Saturday, October 15, 2011

How Many Times Can a Heart Break?

Keegan and his dad had known hard times. Both had a thin, worn look, shabby clothes. The dad's face was the worried face of a man whose life had been blind-sided.

Last spring, teenage Keegan was getting thinner, and more pale.The diagnosis of bone cancer stunned everyone. Keegan and his dad were determined to fight. But right after graduation in June, Keegan was told it was terminal. The community rallied to collect funds so Keegan's dad could stay home from work and be with his son.

Now it is fall, and on the news tonight, there was a recently taken video clip of a thin, unsmiling, pale and saddened Keegan, followed by a clip of his father, head in his hands, sobbing.

Keegan died at home yesterday morning, holding his father's hand.

How many times can a heart break,
and mend itself again?
What keeps us moving forward
through such overwhelming pain?

Somehow we wake each morning
and survive another day.
We don't know how or why,
or even want to  live this way.

But our hearts are stronger
than our wills,
when we're walking Sorrow's street.
We walk because we must,
because a broken heart still beats.

And gradually, through the months and years,
we begin to laugh again,
though we thought we'd never stop the tears,
we'd never ease the pain.

Those we love and miss would want us to.
They don't want us to grieve
but we can't help our sorrow.
We couldn't bear for them to leave.

Between pain and its passing
lies a valley we walk through
known by all who love and all who lose,
known by me, by you.

Down the farthest mountain
and up its other side
is the trail of tears we mourners climb.
Our pain can't be denied.

Keep walking, weary traveler.
There is comfort at the end.
The Community of Souls will guard
your child, your mate, your friend.

The day will come that you'll cross, too,
the river of life and death.
You'll hear them singing as they come,
and take your final breath.

I have to believe the soul goes on,
that we don't just fade away.
Our suffering makes no sense
unless we'll meet again, one day.

Rest, Keegan, rest.
May your dad rest, too,
though his tears run hot and free.
May he feel your spirit very close
to keep him company.


  1. Oh, Sherry...
    So sorry.
    Your poem is a beautiful tribute and comfort.

  2. I'm so sorry. Such a hard thing to process. Terrible to loose a child. I agree with your poem, that life demands to be lived no matter what. I think it's our core biology and we sense that life is eternal.

  3. A beautiful tribute to a young life lost, Sherry. For Keegan's father to be alone at this time (I gather there's no mother around?) must be excruciating. I've often thought walking "through the valley of the shadow of death" referred not to the dying but to the survivors. I hope the community continues to rally 'round.
    — K

  4. Oh my God, Sherry. So very sad.

  5. Heart wrenchingly sad. Beautiful poem.

  6. Sherry, I believe your praying pen was read by the Father. "The Community of Souls will guard
    your child, your mate, your friend.
    The day will come that you'll cross, too,
    the river of life and death.
    You'll hear them singing as they come,
    and take your final breath"

    These words are the ones that have gotten me through and will get me through more of my loved ones' deaths. Thank God, we have the promise of this, our Faith. Thanks for your visit to my site today - I am so grateful I got to read this here.

  7. I am very touched with this beautiful words....Our faith will carry us through these challenging times. Thank you for sharing your heart and kind words ~

  8. Sherry,

    It was so sad to visit your Blog and to find such a sad event had happened. It was uplifting to then read your words. A most thoughtful and beautifully written tribute to Keegan.
    The beauty of life is tinged with sadness for all of us at some point. It is nice to have the support of others, when that sadness arrives.

    Best wishes Sherry,

    I have been away on holiday and am only now getting back to finding time to visit Bogs abd friends.

  9. This brought me to tears, Sherry. I always hate to hear of such tragedies. Your poem is straight from the heart and I can tell you were hurting, too. I love that you found such comforting words to share.

  10. Very sad Sherry, but with a depth of compassion not always seen. And it is always so much worse when it is a young person with all of life in front of them. Rest in peace Keegan,


  11. we are so lucky
    so much of the time
    and do not see it
    until something breaks


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