On Loss and Grief

2013-11-27 09.57.57

Grief, my new constant companion, has moved in. I thought I’d take a good look at him since we’re spending so much time together now. And I’ve realized a few things. Grief is not sadness. I get sad when I break a nail, or when the shoe I want is not available in my size. I get sad when someone calls my son a wimp. But this feels different. Grief is so much more complex.

When we lose someone, there’s a sudden, jarring, almost violent realization that life is very different. At 11:00, you’re minding your own business. At 11:01, you blink, and all of a sudden, every thing and every moment is different. Am I sounding dramatic? Perhaps, but I think I’m right.

When you lose someone, you suddenly realize how this person bookended your days–you wake to him with a Good Morning, and you close your eyes and thoughts to him at the end of the day with a Good Night. In the moments in between, you share mundane thoughts and events. You share dreams and goals and successes. You share your fears and failures. You share meals. You share coffee.

At 11:01, you turn to tell him something, to share something with him, and suddenly there’s no one there. There’s no one there to take your thought, to take your frustration, to take your coffee, to take your hand.

When you share your moments and your life with someone, he permeates your very being. How you think, what you’re thinking. Oh, he would love this sweater, it’s a blend. Oh we have to try that new restaurant. How would he respond to this issue, he’s so gracious and has a better way with words.

Grief is so difficult and overwhelming because it’s not just the loss of one person in your life, one relationship in your life, one thing. It’s the daily, minute by minute reminders of this loss. Every moment every day I am reminded of this loss. I am forced to grieve every minute of every day. Each time I reflexively turn to tell him something. Each time I think of how to respond to someone more graciously. I am forced to say good-bye every. single. minute. of. every. single. day. I feel so untethered without my bookends. And I feel so lost with what feels like only half of each minute in between. I am drowning under the weight of each of these minutes.

He taught me to be a better person in every way. So when I make decisions now, when I think things through, I am reminded of him because he is so much a part of who I am now. And these constant reminders have turned into continual good-byes to him. This is grief.

And I realize how fragile everything in life is, and how comfort begets taking something or someone for granted. I took great comfort in the crook of his arm. In his unconditional support and belief in me. In his random thoughts that were so quirky. In knowing every time I reached out, he would respond–every text, every call, every email, every question, every proclamation. I loved to fall into all of those and wrap myself up in the comfort of everything he was to me. I found great joy in that. And I got used to it. And suddenly, at 11:01, I find myself with nothing to wrap around me. And I am cold.

Yes, I am well aware time will turn grief into a dull sadness, when enough days of 11:01 turn into 11:02 and I am still here. But I will always remember he loves his sweaters as blends.

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30 Responses to On Loss and Grief

  1. Pingback: Put the Armor Down, Be Vulnerable, & Marinate | BonneVivanteLife

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  3. Dani says:

    This gave me chills.

    Beautifully written. With beautiful heart.



  4. Thank you for recommending this. I can definitely relate to the honesty and rawness of it. Your descripton of grief in this context is so perfect. I understand the continual goodbyes. Thank for writing such a beautifully open piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Eric says:

    This post really struck a chord with me. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been exploring your blog over the past few days. You’re an awesome writer.

    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eric, thank you s much for reading my words, thank you for taking the time to share. I’m so glad my words resonate with you, yet I’m sad to hear you too have felt such visceral grief. I hope you’re in a place of peace these days-


  6. Lovely words! Beautiful writing, your blog is a pleasure to read.

    Liked by 1 person

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  14. Kristen says:

    This is the first time I have commented on a blog. I am so moved by your words and I want to thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kristen, thank you. I’m honored my words moved you enough to take the time to comment. That means so much to me, thank you. Truly, this exchange right here, is why I write. I’m grateful my words have touched you, yet I also realize you too have suffered a loss great enough for these words to resonate. And for that I’m sorry. Wishing you all the best-


  15. Reblogged this on BonneVivanteLife and commented:

    Friends, one of my favorite essays ran in the Huffington Post earlier this week. I’m reblogging it for you now in case you missed it the first time around.


  16. This post rings with so much truth and vulnerability. Thanks for sharing so deeply of your life and self. I’m sorry for your loss, and glad that you seem to have turned it into greater love, compassion and wisdom to share with others. blessings, Brad

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Julia says:

    Thank you for this. Allow me to respond with my analogy… I’m successfully wading out of that muck at present. Thankfully. Realising new things and thoughts with each step. My swamp has a long (maybe, not so long nowadays) and shallow climb for me still to wade through, but the steps ahead are getting easier and foot placement much more clear as I go along. I am quite aware now, that my reaction to this event is a typical one and quite a universal one.

    I was broken up with by a husband and the father of my 4yo, 2yo and 11mth old babies, four days after I planned, organised and single-handedly catered for his 40th birthday celebration, after work one Wednesday evening, before dinner and without any warning. Sleep deprived, unsupported (by him), still breastfeeding and trying to be the proverbial mechanic and daily organiser that kept the household running, I, and who I was, was rejected for another ideal he had obviously (now) worked towards and wished for, for a while. After a time of reeling in disbelief and reckoning, I accepted my life had completely changed track. Your description above of grieving is highly apt.

    I do find myself wondering somewhat, about how an intellient human being could throw in the towel so rapidly, unthinkingly and in such an ego-centric manner, without any opportunity for my say to be considered by him. So incredibly selfishly. But I know that thinking about this is not a productive use of my energy.

    His eggs are now in one basket only. If or when that basket breaks, there will be little else for him, sadly. His entire family, my entire family and our mutual friends (and even some of his work colleagues) have reacted accordingly and support me wholeheartedly, on a practical but mostly a moral level.

    I have written few words down since the beginning of this experience. I often ponder that I “should write this stuff down” but I don’t, much. It’s not to suggest that I won’t – though I have clearly done so here. However, what I currently do is read. A lot. Your post has resonated with me, and I wish to thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Julia, thank you so much for taking the time to comment, and for sharing your experience so deeply and openly. I am sorry for your loss, regardless of how universal you rightly point it out to be. I am glad to hear you are steadily rising from that place of grief and despair. Your strength and resilience shines through. It’s common to try to understand why, how. You’re smart that continuing to think on that is not positive for you. Knowing why and how does not change the facts, and most of the time we never really know why. It just is, and you’re rightly using your energies to continue to another place in your wonderful life. Keep the reading. Keep the opening up of yourself to share and connect with people–I’m glad you did so with your comment. I wish you only the best in your journey. I know you will shine brightly 🙂


  18. Jackie says:

    I feel like a grief expert, having experienced many losses in my lifetime. Your words captured the feelings of grief so well. I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that as you heal and share your story, you will help others heal as well. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A grief expert–I like that. Not so much that you’ve felt the visceral pain of loss and grief, but that notion that you’ve felt the raw edges of grief. Thank you so much for your supportive words. I do hope my words can help someone, that it can be a soft place to land and rest awhile. Take good care of yourself as well!!


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  20. Janice Wald says:

    You nailed this! Your hook was jarring. I love Sarah B’s Brave.
    What is your blog niche?
    Sorry doesn’t help, but I am. I found you on Danny Ray’s site.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Janice! Thank you so much!! I love Sarah B’s authenticity, love her messages! I see you caught that, not many people do!! Thank you also for your kind words, I have to say this is my favorite piece. There’s something about pain that brings out the best in me 🙂

      Your question is a good one, I’ve actually been thinking of this a lot lately, as I’m considering writing a book. I’d say my niche is well-being, almost self help-ish. Relationships but not in the typical dating-relationship. But relationships with self, others, community. I write about living boldly, navigating life compassionately and kindly when the world isn’t.

      Oh what is the url to Danny Ray’s site? I tried to look it up but couldn’t find??
      Thank you again for stopping by and leaving feedback!! Really great to meet you!


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