15 November 2012

you ride the wave

it washes over you while you are standing in the christmas aisle at target. while you are looking at little cardboard christmas houses that light up. you are not even thinking about it. and then you are. around you, people are buying string lights and pillow cases and giant bags of cat food. you are pushing your plastic red cart down crowded aisles and then you are crying. in public. you are crying in public. you never cry in public.

it sneaks up on you while you are reading a book to your eight year-old son. bam. there it is. you struggle to read the words, to finish even one sentence. you are too tired to tell him why but you tell him anyway because you can't hide it forever. you finish the chapter, climb out of his bed into your own and fall into a deep, boneless sleep. if you could, you'd sleep forever.

it knocks the wind out of you while you are driving. when the sun is shining and the radio is on and your mind is in seventeen different places. you grip the wheel and ride the wave. you want to pull over but you don't. you roll down the window instead. and you ride the wave.

this is grief.


  1. Hope you feel better soon. This time of year can be really hard, especially if you have lost a loved one. Thinking of you xx

  2. this is a beautiful expression of that grief.

  3. I lost my mum shortly before you did and I know what you're writing about. It's always the small, ordinary details that get me -- a song, a new store I know she'd like, her teacups.

  4. it's the sucker punch of grief that always takes my breathe away - sneaky and insidious.

  5. Andrea
    You are not alone. 9 years ago we lost our third child. Although we only had 21 days together, he will never be forgotten. It took me a solid year until I could function semi-normally. And another year after that to not "lose it" in public places. Even now feelings engulf and overwhelm me...as they did this morning after reading your post. You will make it through...creating and making saved me and put me back on the road to mental/spiritual health. I just wanted to let you know that I admire your honest and open posts...and you are in my thoughts for healing and blessings.

  6. i wish i was closer. so I could just bring you so tea and just sit. thinking of you lovely friend thinking of you a lot.

  7. You are so right. Thanks for writing about it.

  8. Big, big hugs. I also have lost it in public. Standing at CVS over a can of peanuts. It had been a week since we lost Dad. Now it's five months. People talk about "feeling better and getting better". It's not like having a cold! Such losses carry tremendous weight. I have been journaling up a blue streak in a minute way, it has helped me. I also have been blogging about it. I wish that our culture would allow us the time to grieve as a few days is not enough. I am grateful for bloggers like you who open up and share so much. It helps all of us feel less alone.
    Sending you big hugs.

  9. It is so hard. When I lost my papa, I remember saying that I wanted to jump ahead in time about three years, just so the wallop of grief wasn't so hard to handle. It's been 8 years and it feels like yesterday and it feels like long ago. It has been come easier, but then it hits you full force all over again at the strangest times. Much love to you.

  10. That was totally spot on! Very well said. Remember grief takes as long as it takes and there is no right or wrong way to do it.

  11. Peace Blooms by Maya Angelou

    And when great souls die,
    after a period peace blooms,
    slowly and always
    irregularly. Spaces fill
    with a kind of
    soothing electric vibration.
    Our senses, restored, never
    to be the same, whisper to us.
    They existed. They existed.
    We can be. Be and be
    better. For they existed.

  12. i'm so so so sorry for your loss, andrea.

    keep sharing how you feel with us. this is so beautifully written. it makes me hope that your write a books someday because i already know that i would love it.

    also, you reminded me of this poem that i love... xoxo

    the thing is

    to love life, to love it even
    when you have no stomach for it
    and everything you’ve held dear
    crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
    your throat filled with the silt of it.
    When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
    thickening the air, heavy as water
    more fit for gills than lungs;
    when grief weights you like your own flesh
    only more of it, an obesity of grief,
    you think, How can a body withstand this?
    Then you hold life like a face
    between your palms, a plain face,
    no charming smile, no violet eyes,
    and you say, yes, I will take you
    I will love you, again.

    by Ellen Bass

  13. And it sucks so terribly.
    You are in my thoughts.
    And if u ever need to talk, I'm here.

  14. yes.
    sending over so much love.

  15. I know this feeling all too well. Losing a loved one is the most painful situations life throws at us. Thinking of you. xxoo

  16. I started crying while reading this because you have captured it perfectly. I understand.
    I have no words other than to say I love you my friend and my heart is with you.

  17. Knocked the wind out of me reading this. Xo.

  18. Such a perfect and beautiful capture of grief. And I'm so sorry you are in it. xoxo

  19. Oh Andrea, just this morning I cried for my sister in Target...wanting her to weigh in: which front door mat for the holidays - the snowflake, or the cardinal? Yesterday, heading home from dropping my 8-year-old at school, the sun burning into my windshield, tears sprang up from nowhere. In 3 and 1/2 weeks, it will be one year. I remember being out at sea, where you are now. I remember telling my husband, I am out at sea, I don't know if I will ever return. As you ride the waves, and the waves ride you, you will one day see the shore again. You won't return to it the same person, but your mama will bring you back and heal your pain, I promise. I feel the pain in your words, I respect how deeply you hurt. I'm not sure anything makes us feel more human than grief. I haven't seen you in 20 years, but I want to hug you, and cry with you. xoxo

  20. "I'm not sure anything makes us feel more human than grief."

    I think grief is linked to joy; the more joy there was, the greater the grief will be. Your grief is a testimony to your love.

    Your writing blew me away.

    My Papa died 31 years ago on November 19th. He was 49, the same I am now, and still a wave will wash over me when I least expect it.

    There would be no joy in a life without grief.

  21. Perfectly described. I have often wondered at the sheer force of this grief. One minute all is calm and then the wave slams into you and you're on your knees. It is an odd and powerful thing. It makes me feel so out of control.

  22. THIS, exactly.

    thank you for sharing.

  23. this is truth. this is what it is. hug and more hugs to you friend.

  24. "No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear." ~C. S. Lewis

    With grief we expect the emptiness, the ache in the pit of our soul ... why did no one ever tell us how afraid we would be?

    big hug

  25. hug my friend.
    you said it.


  26. I have been slipping on my blog reading lately, but I'm finally catching up and I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. I just wanted to say how beautiful your entire blog is, and even reading further back I just think your entire blog is just so dreamy - I feel like any time I look at it, it can match my mood whether I'm happy or sad. It's magical.

    Grief is tricky. I was not prepared for all the emotions that came with it. Sadness, anger, depression, guilt, regret, denial, rage, hopelessness. I'm sure it's different with everyone, but for me with time it dulled. Or perhaps I've dulled. I don't think it ever really gets better, but you do get through it. I guess there is no choice.

    Anyways, I just wanted to say how beautiful your entire blog is, and the video for your mom, and of course all your photos.

  27. finally, someone has put it into words.
    thank you.

  28. yes yes ---this exactly. Thank you.

    Your words brought on a huge wave, but I could let it wash over me and cry an ugly cry because all my babies are sleeping and they won't be scared by watching their mama cry again because her mama is gone.

    It's been eight months and I still feel at sea. I wish for old rituals, that I could wear black or turn all the mirrors or do something that says, stand back, I'm not myself right now or I'll be back but let me be right now, in this inbetween place---both here and with her at the same time.

  29. Yes, that is grief. I have been living with it as well. Virtual hug to you.

  30. I am so sorry for your grief - and remember the rawness of that 7 years ago when my brother passed. It is so surreal that the world seems to be going on as usual when yours has broken in half. Sending you peace during this time.