Without you, my world seems too big. I don’t know how to fill the space that was you. I only know sometimes I get lost in it.

The space left by you seemed to mock me. It followed me relentlessly. It threatened to consume me. Well-meaning friends pretended not to see the space you left. Others tried to get me to ignore it to, to pretend it wasn’t there, or to fill it quickly with other people, other things.

I tried to tell them it didn’t work that way. I tried to reason with them. They tried to reason with me. All of it just made me more tired. I got frustrated and decided it was simpler to just not be with people except the people I knew who were also grieving. They did not expect anything from me. I was not a disappointment to them. They accepted me as I was and helped me not feel so alone.

Every now and then, someone disappeared from this circle, sometimes without warning. Sometimes they shared it was time to spread their wings and fly. It was time to leave the safety of the circle. It was time again to get involved with new things, new people, and perhaps even some of those they’d left behind.

Once in awhile, some of these people came back, saying it was too soon, too hard but most did not. Those who returned were welcomed with open arms, no questions asked.

One day I realized I was feeling stifled and confined. The people were just as kind and understanding, but I didn’t fit anymore. I knew it was time to get on with my life. The people who had been such a comfort to me would always hold a special place in my heart, but it was my time, my turn to move on. So with a mixture of excitement and trepidation I did, and I began to live again.

Deb Kosmer


© 2010

Deb Kosmer

Deb has worked at Affinity Visiting Nurses Hospice for ten years, the first two as a hospice social worker and the last eight as Bereavement Support Coordinator supporting families before and after the death of their loved ones. She provides supportive counseling, developed and facilitates a variety of grief support groups, including a well-attended group for men only as well as other educational events. Deb received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from UW-Oshkosh and her Master’s degree in Social Work from UW Milwaukee. She received her certification in Thanatology through ADEC. Her writing has appeared in New Leaf Magazine, We Need Not Walk Alone, Living with Loss, Grief Digest, numerous hospice publications and EAP publications. Some of her poetry on death and dying will be included in a college textbook for social workers in end of life soon. New Leaf has also used some of her poetry for a line of sympathy and anniversary of death cards. On a personal level, Deb's 14-year-old son died after being struck by a car. Her 31-year-old sister had died in a car accident eight months earlier, and her 56-year-old father died from a heart attack exactly three years before. These three unexpected deaths within three years started Deb on a journey she never wanted to be on and she learned first-hand the importance of having the help and support of others. In the years since, she has experienced other losses, the most recent being the unexpected death of her 44-year-old step-daughter who died from complications three months after routine surgery. Deb's passions are writing, reading, education, nature, and family. She is currently working on a book of her grief poetry. She recently moved with her husband to Waypost Camp, Hatley WI. Her husband accepted a job there as Property Manager and his position allows them to live on-site with acres of woods and a lake. She anticipates the quiet beauty to be a strong catalyst for writing.

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