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SHARE Atlanta Grief & Healing
"Why are my emotions so intense?"
Written and compiled by Marcia McGinnis

Never does a man know
the force that is in him till
some mighty affection or grief
has humanized the soul.

Frederick W. Robertson

Topics and Poems in this Workshop

Stages of Grief

Secondary Losses


"Why do my babies die?" Sonya's Poem Relating Many Secondary Losses

Phillis A.'s Poem Expressing Emotions

"For Christopher" Why are our emotions so intense? - How Reactions from Those Around Us Influence Us

Stages of Grief

The stages of grief, that are generally accepted as possible, are:

  • shock
  • panic
  • denial
  • release
  • anger
  • depression or sadness
  • returning hope
  • acceptance - "Though we never have to like what has happened to us, we need to get to a level of understanding with it so that we can continue with a life plan that is meaningful to us. We then know that we have survived this tragedy and healing has gradually happened." Marcia McGinnis

  • These stages represent strong heart controlled emotions.

    Our loss has forced us to deal with many new realities and feelings. We are being propelled down a path not of our choosing at a time when these emotions rule and cause us to feel out of control. It is very hard to regain a sense of control. Many of us try to do this by staying in a mode of denial.

    Eventually, for most of us, we must slowly move through our emotion charged path. An understanding of the grieving process and coping ideas can aid our walk. We need to acknowledge and express our feelings so they will no longer dictate our every moment. We must take the responsibility to heal. We gradually learn that we do have choices: of things to do and who we will become as we travel along our path.

    Moving forward means

    learning, changing, coping,

    but not forgetting.

    Marcia McGinnis 1997


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    "Secondary Losses"

    Every primary loss leads to numerous secondary losses. (Mary Joe Hannaford - "Windows")

    These additional losses increase our emotional roller coaster causing more confusion and pain. We know we have lost our baby, and we come to realize that we have suffered "other" losses as well! It's enough to send the most ordered individual off the path!

  • Loss of innocence - birth and death can happen at the same time

  • Loss of role or identity - not a parent of a living child

  • Loss of future dreams

  • Loss of communication or relationships - sometimes with those we consider friends or family

  • Loss of hope

  • Loss of freedom - feel like your in a box - afraid to mix with others

  • Loss of health - some suffer various health symptoms after a loss

  • Loss of sense of worth - feelings of "failure" ... not being able to have or become what everyone else seems to have...a baby and parenthood

  • You name something that you feel you have lost since your baby died...

  • As we recognize these losses, we begin to understand how far reaching our loss is. As we come to understand there impact on our lives, we begin to cope with some of our reactions. All of these losses do not affect every person who has had a loss. The following poems and stories speak to some of these losses. Marcia McGinnis


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    "Why do my babies die?"
    Sonya's poem relating many secondary losses
    role of motherhood, innocence, hope, dreams,
    future, security, etc.


    Why do my babies die?
    I thought I'd be pushing a stroller
    Instead I'm walking our dog

    I thought I'd be waking up for early morning feedings
    Instead I cry myself to sleep

    I thought I'd be decorating a baby's room
    Instead we live alone in our three bedroom home

    I looked forward to leaving the hospital
    in a wheelchair with a newborn
    Instead of physical pains along with empty arms

    We marked our calendar with happy thoughts
    until our baby died
    After suffering this loss I believed my heart
    would never ache as much again
    Until a second nightmare: another baby dies

    This little world we live in has changed drastically, suddenly
    And I will never hope so much again
    because I don't know why my babies die.
    SHARE Atlanta,
    Fall 1991


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    Phillis A.'s Poem
    Expressing Emotions...


    I'd write a song for William
    but the feelings are too deep for words.

    It would be a lullaby
    a love song, a battle song
    a death cry and a mother's mourning.

    It would be sad
    angry, troubled, glad,
    hopeful, hurtful and shattered.

    It would show
    the moon, the stars, the trees,
    the flowers, the universe and me.

    I'd write it
    for couples, for mothers,
    for babies, for daddies, for grievers

    It would say
    how much I love him, how much we missed
    and how we hope to see you again someday.
    Phillis A.
    SHARE Atlanta's Newsletter
    William Axel
    Stillborn on June 21, 1992.


    Visit "Sharing Stories - Initial Feelings and Reactions After a Loss" (see Drop Down Box)

    Feelings: Panic, shock, fear, sadness, anger

    Secondary losses: Loss: of being a parent, ...of "fulfilling our role", ...of innocence, ...of self-worth, ...of security, etc.

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    "For Christopher"
    Why are our emotions so intense?
    We have lost our future!...But not our love...

    For Christopher:
    I wanted to teach you ABC's and how to count to 3,
    I wanted to teach you everything my mommy had taught me.

    When I heard your heartbeat that first time in July,
    I never thought it possible that you would die.

    I had planned our future so carefully,
    even your first date,
    with each day we had together, I could hardly wait.

    Those that say I never knew you,
    are so far from what is true,
    They don't know of the special bond between me and you.

    They say I should forget you,
    enough of being sad.
    I shouldn't grieve for something I never really had.

    I never will forget you,
    no matter how much time goes by.
    Christopher Pierce will always be my special little guy!!

    For whatever the reason that we had to part,
    please know my baby boy I loved you from the start.

    You'll always be my baby,
    though you live in heaven above.
    Now all I have to give you is my everlasting love.

    Mommy loves you very much!!!

    L'Tanya J. S.
    In loving memory of my son Christopher Pierce Sept. 12, 1991
    SHARE Atlanta

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    L'Tanya writes about others' expectations, in the poem above, and how they may influence our grief process. Sometimes their reflections on our grief issue cause us to wonder if we have the right to grieve this little person in our lives.


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