By Patrick Dower
In between the happy times, I sometimes have sad days.
My tear ducts sweat and my stomach turns. My silver lining fades to grey.
My sister – she throws tantrums. My brother – he slams doors.
The one time I saw Mummy cry, she slinked slowly to the floor.
There are some solemn days when people are sad with you.
Like when I lost my grandma, my grandpa lost her too.
I’m sure the house gets lonely when we’re all asleep.
And on some nights, when the scene’s just right, the neighbour’s puppy weeps.
I know my Dad gets sad sometimes. In fact, he’s sad a lot.
But no matter how glum he seems to be, Daddy says he’s not.
Sometimes he’s blue but peaceful. Some days he’s mad and red.
On other days he’s so far down he can’t get out of bed.
But I know he’ll get better. Mum thinks he will too.
She tells me, “Love, he’ll make it out as long as he has you”.
Soon he will be happy, but, until that time,
I’ll just be glad that his imperfect life is one with mine.
Sadness finds us, day or night, to remind us all to give.
It lets us know that our happy lives are better shared than lived.
Patrick says: I used this as the stimulus for a Social and Emotional Learning discussion with my Year 5s late last year. It was inspired by several conversations I have had with students about mental health – particularly the differences and similarities between emotions and illness.