I measure every grief I meet…

My heart goes out to Richard Armitage, who has just announced today that his mother passed away earlier this month…

Richard wrote a beautiful tribute to his mum, which I saved to PDF here, in case the tweet gets deleted some day. It is also a call for fundraising, a very touching tribute to those who helped care for her in her final days.

In the tribute Richard mentions spending a quiet Easter Sunday with his mum, which was also the day after I saw him at the Newcastle Film Festival (in hindsight, a little over 5 weeks before his mum’s passing). Some people mentioned he looked somewhat tired there, I think it is clear why…  I see the video message he filmed wishing a fan to feel better soon in an even more poignant light now. I am even more in awe than I already was at his warmth and the patience he had with his fans in what was clearly also a very difficult personal time.

Richard & Margaret ArmitageRichard’s tribute to his mum shines with love and brings me back to my own time surrounding my father’s passing (three years ago this past March). I remember how difficult it was dealing with the final weeks and days before my dad died, I remember (and can still transplant myself back to) the pain of the first few days and weeks after he died. Richard must be in a raw state now, and my heart goes out to him and his family. When I think of someone’s grief, I am also reminded of an Emily Dickinson poem…

I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, eyes –
I wonder if It weighs like Mine –
Or has an Easier size.

I wonder if They bore it long –
Or did it just begin –
I could not tell the Date of Mine –
It feels so old a pain –

I wonder if it hurts to live –
And if They have to try –
And whether – could They choose between –
It would not be – to die –

I note that Some – gone patient long –
At length, renew their smile –
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil –

I wonder if when Years have piled –
Some Thousands – on the Harm –
That hurt them early – such a lapse
Could give them any Balm –

Or would they go on aching still
Through Centuries of Nerve –
Enlightened to a larger Pain –
In Contrast with the Love –

The Grieved – are many – I am told –
There is the various Cause –
Death – is but one – and comes but once –
And only nails the eyes –

There’s Grief of Want – and grief of Cold –
A sort they call “Despair” –
There’s Banishment from native Eyes –
In sight of Native Air –

And though I may not guess the kind –
Correctly – yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary –

To note the fashions – of the Cross –
And how they’re mostly worn –
Still fascinated to presume
That Some – are like my own –

I hope Richard and his family find the strength to come through this difficult time and I hope they will be left with many very beautiful memories of Margaret Armitage besides the difficult ones of the past few months.

12 thoughts on “I measure every grief I meet…

    1. Thanks for expressing what came into my mind when I read his thoughtful post: we were fangirling while he was probably somewhere else with his thoughts… But I still remember his deep, joyful, guttural laugh after the screening telling me that he didn’t feel uncomfortable at all there. There is consolation in various circumstances and time may soften the grief but there’s a sting of sorrow that will never fade completely after losing a parent… My thoughts go to him and his family…
      Love the poem! Thank you!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Teuchter

    Such a beautiful poem. Thanks for sharing. I was born a few years before his Mum and age does bring to mind the frailty of life. God bless Richard and all his family at this very sad time.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Maureen

    Made me tear up! I lost my dad in April 27, so I know the pain our beloved man is feeling….I can only hope that his family holds each other close, as mine did….going through the pain of those first days together made such a diffetence!

    Liked by 1 person

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