Grieving the death of someone we loved is the darkest road many of us will ever travel.
Each of us must find our own path as we navigate the uncharted territory of our new lives. Voices of the Grieving Heart isn't a map; it's a companion on that difficult journey. On these pages are the voices of 83 people who traveled their own roads through grief after their loved ones died. Along the way, they wrote poems about what they felt, experienced, and learned.
Voices of the Grieving Heart doesn't tell readers what to do or how they should feel. Instead, the contributors to this book generously offer their own truths, in hopes that they might help someone else. This unique volume contains over 160 selected poems, short narratives, and images by 83 contributors who share their journeys through loss, grief, and transformation, including:
- Deaths due to suicide, miscarriage and stillbirth, COVID-19, and other causes
- Reflections on grief from contributors whose losses happened decades ago
- Prompts and blank pages for readers to add their own poetry if they choose
"This beautiful book speaks directly to the heart. If you are grieving the loss of someone you love, it will help to validate your experience and feelings. It is as personal as it is universal."
-Debbie Augenthaler, LMHC, NCC, Author of You Are Not Alone
5-Star Readers' Favorite Review
"It's a tribe of individuals coming together as a collective in solidarity and in grief, but also in hope. It is permission to take all the time and space necessary to accept life, moving forward with a chunk of your heart missing, but also a bit of hand-holding so you know that when you are ready, there are others willing to listen. This is a beautiful anthology of work and I imagine many will find solace in its beautiful effort to help heal."
From the Back Cover:
When Mike Bernhardt's wife died, he turned to writing poetry as a tool of healing. He later solicited the poetry of other people whose loved ones had died and received hundreds of submissions from around the world. The result was Voices of the Grieving Heart, first published in 1994. More than just an anthology of poetry, it is a companion on the darkest road many of us will ever have to travel: grieving the death of someone we loved.
This 30th anniversary expanded edition contains over 130 selected poems by 80 writers who authentically share their journeys through loss, grief, and transformation, including:
- Deaths due to suicide, stillbirth, COVID-19, and other circumstances
- Reflections on grief, 30 years later, from contributors to the first edition of this book
- Blank pages for readers to add their own poetry, with suggestions for how to begin writing
"This beautiful book speaks directly to the heart with moving and powerful poetry from people who generously share their journeys of love, loss, healing, and hope."
Debbie Augenthaler, LMHC, NCC, Author of You Are Not Alone
"In an age where grief is made more complex by pandemic isolation, Voices of the Grieving Heart embraces readers within a healing community, where one hears their own voice emerging from the words of others."
Joe DeSantis, Chaplain, Samaritan Life-Enhancing Care
About the Author
Mike's first wife, Susan, died in 1991. In the years that followed, he published the first edition of Voices of the Grieving Heart, remarried, and raised a son with his second wife, Yvonne. Mike is a Certified Grief Educator and has volunteered as a peer grief support volunteer. He has spoken to groups, on radio, and on podcasts to discuss this book, his experience of grief, and how poetry can help us to express the inexpressible. Mike is also an award-winning travel writer whose work has appeared in many print and online publications. He and his family reside in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“Each poem is a perfect mirror, an encouragement to heal. This is the poetry of our joy and exhaustion, living and dying with the consequences of love. This is our voice when our heart is broken.”
Stephen Levine, Author of Who Dies?
"Voices of the Grieving Heart, carefully curated by Mike Bernhardt, is a profoundly compassionate friend of a book - listening, gently responding, sharing the heavy load of sorrow, letting anyone of any age living through any sorrow know, they are not alone. We will never be alone."
"Naomi Shihab Nye, Young People's Poet Laureate, Poetry Foundation
This beautiful book speaks directly to the heart with moving and powerful poetry from people who generously share their journeys of love, loss, healing, and hope.”
Debbie Augenthaler, LMHC, NCC, Author of You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide for Grieving, Healing, and Hope