Sharing our communal grief and never losing hope

Marian Wright Edelman t580
Marian Wright Edelman



Children’s Defense Fund


Every day my very beautiful, brilliant and much beloved mixed-race African friend, Maria Nhambu – who was placed in a Tanzanian orphanage in her first week of life – feeds my spirit. She is a daily trove of shared wisdom and loving support. She recently shared a poem by Heather Plett, which profoundly spoke to me during this pandemic and turbulent political time. I hope it will move you too.


Today I will greet Grief

When it comes:

I will meet it at the door,

I will say “Come in, old friend.

Take off your shoes.

Settle into this comfortable chair.

Make yourself at home

In this messy, humble space.”


I will pour tea for Grief

And I will sit with it,

Sipping slowly as we

Stare out the window at the passing clouds.

I will listen to the

Hard stories of loss

Grief wants to tell.

I will breathe deeply into the ache

Grief lays before me.


I won’t say much

Grief doesn’t ask for many words.

I will mostly sit in silence

And I will let the tears flow

When Grief nudges the

Tender places in me.


When Grief is finished speaking,

I may invite Grief

To come to the canvas with me

To feel the ooze of paint

Between our fingers.

I may also invite Grief

To walk by the river with me

So that we can watch

The water flow past.


I won’t ask Grief to leave,

But when Grief is ready to go,

I will open the door and bid farewell.


Then I will put away the teacup,

Clean the paint off my hands,

And carry on.


– By Heather Plett


In these times, we must all hold on to hope and have faith that we can and will overcome whatever faces us today and continue to build a hopeful tomorrow for ourselves and our children.


Marian Wright Edelman is founder and president emerita of the Children’s Defense Fund whose mission is Leave No Child Behind. For more information, visit


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