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The Tears Freely Fell by Jennifer Gurney

Updated: Mar 26

 The Tears Freely Fell

Jennifer Gurney

The tears freely fell

on my drive

in to school today

as I anticipated

your funeral

this afternoon

thinking what your family

must be feeling,

waking up to this


difficult day.

The tears freely fell

as I changed into

my black skirt

and top

remembering the last time

I had worn this outfit

to two funerals

in the same week,

something no one

should ever have

to do.

The tears freely fell

as I pulled into

the church parking lot

that was already

almost full

and still a half hour

before the service.

The tears freely fell

as I took my seat

in an empty row

of a church already

starting to fill up

with family and

friends of yours

so many lives you touched.

The tears freely fell

as photos of your life

played on a movie screen

and you seemed

larger than life 

in your death.

The tears freely fell

as your sister told

stories that

mirrored my own

of my own older brother

and I.

Those tears fell

harder and faster

as I tasted the

truth in them

of loss and love,

of so many 



that will leave a


in every heart present.

The tears freely fell

as your co-coach

told of your impact on

the youth here today.

And as they stood 

in your honor

and clapped it out


from across the church,

more of my tears

freely fell

to join theirs

wet on their young cheeks

many of whom

have never felt

grief before yours.

The tears freely fell

as your best friends and 

younger brother

reflected on your


your generosity,

your dedication,

your unwavering intention.

My tears joined their tears

and all the tears of

the hundreds of people

here today

to give voice to

our sadness

our loss

but also to our joy

at the light

you shone

in this world.

I’ll admit it -

I was a bit jealous.

For I didn’t know you.

I came to support

your parents, 

who are friends of mine,

and your brother,

who is a friend

of my son.

But in the telling of your life,

I grew to know you today.

The tears fell freely

for the loss of a 

good man

for the sadness 

of your parents

brother and sister



The tears freely fell

For all the other


I have sustained

and which now lie

a hair’s breadth

beneath the surface

save for times like these

when grief tugs on grief

and it rises to the

surface of the 

human heart

and cries out in pain

with all other 

grief it sees.

Grief is transparent,

it shows itself to all

and is known,

is recognized

in the showing.

For grief knows grief

and in comforting

the grieving,

we, too, are comforted.

And together we can

begin the long journey

toward healing.


our grief freely fell

with our tears

to try its best

to wash away

the heartache and loss.

The tears are 

cried out for today

and we are left 


in their wake.

It is uncertain 


they will return.

The only certainty is 


they will return.

For now,

we lay down our tears

we lay down our grief

and we rest.

Jennifer Gurney lives in Colorado where she teaches, paints, writes and hikes. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of journals, including The Ravens Perch, HaikUniverse, Haiku Corner, Cold Moon Journal, Scarlet Dragonfly and The Haiku Foundation.

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