Grieving the Wounds of Childhood

I’ve been thinking about how grief has so many variations. I usually address the kind that happens when we lose someone we love. This post is basically a poem, about a different kind of grief – one that many of us are familiar with, but we don’t usually call it grief. As with all other kinds of grief, the way through it, is through it.

I hope this is helpful.

Not Too Late

Grieve, now,

for the small one, fighting so hard to be big, wanting so badly to have it all together.


Sad things happened

or didn’t happen,

long ago, when you were too small to understand

that it wasn’t you, wasn’t anything you did wrong.

When all you could do was lash out or curl up into a ball,

whatever it took to make it go away

even for a while.

It doesn’t matter how big your sad things were, or how they compare to other people’s sad things

you’ve read about or heard about.

Whether they are bigger or smaller is of no consequence.

The saddest sad is the one you feel right now.


for the loving arms that didn’t hold you,

when you were hurt, disappointed, scared, angry, confused, ashamed, overwhelmed.


For the sweet voice that didn’t calm you,

didn’t know to say,

“Come here, littlest, and let me hold you while you cry

(or while you shout and kick).

You’re going to be ok little one,

just come here and I’ll hold you until you get it all out.”


that that didn’t happen.

Not enough anyway.

Even still, I’m going to tell you that you’re ok now.

You don’t have to figure it out. Not really.

Maybe all you need is to just


Give in, let go. Let go of the unfairness, the scariness, the way-too-bigness of it,

and know

that you are not so small now.

You can have your own back now.

Do you realize that? That it’s not too late…

but the tears might still need to flow,

there might be messy unwept weeping.

Get out the hankies.

Just because you can now understand

the realness, and have compassion for the sadness, the frustration, you felt back then

doesn’t mean the tears or the rage don’t still need to find their way through

and out.

Sadness and pain happened.

Hold your self.

Wrap your big strong, soft, warm, comforting arms around

that little him or her.

Croon a bit. Oh, my, my, my.

Find your own sweet voice

(yes, you have one).

Whisper, “I know, this is so hard. I’m right here.”

That’s all.

Maybe some rocking,

Back and forth, back and forth. There, there, there.

No fixing, no figuring it out.


The rest will come in due time.

Let the grieving carry you to the other side of the fear and anger, where the rest of any needed healing journey will become known.

But, first, without rushing or expecting much,

open to grief. Allow grieving.

Just you and the grief.

Let it be as big as it is. Let it be as small as it is. No pretending.

If you like, invite a trusted other, who can allow with you

and not fix, and not take it away or try to interfere. Just someone who can bear to sit with you

while you be with your grief.

You’re going to be all right. Soon. And it is so so sad.











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