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Many thanks to Susan Noyles Anderson for giving us permission to share this poem with you. (You can see more of her poetry here.) This poem emerged recently as the three-year anniversary of her son’s death was coming up.

I’m reminded of an insight shared by a friend not long ago, which was shared with her by another friend. We all are acquainted with grief at some point or another in our lives. This friend noted that the Savior, Jesus Christ, talks about His bowels being full of mercy (see verse 6 in 3 Nephi 11 or Alma 7:11-12 for examples)…and that perhaps there is a reason for this. The scriptures teach that all things testify of Christ. That must mean even how our bodies work can teach us.

Perhaps grief is something that is meant to pass through us, to not stay with us too long, at least not in that intense, overwhelming kind of way.

I love how Sue explores this notion in her poem.

Grandma Said
by Susan Noyes Anderson

Soon or late, life teaches lessons
few would choose to learn.
Ours is, at best, a rocky path
with many a twist and turn.

We used to hear, "When things get tough,
the tough get going," right? —
To suck it up, not muck it up,
keep smiling, and hang tight.

Today it's all about self-care
and focusing on feelings.
Hold space, give place to loss and pain,
wade through, make room for healing.

The world has given us hard times
in recent years; it's true.
Most seek relief from current counsel,
and that's good to do.

Embrace those seas of strong emotion:
swim in grief and sorrow.
Be real. It's needed—but past ways
are also good to borrow.

No psychic tool precludes the rest.
No balm is always better.
The bold use methods new and old
to hold themselves together.

It works, sometimes, when down and out
and feeling quite bereft
to focus less on what is lost
and more on what is left.

{My grandma said it best.}