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To Have You Back, There's Nothing I Wouldn't Do; My Journey Through the 7 Stages of Grief

Kathi writes about fossils and other earthly subjects, plus the natural fauna of Michigan, features in her community, poetry, and more.

In memory of my dearest Joseph

In memory of my dearest Joseph

I wrote this heartfelt poem a few months after my husband, Joseph, passed away. I was later told it reflects the bargaining stage of grief. Seven years later, I have updated my poem with an article at the end reflecting on my own process through the seven stages of grief. My purpose for sharing my personal journey is that it may bring comfort and hope to someone who recently lost a loved one!

To Have You Back, There's Nothing I Wouldn't Do

To have you back my best friend,

there’s nothing I wouldn't do

I’d swim in Lake Michigan from Saugatuck to St. Joe,

or run a hundred miles in the chilling snow

I’d even scrub the old pie factory single handedly,

or paint every shed on our property

I'd make every effort to keep up with the lawn,

even if it took me from dusk until dawn

I’d do it all if it gave me the chance,

to have you back, at least another glance

After your work shifts long past midnight,

I'd wake from my sleep to kiss you on sight

No matter how sleepy, I’d prepare you a meal,

you could smoke in the house if that's what you feel

I wouldn't mind when you brought home silly gadgets,

we could make room on a shelf or even a closet

It would all be worth it as long as it meant,

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I could have you in my life for another precious moment

I would give up anything upon God's request,

even if he asked for our home we've been blessed

Including our lovely garden we both toiled faithfully,

nothing material has more value than you, Baby

I’d give away everything I own for free,

to feel your strong arms around me,

or see you walk in the house and say, “What’s goin on?”

and flash that beautiful smile for me to gaze upon

My dearest husband,

Oh how I've learned the only thing that matters is love,

since the day you began guiding us from above

We struggled and built our lives which took years to achieve,

and now I must rebuild my life solitarily

It’s not going to be easy, but I have the will,

you've given me the strength to prevail, yes prevail

Because of you I’m a better me,

and you'll ALWAYS be that part of me

Until we meet someday in the heavens,

promise to take care of all of your blessings

And when that day comes, my best friend . . . my best friend,

I will sing with joy to see you then,

because you and I will be together again

We miss you Joseph

We miss you Joseph

Update; My Personal Journey Through The 7 Stages of Grief

Hard to believe it's been seven years since I wrote this poem after my husband had passed into the spirit world. I had meant every word of it as my world had been turned upside down. Today, I'm happy to tell you I have settled into a new life and feel the need to help somebody else who may be grieving. I'm sure you've all heard how "time" is the biggest healer. I agree. I can now say that I don't cry like I did in the beginning, and that was a lot. But just the other day, I saw a movie that reminded me of the last days of my husband's passing from cancer which surprised me with a bout of tears that felt as raw as that first year. It's true what they say, you learn to live without them, but you never get over them!

I'd like to share some things that helped me through those first years and soothed my hurting heart. First, those of you grieving need information. Some people seek a grief counselor or a group that commences on a regular bases. If that's not for you, learning the seven stages of grief alone can be immensely helpful. They let you know some things to expect and that you're not going crazy! Below, I have listed the seven stages along with my own personal experiences and how I got through each stage. You should know that the stages don't necessarily occur in a linear fashion, but rather more randomly, looping back and forth; or like circling around the winding road of a mountain top. Also, keep in mind, your situation is unique from anyone else, no two tragedies or strategies are alike!


Numbed disbelief; reality may be too painful to face. Shock is a way to protect us from being overwhelmed all at once. It can last for weeks, months or even years.

I remember the first words out of my mouth toward our youngest son having watched our loved one take his last breath, "I don't believe it, I don't believe it", I said over and over. Sometimes, even after seven years, I still don't believe it. I hardly slept that night and got up on a chilly November morning and sat outside falling in and out of tears. I said out loud, "Where are you?" Just then, a swarm of blue jays swept across the tree top canopy and a squirrel threw down a pine cone that landed right next to me. Then it started squawking, which reminded me of the way he used to impersonated Donald Duck. Somehow, I trusted my sense of intuition was telling me he was the instigator of all this letting me know he was close by in spirit! Anyway, I got through those first couple days with the support of close family and friends. I also just let the tears flow. Tears are God's gift to cleanse our souls. Damming up the pain can cause serious emotional damage down the road.




Suffering and unbelievable pain replaces shock and denial. The amount of grief you feel is equal to the love you shared. Never let anyone tell you how much to grieve or that there is a limited time you should do it. Also, it's normal to feel guilt wondering if there was something you could have done differently or maybe you regret the last words you spoke to your loved one.

I remember going over in my mind, and over again, the last days and moments of Joseph's life. I have since learned that this is very typical. But one way I got through the pain was by letting the tears flow when they crept in. I cried, and cried some more! I went for walks. I spoke out loud to him hoping his spirit heard me. I told him how sorry I was. I told him I loved him. I spent time in nature. We planted a tree in his honor. With my grown up son's, we visited the town he grew up in and his former closest school mates. I talked with our sons about him as often as possible. I read books about grieving. I wrote poems. I prayed for my healing and for our sons.




Anger can result from the feeling of powerlessness and frustration over our loss. We can be angry with our loved one for leaving us or we can be angry with ourselves or even God for letting it happen. We might ask the question "Why". Why did this happen? Why weren't my prayers answered? Bargaining is a way of railing against the powers that be ("I will never drink again if you just bring her back").

My poem is an example of bargaining. Having written it down and publishing it on has had a huge healing effect. It somehow relieved some guilt I was feeling, as well. I wished I had told my husband more often, in this life, that I loved him and vowed to tell him everyday for the rest of my life, in spirit, how I love him and feel his presence receiving my heart.

The response I received from my poem was so touching and very healing knowing others understood. I can't say I experienced the anger that others do, but clearly can understand. This should be kept in check so that you don't lash out and lay unwarranted blame you'll later regret.


A long period of sadness and reflection will likely settle in. This is a normal stage of grief so don't let well-meaning others talk you out of it. It's a time of sensitivity, emptiness and despair. You deeply feel the magnitude of you loss.

I remember this time in my life, well. I wondered if I was always going to feel that way. Memories poured in which made me feel sad. This is when I started a journal and wrote all the things I appreciated about my husband. I jotted down a list of the best, most fun times we shared. I put the worst struggles we had aside and realized they were part of our growth. I wore his clothing sometimes to feel closer to him. I walked a lot and got in touch with nature. I spent a lot of time alone. I practiced silent moments of reflection and learned about meditation. And, of course, I cried. In the process, I began to believe stronger and stronger his spirit was close to me leaving signs and symbols of his loving presence. A friend put me in touch with a psychic medium which confirmed my intuition was right, he was watching over me and relayed a few messages! It was so comforting and I'll never forget it!




This stage is when your emotions have calmed and you start to adjust to your loved one's absence.

This happened for me around fifteen months after my husband, Joseph's, passing. I had stopped having regular bouts of deep gut crying. I had begun a new job, some new hobbies and was getting back into more activities in general. I started some deep personal soul searching at this stage. I was especially interested in what happens when we die and a "knowingness" filled my being that we don't ever really die. We just change. Suddenly, it was as if information about what happens when we leave our Earthly lives was dropping out of the sky and into my lap to discover. It was there all along, I just hadn't been ready to see it. Maybe that was the plan all along and the deep pain I felt from my husband's passing was the catalyst. It reassured me that my husband was in a happier lighter place and his life and work continued there.


Your mind starts working again, you become more functional and begin concentrating on the more practical matters of life.

If I had to describe this stage in one word, for me, it would have to be "spirituality"! One day while wandering in my yard and feeling particularly lost, I got down on my knees and asked God, "Who are you?" Well let me tell you, he/she has never stopped showing me, or maybe I have been more receptive. At any rate, this has become center stage in my life as I've truly learned that we are three part beings, body, mind and spirit and am no longer afraid to die.

I was first influenced by Neale Donald Walsch's book, Conversations with God; along with too many more other influences to mention. I have grown in this area immensely and have allowed life to flow, to let it happen like riding the waves of the sea. It has helped me to release many of the fears I felt in the beginning, like finances for example. My diet is better to nourish my body, and in keeping a healthy expansion of my mind, for one, I have written a novel. I have also delved back into photography which I had put aside when my husband was alive. I have revamped our landscape as well as the three main living areas of our home. I believe I have received much of my strength and inspiration to accomplish all this from Joseph's spirit and God's angels. As far as developing a new relationship partner, I am perfectly happy being single and trust if its supposed to happen, it will. I haven't yet worked that out. It's still difficult to imagine being with anyone other than my Joe.




Even though your life will never be the same, you have grown and are moving forward. It doesn't mean you will never feel sad over your loss or that your memories will fade, but the wrenching pain will recede. You have accepted your life still has purpose and there are others who still need you. You start to plan things and look forward to the future.

I do look forward to the future and for the first time want to make plans to visit people I haven't seen in a long time and maybe take a trip, perhaps even a cruise. I also think about how my son's need me, which keeps me strong. One of the messages from my husband's spirit, conveyed to me by my intuitive niece after our memorial celebration of his life, was . . . "Everything Will Be Okay". Boy, have I hung on to those four words, especially whenever things have been uncertain, and I now believe it from the bottom of my heart. Whenever I feel any doubts, I come back to that message every time! I am so thankful for it and for my Joe, forevermore!



© 2010 Kathi Mirto


Donna Rayne from Sparks, NV on December 21, 2019:

Dear Kathi,

Firstly, I am so sorry for your loss, I have no idea how that must have felt and surely you still feel this day. Poetry helps us to get our feelings out and draws pictures of our hearts and releases the sadness if yet, for a moment as we reflect on the beautifulness one has kissed our lives with. You had this love that so many set a lifelong quest to find. You indeed were blessed.

Hope you are feeling better today. A beautiful poem my dear just beautiful!

Kathi Mirto (author) from Fennville on March 11, 2013:

Hello Cam, thank you for coming here, it's been a while since I've visited this hub as it always brings tears. I'm so sorry to hear about your wife's passing. I think I read somewhere you were together 24 years. .. that's a long time isn't it. Seems we have much in common, first and foremost having lost a spouse which turns your world upside down. I see you like photography and rock and fossils. That's so cool your wife was an Earth Science teacher. I hope you know she is close to you in spirit and probably tries to get your attention intuitively. My Joseph lets me know in his ways. It's been three years now for me and the pain has subsided, but I'm still waiting for the day when I can think about him and just smile without that feeling of void other's have described.

So glad to have met you here . . . Epi sent me over to your site. He likes to introduce people and he's usually spot on . . . hee. Look forward to getting to know you further here on the hub. Take care, Kathi :O)

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on March 10, 2013:

Well, what can I say, other than can and do understand this. Blessings form northern, Michigan.

Kathi Mirto (author) from Fennville on May 09, 2011:

I'm so sorry to hear that Hyphenbird and I hope love returns to your life sooner than later! My best wishes to you

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on May 08, 2011:

This was an extra poignant read today as I am missing someone whose love can never be forgotten or lessened by absence. It is a lovely and touching poem filled with hope and faith in the future. Thank you.

Kathi Mirto (author) from Fennville on May 02, 2011:

Your fine comment means a great deal to me Fennelseed! Thank you so much for the warm thoughts!

Annie Fenn from Australia on May 01, 2011:

Oh, the longing, just for a moment, just for a smile. A beautiful poem from the depths of your soul. Your husband is beside you every minute of the day, I am sure.

Kathi Mirto (author) from Fennville on April 13, 2011:

Thank you for stopping by Believes, I'm very sorry to learn of your husband's passing. My Joe passed November 13, 2009. I think about him all the time and tell him everyday I love him! How are you doing these days? Has it gotten any easier for you? You'll be in my prayers.

Believes from Midwest USA on April 13, 2011:

My husband who also was my best friend, he went to be with the Lord July 16, 2009. Lovely poem..I understand the longing for my best friend too. This was a loving tribute to your husband..

Kathi Mirto (author) from Fennville on March 19, 2011:

Thank you Beberlee, he was my best friend and still is on the other side!

Beverly from Philadelphia on March 18, 2011:

great poem .. Lot of comments to :)

Kathi Mirto (author) from Fennville on March 17, 2011:

Wow, horseback, I greatly appreciate it. It means a great deal to me!

ahorseback on March 17, 2011:

Fossillady, I published a hub today inspired by your poems and spoke of your inspiration, I hope you don't mind . This is a beautiful tribute o a loved one , I just couldn't let it go! Beautiful writing.!

Kathi Mirto (author) from Fennville on February 24, 2011:

Your kind thoughts are so very warming! I am smiling right now thinking of your words and thinking of my Joe too! Thank you, it means a lot to me!

toknowinfo on February 24, 2011:

Hi Fossillady,

You write so beautifully through your pain. My heart aches for you, as you so poignantly expressed your longing for your husband. I hope your journey brings you to a place where the sun warms your soul and the memories of your husband can make you smile, even if it is for brief periods of time. Thinking of you and wishing you easier times ahead.

Kathi Mirto (author) from Fennville on February 23, 2011:

b. you are a very understanding lady, i'm so very glad i met you on the hub! your kind comments are felt deeply and comforting! bless you

b. Malin on February 23, 2011:

Oh Fossillady, what a truly Beautiful, Beautiful Tribute to the one you Lost, but Loved so well...I do believe you will see him once again...when it's time. Thanks for sharing your heartfelt thoughts in such a rich and rewarding read. LOL.

Kathi Mirto (author) from Fennville on December 23, 2010:

Thank you badegg! I understand the meaning of your words as you put it so beautifully.

Del Banks from Southern Blue Ridge Mountains on December 22, 2010:

Very nice. I could feel your sorrow for your lost spouse. Your words were like an iron hand in a velvet glove.

Kathi Mirto (author) from Fennville on December 18, 2010:

Thank you so much w3onset

w3onset from Egypt on December 18, 2010:

Thank you for sharing these Pretty impressive words,

voted up and beautiful!

Kathi Mirto (author) from Fennville on December 10, 2010:

Your kind words are deeply appreciated more than you know! Thank you Epigramman

epigramman on December 10, 2010:

..... you are the prettiest most enduring poetic flower here at the Hub for writing something this epic - this profound - this sweet - and this is true - because the truth is found here in someone as unique as you!!!

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