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The Poets

October 10, 2016

An Elegy to Heather Tripler



On October 10th, 2008, a woman entered my life who I've never met, and who I'll never forget.

When I arrived home from work that day there was a story on the news of a woman who was found dead on a park bench in Grand Junction. She was very young, only 34, homeless, and died there alone in the elements. Her name was Heather Tripler.

I can't even begin to explain the overwhelming grief and saddened that hit me after having heard this (a grief and sadness that's fresh with me ...still). A few days later it snowed, and as I stood there near the front door watching it calmly descend, I couldn't stop thinking about her- homeless and all alone in that park. This is when I knew that I had to write about her.

I promised myself that I would allow the poem to come to me on its own, to never force it, and to scribe every word as if Heather were standing there next to me. Two years later the poem was complete.


Initially, I was just going to keep the poem to myself, but something felt wrong about that. So I went online and, by searching the Grand Junction Free Press, found the name of a family member who I might be able to contact. And I did, and explained the how the poem came to be, and asked permission to post it- to my delight I was given permission.


And that's the story and context behind this poem- Heather's poem. As I said, though we've never met, as long as there's breath in this body, I'll never forget her.


Emerson Park
An Elegy on the Passing of Heather Tripler

There’s snow there now where once she lay
Alone that Autumn eve
And though that day seems far away
I still lamenting grieve

For she- a daughter, mother, friend
She pined, I’m sure, in grief
For hard distraught there came her end
By Death, that surly thief

She roamed, she roamed through deepest dark
Alone, no friend to guide
And when she came upon that park
There on a bench she died

No tear went forth, nor word was said
To her who lay asleep
Til angels by her bed were led
In solace ever deep

“Awake, dear child, slumber’s past”
They said in one accord
“Come to the warmth and light at last
For therein is the Lord”
-jwm

As of April 9th, 2010