It’s funny. I thought I knew what I was going to be thinking about during my quiet time. Yes, even the sound of an engine can be less invasive to my thoughts than my four children and husband! I was going to tweak the schedules I’d made out for me and the kids, think about my classes, the kids new classes, my painting projects, the adorable photo boards I’d planned on making with the kids this very afternoon. But . . . someone showed up. Someone I hadn’t seen for a little while .. . or at least like this . . . . And plans changed.
You see, I’ve been thinking about Grief for some time now almost like a person. I know it’s not, REALLY. But it sorta shows up like that. Like a companion. I at least want to give it a capital for the first letter of its name. This might sound funny, but I wasn’t expecting it to look like this today.
I have come to understand a little something about Grief. I never thought a year ago I would have any perspective at all. And now, I don’t know, I’m no expert, by any means. I just have some experience, you know? Anyway, like I was saying, I’ve learned something about Grief. I don’t think it’s something that ever goes away. I think it just looks different. It changes faces. And it looks different on different people. Grief can be felt on the sunniest of days. And it can express itself even in a smile and a happy recollection. Grief can be in laughter and enjoyment of holding sweet pictures (or scrolling through them as we do these days.) Its just there. Dressed differently today than yesterday. Grief can be bold and strong, giving you all the more reason to fight for the next. It can be tired, very, very tired.
And today, it showed up very much dressed just the way I’d first encountered it. It took me. It really shook me. I mowed and mowed and mowed. I cried. The tears streamed and the sun beat on my face. And I don’t know exactly what it was that moved me. I don’t know what makes today so different than yesterday. I can’t forecast what tomorrow is going to look like based on today. That’s just the way it is. And that’s just the way its going to be.
A good friend recently described to me that its like learning to live with the person you’ve lost in the “sidelines of your mind.” This said it well for me. My own experience is that I can continue to be productive. I can think, I can focus. I have laughed. I have been sad and frustrated over other things. You may think it is an exaggeration for me to say that I don’t know if there has been a second that Pam has been out of my mind. But I don’t think it is. I’m trying to think. It doesn’t mean I’m always sad.
Grief doesn’t always look like today. It doesn’t always hit me in the stomach and double me over. But it is always there. Pam is always there. And I wonder how long it is going to be like that. And I wonder if I even want it to ever change.
So I can mow the grass for twice as long as needed, because I need to, and think about Pam. And then I can put the mower and my thoughts in “park” and take the kids to the movie, “Planes,” like I did today. But I can’t help wondering if she’d sneaked a Heath Bar into the theatre the last time she went. Heaths were one of her favorite candy. And I guess that’s just how it is and how its going to be. “So, this is what you look like today, huh? And what did you say your name was? Grief. Yes, I recognize you now.”
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18