Abraham Stood Up
David Brent, MD


Two days together, treated as one,

A day of celebration of a journey that
Has lasted 50 years,
And also, the remembrance of a life cut short.
You raised four children, but buried one.


While mourning is the price we pay for loving,

Grief can also purchase love.
From losses’ ashes can spring the desire
That allows families to remake themselves anew.
Though the one whose life has ended can never be reclaimed,
Still, your legacy includes three who bear his name.

Neither dislocation, grief, nor unforgotten loss
Have diminished your embrace of life, or of each other.
The longing of desire has in fact increased your resolve
To count precious those dear to you
And bring them into your tent.
Let this double day, then, celebrate
Your unbroken will to transform pain to purpose, and loss to love,
Like Abraham, who, to claim his field
Stood up in his great grief and would not yield,
Or Isaac, enshrouded in prayer, also bereaved,
Loved his wife and was thus relieved.

DAVID BRENT, MD lives in Pittsburgh with his wife Nancy and their five children. He is a professor of child psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. This poem was written on the occassion of his parents' 50th wedding anniversary, and the 20th yahrzeit for his brother, James Brent.