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grieving heart

I found myself being silly, making a joke, a suffused bubble of light inside of me as I laughed. Then I felt guilty. That is how I know that I am still mourning mightily.

For anyone who is mourning and grieving, laughter and joy are still tightly intertwined with guilt and sadness. Our emotions are twisted like the ribbons of a thousand balloons.

We want to be happy, and laugh, we really do. But, a piece of our heart is missing and sometimes it affects our breathing, making it impossible to do so. Part of the oft repeated refrain is that our loved ones would want us to be happy. Yes, in a rational world, that has not been turned upside down with grief, that makes sense. However, there is nothing rational about grief.

It has no time limit. It does not travel in a straight path. It meanders, going up and down, peeking behind dark corners, causing an anxiety attack when and where you least expect it. Grief is a Rebel.

It colors everything we say or do, or how the world looks to us in our gray tinted lenses. Visions appear and then tears blot them into lost Monet paintings, colors running downward, and away, from us. Grief is an Artist.

You play all the right music and watch all the right movies. You seek out comedy and avoid terrible news stories. You try to think about something else or focus on someone else. Then you have a trigger… Today, someone told me about their sister-in-law’s passing at the age of 47. She left behind 11 orphaned children. Instantly, I was sucked back into the vision and heartache of children and grandchildren growing up without the rare and brilliant love of a mother. Grief is a vacuum.

You plan happy occasions and pick out special gifts or foods. Decorations are carefully planned and stockings are hung with care. Suddenly, you realize that it is all gone; nothing is really there, it is but an elaborate illusion. With a wave of a hand and a toss of the head, it all vanishes into thin air. We are stricken tiny and mute. Nothing is really as it seems. Grief is a magician.

A year ago, everything was the last. Each holiday, each photograph, each family occasion was the last. This year, everything is the first; the first of many without. With everything it has taken away, Grief has only given me one thing: the painful depth and true understanding of another’s endless mourning.


  1. That was beautiful. Thank you so much for that!

    • Tashan, thank you so much. Your comment means more to me than you can know. I am both saddened, and glad, that you found meaning in it.

      • I lost a baby brother when he was six months old. It was a beautiful but tragic thing that effects our family to this day. The loss of two nieces has also hit our family.
        Death is so incredibly painful, but the lessons you learn from it are incredibly meaningful.

      • Tashan, I am so sorry and saddened to hear of such tragic losses. The loss of a child never goes away. That must have been very difficult for all of you to bear. The passing of your nieces as well is such a large burden. We are supposed to “protect” our children; we want to believe it as if it is in our control. With each pregnancy, we envision the child and the future of family photographs. We mourn those that will never be and the growth that does not occur.

  2. I drove into town smiling; the anticipation of buying my husband’s Christmas gift setting a light, happy tone. I flipped on the car radio, jumping from station to station in hopes of finding holiday music. But instead I heard the rough, craggy voice of Johnny Cash singing one of the songs in his final album that was a collection of pain and remembrances, regrets, and loss. Suddenly it was my father singing Bridge Over Troubled Water, and I began crying like a child. I cried like my father’s child because I am. Never mind I am weeks away from turning 65. Never mind my father, ‘Daddy’, died two years ago. Never mind I was joyful only minutes before.

    My mother has Alzheimer’s. She is 86. She forgets sometimes that daddy is gone then suddenly starts trying to find him to remind him to take out the trash or to kiss goodnight.

    I grieve everyday for my father. I grieve for Mother too as she slips deeper into her own world. I understand grief. I respect it. I recognize the important part it plays in my life. I am working toward being able to sit with old memories in peace. But until that time comes, I’ll walk in grief’s shadow.

    • B ~ that is beautiful and, as expected, made me cry. I thought I was grieving all along. Then, I began again and it was not what I had thought before.

  3. I’ve had a few firsts this year. We will be lighting three candles at our table for Christmas dinner. Grief does have its own schedule, and can overcome us at some rather odd moments. I wish you peace.

  4. Blessings to you my dear. You have expressed grief so beautifully in your words.

  5. Thank you so very mcuh Suz! I appreciate your reading my posts and positive comments. I think that there is a whole world that has no idea and another whole world who think that they are all alone in the way that they feel and second guess and judge themselves for it.

    • There certainly is. Most people feel as if they are alone in dealing with grief (and all the others things that often come along for the ride) because it is not something that is talked about openly. The biggest thing is for others who have experienced this to reach out the hand of friendship so nobody is alone any more.

  6. This was absolutely beautiful. I’m going to come back to this one, because there are so many true things in it, and so powerfully said.

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