Monday, September 8, 2014

Food for Thought: Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

Hello All,

Last week I attended the funeral of an old family friend. She was a wonderful woman with a very full and well lived life. When I spoke with her daughter after the service, she said that her mother knew that death was near, but not too worry. Her mother even requested that people wear bright colours to her funeral because black was just too morbid. This made me smile because the last time I saw her, she was wearing the most cheerful red sweater with different coloured flowers embroidered on it. I told her daughter this and she smiled too, saying "Yep, that's mom."

For today's food for thought, I am sharing the original version of the poem "Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep" by Mary Elizabeth Frye. According to recorded history, Mary wrote the poem in 1932. At the time, she and her husband were living in Baltimore. Staying with them was a young German Jewish woman named Margaret Schwarzkopf who was greatly concerned about her sick mother in Germany, but unable to go home due to the increasing anit-Semtic unrest. When she received word of her mother's death, Margaret was heartbroken that she could not return home for the funeral and her grief prompted Mary to write the poem.

As I mentioned, what I have posted here is the original version of the poem as confirmed by Mary herself in an interview on CBC radio in 2000. It has 4 additional lines that are not in common version of the poem heard today, which also has slight variation to some of the other lines as well. In any case, I think the original version is quite beautiful and I know our old family friend would like it very much.

Until next time,



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