Joyce Miriam

A Message From Grief

I have come to you
Now that you have been through the fire of loss.
I am here for you in this first station
As a guide until you safely arrive at the next.
I am a holy teacher and have come
To gently walk with you in this land
That feels parched and empty.
Don’t be afraid of me.
I am born from my mother, Love.
I will keep Despair in my pocket and
Make sure that she doesn’t overtake you.
When I send Despair
Know that she comes as a soft message
To attend to rest or sadness.
Let me be by your side to
Teach you the wisdom that I have to offer.
Tears, loneliness and deep sadness
Places to visit.It is safe.
You will see, I promise.
It is for good.
Lean into me.
I am comfort. I am soft.
Open to me.


A Lesson From Sol

It was just like my dad to be direct,
Forceful in his opinions and
Dispensing of wisdom.

When I heard him the other day,
Quite loud in my brain,
I wasn’t surprised.

Silly, he says,
In answer to my confusion about life and death,
Remember this.

I see clearly the image of him
Slicing the oranges in halves.
Maybe sixteen of them, sparkling and rocking on the kitchen counter.
He is cupping his hand
On the skin of the half orange
Over the dome of the 1960’s juicer.
If you press hard enough,
It rotates and juice flows
From the spout into a short glass cup.

Come on, he says.
Joycie, take the juice!
Drink the juice.
That’s the stuff you take.
Watch me throw the pulp and the rind down the disposal.
Do you think that I rummage through that garbage,
Fish out the rinds, pocket them to bring to work?
Absolutely not. What for?

The house, the stuff, the bodies we lived in,
Let them go as easily as the rinds of those oranges.
Empty your pockets.

But the juice!
Now that is yours forever
And I will keep pouring.


Joyce Miriam Friedman is a musician and actress, as well as a medical clown with the Hearts and Noses Hospital Troupe in Boston. She recently lost both of her beloved parents in quick succession and spent 18 months writing about dying, death, mourning, love and loss.