The Faces of Disenfranchised Grief: An Interview with Peggy Sapphire

The following are introductory remarks by Peggy Sapphire, author of two poetry collections (A Possible Explanation, Partisan Press, In the End a Circle, Antrim House ’09).

I got into the field of death and dying to explore of my own “disenfranchised grief. In my case, my ex-spouse, diagnosed over the last seven years, with two terminal illnesses, has caused an extended and more enlightened consideration of the impact of his death on the significant period of our marriage on my personal history.

The writing process was both healing and revelatory. Healing can include creativity, rituals or any other ideas you may have.

Hope” is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I’ve heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.

Gloria Horsley

More Articles Written by Gloria

Dr. Gloria Horsley is an internationally known grief expert, psychotherapist, and bereaved parent. She started "Open to Hope" to help the millions in the world with grief. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Nurse Specialist, and has worked in the field of family therapy for over 20 years. Dr. Horsley hosts the syndicated internet radio show, The Grief Blog which is one of the top ranked shows on Health Voice America. She serves the Compassionate Friends in a number of roles including as a Board of Directors, chapter leader, workshop facilitator, and frequently serves as media spokesperson. Dr. Horsley is often called on to present seminars throughout the country. She has made appearances on numerous television and radio programs including "The Today Show," "Montel Williams," and "Sallie Jessie Raphael." In addition, she has authored a number of articles and written several books including Teen Grief Relief with Dr. Heidi Horlsey, and The In-Law Survival Guide.


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  • Leslie Smith says:

    Widowed 9 months ago after a glorious 10-year second marriage. Initially, while aware of the pain and void I felt at his passing, I felt somewhat optimistic about my remaining time here. I relocated to a warmer climate and I looked forward to travel, visits from family and friends. I have supportive in-laws where I am now, but against one of my husband’s last wishes, I opened my home to my youngest daughter and her 15-mo old son. The daughter has a strong and abrasive personality. I love having the time w/my grandson, since my other grands are far away and I am only occasionally involved in their lives. I fear my initial hope for my life will be many years in the coming-if ever. I believe I have moved from grief into depression- I was diagnosed with PTSD three years ago after my husband suffered a traumatic illness. My reasoning then became unreliable- I have been on meds since then and generally doing ok. But, I see no joy in my future-in fact I find myself hoping I die soon. Wow- there it is in black and white… I am tired of living.