“I’m Here” is a poem by James P. Graham. The author was just 17 when his mother died, and his little sister was 3. He wrote “I’m Here” so that his sister could remember their mother and how much she loved her children.
Graham wrote the poem in first person from the mother’s point of view as she watches her little girl grow up without her:
“I’ll kiss you goodnight, chase monsters away,
Warm up your heart on a cold winter day,
Be the sun on the skin, the wind in your hair.
I’m never too far, I’m standing right there.”
“I’m Here” is a poem that beautifully illustrates the love of a dead mother for the child she left behind. Poems like this can be very comforting to children. But in some cases, they have the potential to cause harm.
For example, some children who believe that their parents are watching over them from heaven or another spirit world may worry that the dead parent is “spying” on them and judging them. They may feel the parent will condemn them for any slight mistake.
They may even be afraid of the parent who has died and believe that they must be perfect to earn the parent’s approval.
The best way to counter this “judgmental parent” syndrome is to tell the child stories about the parent who died that show them that the parent was not perfect and would not be judgmental of childish mischief. For instance, a friend of mine told her grandchildren about their mother cutting off all of her bangs so that she went around with spikes like a porcupine’s sticking up from her forehead for a month.
Another way to make sure the child is not taking the poem the wrong way is to have a series of conversations with him or her. You might ask a young child, “What do you remember about Mommy?” A very young child may have few memories of the parent and may benefit from looking at pictures.
Children also need you to tell them that it’s okay to cry and feel sad about their loved one’s death. At the same time, they should hear that it’s okay to laugh and have fun remembering the good times they had together.
“I’m Here” addresses several of these issues:
“Live out your life and bid me farewell.
Find in your heart the strength to excel.
Your future is bright, go far, my dear.
Don’t get too sad, don’t worry.
Losing a parent to death is one of the greatest traumas a child can face. And getting through it requires lots of love and support. Sometimes seeking professional help is a good idea, depending on the circumstances of the death and the personality of the child. “I’m Here” addresses many of the feelings a child might have after the death of a parent. It also speaks to the feelings of a parent who is dying and leaving their child behind.
Families facing this sad situation might consider using this poem to offer consolation and inspiration.