Empathizing with someone who has lost someone they love, or has a sick loved one

COVID-19 has cost a lot of people the lives of people they love. While I haven’t lost a loved one to COVID-19, it definitely has had me thinking about it. Around easter, I was thinking about this topic.

I write a lot of poems from an empathetic perspective, imagining myself in someone else’s shoes. So, I found myself imagining:

  • Being in a hospital room with a spouse, significant other, or best friend, connected to ventilators, on life support.
  • Being a parent by a sick child’s bed, wondering – is this COVID-19? Or just a cold or flu? Should I take them to the hospital? It’s so expensive. I lost my job and can’t afford the medical bills if they say it’s just a flu and send me away.
  • Being an old woman, next to a sickly old man, knowing the disease is likely going to kill them, and wanting to die with them rather than be left alone. 

I was laying next to my husband, thinking about people going through those kinds of things, imagining the pain or grief I would be feeling now, if I had been (or was, in the future) in that situation with my husband, or my children.

Hearing my husbands heart beat under my ear as I cuddle next to him and he sleeps, and thinking of God and Easter and my husband the atheist, I was inspired to write this song. I say song, because in my head, it is a song. But I haven’t found anyone to help me actually write out the lyrics, and haven’t developed that skill-set yet.

I tried submitting it to a newspaper to share, but didn’t hear back from them. I could have saved it for a future publication or attempt to win a poetry competition, but I think the world needs it more, now. If it inspires feelings in you, please comment, and let me know how it touched you, or if it inspired you to do anything (like give a loved one a hug). I love the concept of functional poetry that can inspire positive change. Trying to start a movement around that, but so far, it’s a vision of just 1 (aka, me).

Hey God

(c) By Alice Vo Edwards 4/21/2019

Hey god

If you’re out there…

Can you hear me?

I’m just lying here

Sending up a prayer

To the man upstairs.

To the man upstairs

Hoping that you hear my prayers

Can you hear me?

Lying here

There’s nothing in this world

More precious than this heart beat

Next to me

Beating steadily

Oh, so rhythmically.

But this world

Is so often hard and hurting 

I can scarily imagine

That something bad could happen

And this heart beating next to me

Oh so very rhythmically 

Could be stilled.

And little could be worse in my life

Then to have this heart beat die.

So yeah, that’s why 

I’m just lying here

Sending up a prayer

To the man upstairs.

Maybe it’s been a while

And I should have called more often 

But I’m not calling for me

Or, well, at least not completely selfishly.

I just wanted to say

Thank you for this life—

No, not mine—


This beating heart next to me

What would I need to do

Could I trade you

To keep it beating?

I would give my own if I could 

Yes, I would

They’d be better of without me

Than I would be, left alone

Without them…

So yeah, that’s why 

I’m just lying here

Sending up a prayer

To the man upstairs.

Hoping that you hear my prayers

Just to thank you for another heart beat

Another moment

Of joy in my life, with them by my side

And I want another—

Please, keep them alive

Don’t let them die

Don’t leave me alone here

I’d rather go, too.

So god if that makes me selfish

Maybe I am—

And maybe that’s why

I chose now to pray 

In all of this time

Of all possible days

Maybe it’s love

That’s brought me back to you

They might not believe

Can I believe enough for two?

Is my love enough

To alter our destinies

To make you choose me

If anyone must die?

Maybe that’s why

I’m just lying here

Sending up a prayer

To the man upstairs.

To the man upstairs

Hoping that you hear my prayers

Hey, God.

Are you out there?

If you’re out there,

Hear my prayer.