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May 24, 2011

The Sharing of Pain, the Sharing of Comfort

I have read a great deal about how a parent suffers when his or her child is in pain.  But, I've read much less about what we experience when we are the child whose parent is in pain. There is something haunting and alchemical about what we feel, even after our parents have left this earth. How do we find our peace with it?  Poet Katherine Walker gives us at least one answer in this poem about her mom's "ol' gray sweater."

Her ol’ gray sweater is comfy and warm
Cloaking the mask of the pain that she bore
It’s pilled and it’s fleece and has a few holes
The ol’ gray sweater that mother once wore

But now that she’s gone I’ve decided to keep
The ol’ gray sweater
She wore when she’d weep

I’ll put it on top of the scars that I carry
And cover my pain up that should’ve been buried
Tuck all the flaws in those pockets of hurt

It looks good o’er this ratty ol’ shirt
Don’t you think?

Though it may make a statement on “What Not to Wear”
Will never be seen in a “Vanity Fair”
Still I’ve got to hold on to this dear ol’ gray sweater
For it covers my sorrow and helps me feel better
(by keeping her close to my heart)

Katherine Walker is the author of Songs of the Feathered Wind, available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
To learn more about Katherine and her work, click here.

Photo above by Linda Yolanda at

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