Ermine Across Her Shoulders, Ethel Mortenson Davis, Copyright © 2011, available at


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

10 responses to “Answer

  1. There still seems to be much weeping and wailing at the passing of a known one, though moreso in the East I believe, as witnessed by the immense show of pseudo grief by the populace of North Korea at the passing of their leader Kim Jon Il.

    In the West we now are, in general, holding ceremonies of thanksgiving for the life of the one that has passed on, but still wearing the black as a sign of respect for the loss, moreso for those left behind I think than the one 6 feet under.

    I had been estranged from my mother for a couple of years and although we had made up I surprised myself by crying like a baby as she died in my arms. During the following week alone I cleared her cottage and sat one day in the quiet of her sunny bedroom overlooking the village church.

    As far as I can remember her bedroom door had never been closed but as I left the room I caught sight of her dressing gown, I had forgotten, hanging behind the door. Stinging tears rolled down my cheeks as I gently folded and placed it in the charity bag. At the funeral itself I was in a daze not even recognising friends who had come to pay their respects. I was 46 at the time.

    Now 72 my appreciation of death and passing has gone through a metamorphosis into something rich and strange, according to some, but the following I received from Abraham Hicks Publications brought a smile.

    Because we know that life is eternal, and we know that there is no ending to that which you are about, if one of you is killed in an earthquake or crashes your plane, or any number of other very creative ways you have found to make your exit into the Non-Physical, because we know the whole picture, we grieve not a moment for any of you. But from your more short sighted point of view in physical, a lot of you grieve tremendously.

    I love the phrase … ‘any number of other very creative ways you have found to make your exit into the Non-Physical’

    Which way will you choose?
    At the deepest level you will know, as he did, when your work is done and when your time has come.
    With love, Hanukah

  2. Ethel,

    This is so very true.

    “In grief you must take your own hand” – yes indeed.

    I find this very moving and frank and beautifully written. Thank you.


    Christine x

  3. Julie Catherine

    Ethel, a moving, poignant and beautifully written poem. Today I reach out to take yours and Thomas’s hands, and the hands of all who are grieving, in the name of humanity, friendship and love. Wishing you peace, love and light in the new year. ~ Love, Julie xoxox

    • I am moved by your love. Tom is facing more cancer surgery this week. We are bracing for it. Ethel

      • Julie Catherine

        Oh Ethel, I am so sorry …. sending you both positive healing energies, thoughts and prayers, and holding your hand in my heart. May the Angels bring you comfort and strength, and hold you both in their love and light. ~ Love, Julie xoxox

  4. While it is true that in the end there is only ourselves, I also think of the allegory of the long spoons. Sometimes I remember that being with oneself does not have the same strength and comfort as being with one another.

  5. stronghearted1

    I am so sorry to hear of all of that you are facing at this time. I’ve been so overwhelmed with my own health issues that I’ve neglected to check in on on those I hold in highest esteem.. May you find comfort and strength in the thoughts and prayers of others.Blessings in abundance

  6. Grief is truly a loathsome customer, wants to buy your spirit for a plug nickle…

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