You Won’t Always Be This Sad by Sheree Fitch


During my visit to Mabel Murple’s Book Shoppe and Dreamery last summer, Sheree Fitch spoke about her upcoming poetry book. She hasn’t written one for adults since In This House Are Many Women (1994). People have asked her why, and she’s said that it’s because she didn’t feel like she had anything more to say. Until now. Until the unexpected death of her 37-year-old son, after which her mother – who also lost a son – told her “You won’t always be this sad.”

After hearing Sheree’s story that day, I have thought of it many times – and marvelled at how that simple sentence can feel so comforting. And recently, more than ever, I have thought of it, and I’ve read her words, and I recommend them to anyone in need of a warm hug and a good cry.

The pen was heavy to lift. Then it became a wand of healing. A way forth. I wrote, wrote, wrote.

I read, read, read. As if books could save me.

These are my psalms of broken-openness.

You Won’t Always Be This Sad covers it all – every thought and emotion Sheree had and felt after the death of her son – it spares you nothing. And you don’t want it to.

Anger: “If I had a hammer / I’d shatter the stain glass window of daylight / kick the moon out of the sky...”

Sadness: “crying / this much / gives a person / an ice cream headache

Hope: “The day you wake up laughing / is the beginning of the beginning again...”

Comfort: “those who are on the other side / are never very / far / away / they are / ever there / over there / waving / saying we’re fine just fine

Gratitude: “The moments / I inhale the coffee grinds / pour water push brew / peel the orange / cross the road / where rooster crows / where donkey brays / where horses shudder / where lambs bleat / where blackflies bite / where dew sparkles / where I walk the labyrinth / the moment in that centre / when I can say / thank you thank you for the all / ALL of it

Beauty: Sheree paints a picture of her home in River John and feels grateful that she has “a beautiful place to be sad in“.

As much as this book is about grief, it is also about love. (“Because we love, we cry.“)  To grieve this big and feel this deeply, yet still see this amount of beauty in the world – enough to allow it to comfort you – one must have a big heart.

I can feel her love and joy for life in everything she writes. I look forward to her Tweets that so often take the form of poetry about the seasons/weather/birthdays/flowers/daily news/anything at all. Sheree Fitch is made of poetry; she has poetry coming out of her ears.

I have poems in my pocket / In a pocket in my jeans / Poems tucked Inside my boots / Poems in my dreams / Poems that r finished / Poems in my head / Poems for the living / Poems for the dead / Poems that r silly / Verse, perhaps, not art / My poems r my love notes / From my broken open heart  — Sheree Fitch, Twitter, April 30, 2020

After last month’s real-life horror show here in NS, I felt especially grateful for this book, and for Sheree’s word hugs.

There are gifts and joy in the midst of it all.



Be kind! Stay well!

21 thoughts on “You Won’t Always Be This Sad by Sheree Fitch

  1. A Life in Books says:

    ‘Word hugs’: what a lovely idea. I’m glad you found some solace, Naomi. The whole world’s having such a tough time right now but your part of the world has had an even tougher time. Sending a virtual hug x

  2. annelogan17 says:

    I was thinking of you Naomi, these past few weeks. I hope you’re doing ok in this (doubly!) difficult time. Sheree Fitch is such a Canadian treasure, no wonder you’ve found comfort in this book. I remember hearing about it and thinking what a wonderful and comforting title it was.

  3. Laila@BigReadingLife says:

    I have also had you in mind, Naomi, after the horrendous recent events. I’m so glad you had this book to bring you comfort and give you an outlet for emotions. It sounds like a real treasure – and I need to follow her on Twitter.

  4. Karissa says:

    This sounds like the perfect book for these times, especially for those of you in Nova Scotia. That line of her mother’s gives me shivers.

  5. madamebibilophile says:

    I’ve never read Sheree Fitch but I love the quotes you’ve pulled. It seems incredible that she found such humanity and hope after such immense personal tragedy.

    I was so saddened to hear of the events in NS. The pictures you’ve posted are beautiful. I do believe love and hope are stronger than anything else.

    • Naomi says:

      It’s amazing to me how much love and comfort I felt from seeing small gestures of support while walking around my neighbourhood. People are still good. ❤

  6. Susan says:

    This book & its words sound great for the times. I’m so sorry to all of those in N.S. for what happened. It was so stunning and so awful … that I can’t imagine what everyone there went thru … just coming to grips with this. It’ll take a long time. Meanwhile take comfort in warm-hearted books.

  7. buriedinprint says:

    What an apt reading selection for these troubled times. As you’ve said in the comment above, what would we do indeed.

    Along a similar line, Virginia Pésémapeo Bordeleau’s book Winter Child is just beautiful, or, maybe you’ve actually read that one?

    • Naomi says:

      No, but I would love to read it! I can get it through ILL, but obviously not right now. I really need to make a list for when we’re able to put things on hold again!

      • buriedinprint says:

        Oh, they shut down your hold options? Or, you’re just self-regulating? I can either making sense. I’ve only put about 10 items on hold during the lockdown (I suppose that sounds like a lot, but you will understand how small that number is given my addiction to library services LOL).

      • Naomi says:

        That sounds very sensible, actually – I’m impressed!
        Our library shut it down – we can’t even get into our accounts. I think they were afraid of the huge amounts of ILL requests that might build up. (Understandably!)

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