The Elephant In The Room by Terry Kettering

Grief is a very painful, personal thing. Often when people experience grief they withdraw. Sometimes when someone sees you grieving they don’t know what to say and the silence becomes this great big presence in the room no one can deny but no one talks about. I found this poem several years ago and found it helped to break the silence. I pray that it helps someone today.

“The Elephant in the Room” is an English idiom for an obvious truth that is being ignored. It is based on the fact that an elephant in a small room would be impossible to overlook.

The Elephant In The Room
By Terry Kettering

There’s and 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.
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


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