The Elephant in the Room
There’s an 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.
It is constantly on our minds,
For you see, it is a very big elephant.
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’ and not have you look away?
For if I cannot, then you are leaving me
Alone . . . in a room . . .
With an elephant.
— Terry Kettering, in Bereavement Magazine
Reprinted in Ann Landers’ Column, Arizona Republic, February 12, 2000