Monday, September 05, 2016

Gobsmacked by Grief, Again

"Love can only be found through the act of loving."
Paulo Coelho
(I could send a letter to you. But how would I know it had arrived?)

I’d lost, and then found, my planner from last year. I was going through it, just remembering things, and I came across this piece of a quote, “…the intelligence to tell a disappointment from a disaster.” I need more of that “intelligence” (I would call it wisdom). The sentence was in a book called Kayak Morning, written by a father after his daughter’s death. Kayaking in the morning was one of the ways he coped with his grief.

I couldn’t remember if the daughter’s death was sudden and unexpected or due to an illness, and expected. It makes no difference, either way it is hard and you are never prepared.

But here, in my son’s birthday month, I thought about when I was pregnant with him. I was put on bed rest. I think it was somewhere in the middle of July. I was having small contractions and they monitored them from home, from my bed. I questioned the idea that I was having contractions so soon. The nurse laughed and said, “Yes, you can call yourself in labor.” And we joked about the record setting length of my labor. There was nothing for me to do but lie in bed and rest, waiting and hoping I’d not give birth too soon.

And then, because of my wondering about whether the author’s daughter died suddenly, I thought of my son’s death. On the surface, one might say it was a sudden death, or unexpected death. But because of his illness, his dying was like my birthing him—it was an extended (and sometimes scary) process. In the joy, those trials are forgotten. But today, in my sorrow, I remember.

And that's how grief is. You're just bopping along, minding your own business and bam, you're in another space and time, sometimes crying, sometimes laughing, and always, longing for presence, for touch, for one more conversation, just a tiny moment longer, please.

(Could we just sit together a minute, one more time?)

(It is his birthday month, this year will make 5 years, one of his friends posted something on Facebook about thinking of him and the tears falling as she worked, my youngest daughter and I dreamed of him on the same night. This is grief: the memories and tears flow, they mix and mingle with the rest of my life's current. The grief does not consume me. It does add a wash of color here and there, changing the landscape of my life, like the seasons of nature change the landscape of the earth.)

 (If I could find the entrance to get to you, would I enter? 
Truth is, you are not gone. I stand on this shaky ground holding you in my heart.)

(My thoughts on the "You Are Loved" card.)


  1. I can really hear your voice in this.

  2. I have Tyler's birthday month in my calendar so I can help you remember him.

  3. Those stealth attacks of grief... you describe them so well.

    And gobsmacked is one of my favorite words, mainly because you just know what it means the first time you hear it.


    1. Thanks, you! I've been missing you a lot these days...


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