top of page

a field guide to emotional support - Anya McMurrer

When I tell you about my pain,

please cup it in your hands.

Look at it with your eyes,

sift through it gently with your fingers,

then let it fall to the earth.

When I tell you about my pain,

I am not asking

that you pack it between your shoulderblades

or fit it in the spaces between your spine.

I am asking

for hands to hold,

eyes to see,

and for the earth

to take the rest.


"I am lucky and grateful to have a good friend who does an amazing job of supporting me when I’m struggling, just as I try to do for her. This particular poem is just a brief ‘ode to support’, or at least, the type of support that I really appreciate.

I constantly worry that I am a burden and that I put too much on my friends and family, and this is both a request and an appreciation for my support system that (a) acknowledges my pain but doesn’t take it on and (b) validates my feelings without trying to fix anything.

I have been in the role of supporter/supportee and I think that is the most important lesson - you can be there and sit with someone through a difficulty, but you cannot fix it. You can only listen."

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page