Chopin suffered depression after the death of her husband and, shortly after, her mother. Left in debt, her late husband's business failed and she moved back to St. Louis after living in New Orleans. A family friend and physician suggested she turn to writing. She was prolific as a prose writer, often detailing conflicted emotions as a woman. Of her poems, however, only about 20 survive, including "If It Might Be":
If it might be that thou didst need my life;
Now on the instant would I end this strife
'Twixt hope and fear, and glad the end I'd meet
With wonder only, to find death so sweet.
If it might be that thou didst need my love;
To love thee dear, my life's fond work would prove.
All time, to tender watchfulness I'd give;
And count it happiness, indeed, to live.
*Recommended reading: Unveiling Kate Chopin (1999) by Emily Toth and, of course, Chopin's outstanding novel The Awakening.