View Full Version : Elephant in the room

Moe B
February 6th, 2013, 13:22
In my first month of grieving, I found it hard to express what I was feeling and know it was hard on those that were trying to console me. This was especially true for my sons. I came across this letter / poem at a widowers forum and sent it to my sons. Thought I would share and hope it helps others. All credit goes to Terry Kettering


There’s an elephant in the room.
It is large and squatting,
so it is hard to get around it.

Yet we squeeze by with,
“How are you?” and, “I’m fine,”
and a thousand other forms of trivial chatter.

We talk about the weather;
we talk about work;
we talk about everything else—
except the elephant in the room.

There’s an elephant in the room.
We all know it is there.
We are thinking about the elephant
as we talk together.

It is constantly on our minds.
For, you see, it is a very big elephant.
It has hurt us all, but we do not talk about
the elephant in the room.

Oh, please, say her name.
Oh, please, say “Barbara” again.
Oh, please, let’s talk about
the elephant in the room.

For if we talk about her death,
perhaps we can talk about her life.
Can I say, “Barbara” to you
and not have you look away?

For if I cannot,
then you are leaving me alone
in a room—with an elephant.

--- Terry Kettering

j's daughter
February 6th, 2013, 13:35
Message deleted.

February 6th, 2013, 14:49
hello dear moe, thank you for this, it is so very true.

warm regards


February 14th, 2013, 07:55
Nice poem and so very true. I havent avoiding talking about her but I guess I've avoided breaking down in front of someone. There's no way someone else can understand what I'm going through when I dont fully understand it myself.

I was asked about that by my mother who now carries this as well as the death of her own husband a little over a year ago. I told her I do let things go but I do them when alone. For me it's not a necessary thing to do it publicly, this is my way. So when with someone and they seem to be walking on eggshells around me I remind them that I'm still me and that I'm ok. Things usually revert to normal mode then.

Moe B
February 15th, 2013, 14:33
Hello pw5599

Read your posting yesterday and have been thinking about it ever since. I served two combat tours in Vietnam and seen my share of death. I came home with a thick emotional shell that would not let anything bother me. Over the years I,ve seen my Mom and Dad and three brothers pass on. I never cried. I've seen all my wife's family pass on and never cried, not to mention numerous friends over the years and never cried. However when my wife died, everything came to a head and I find myself crying quite a bit these days. Maybe it's delayed grief. I don't know.

While I've never broke down in front of friends, I thought I was close enough to my two adult son's to cry. I think it was awkward for them, as I never hear them talk or cry over their mothers passing.. The reason all of us are on this forum is to share our grief and know we are not alone in our feelings. For some reason, it just seems to help.

It could be your mother needs to know she is not alone in her feelings by seeing you shed a few tears and talk about what both of you are going through. I understand people not wanting to upset me, and that's what why they never talk about it, but it only makes me feel more alone and cut off. Just a thought................Moe B

j's daughter
February 16th, 2013, 07:47
Message deleted.

February 16th, 2013, 08:08
hello friends is it ok to add something here? i have struggled with my faith of late or maybe its the church thats been a problem, not sure, but i have reached a point now where i refuse to pretend it all ok when it isn't, it isn't ok that they have gone from us, it isn't ok that we are left alone now, that our future with our loves has now gone. there are good days and bad days, then there's the terrible lonliness, i just say whats true in my heart now, i dont want to cause hurt or make someine uncomfortable but i cant just pretend its ok anymore when it isnt.

dear pat keep on going.

dear bill let the pain out

dear chris thankyou, you are an inspiration to us all.

sending warm hugs and love to all.

chrissie. xx

j's daughter
February 16th, 2013, 12:12
Message deleted.