Sunday, August 29, 2010

Grieving

Grieving doesn't happen all at once, like a fit of crying that lasts for days and then doesn't return.  It comes and goes, sometimes stronger, sometimes as just a dull ache.  Sometimes it overwhelms you, and sometimes it just burns a little.  Sometimes you know it's coming, like when you're driving down the road and you know you're going to pass that street where you used to turn, but there's no reason to turn there now.  Other times, you have no idea when it's coming, like when your five-year-old pulls a picture book off the shelf and starts to read aloud, "My grandpa is the greatest," and you want to sit down with him and make sure he remembers his grandpa, and that he really understands the words he's reading, because you want them burned on his brain.

Sometimes grief is a little bit sweet, because you know you have something worth mourning, and you feel blessed that you had something precious to lose.  Sometimes it makes you feel angry, because you question why you had to lose it. Sometimes it makes you grateful that you recognize the value of the thing you had, and that you cherished it before it was too late.  Other times, it makes you feel ungrateful, as if you didn't do enough to show your appreciation for it, and you wonder if you could have done more, been more, said it more often, showed it in more ways - you wonder if they knew.

Grief can come in the day or the night.  It doesn't hide when it's sunny, just to come out in the rain.  It can follow you to the grocery store, sit with you in the theater, watch while you wash the dishes.  It doesn't have a schedule.  It's not watching a clock, waiting for your time to be up before slipping off to bother someone else.  It's patient.  It can sit there for hours without getting bored.

What grief does most is remind you.  Remind you that you were loved, or that you wanted to be loved, and make you want to be loved again.  It binds you, it ties you, it creates a chain from this side to the next that can't be broken.  The chain pulls a little, tugs you, brings you back when you walk too far away.  Little by little, it reels you in until you can feel the thinness of the veil between this life and the next, like you can reach out and touch it, like the person you lost is standing just on the other side and if you could open your eyes a little wider, you could see them, holding on to the other end of that chain.

Grief is a constant reminder that we have an appointment with someone on the other side, and that we don't want to do anything to spoil that grand reunion that awaits us when it's our turn to pass.  Grief keeps us from forgetting that we have a job to do.



I miss you, Dad.

In memory of Joel W. Norton, 1939-2010.

13 comments:

Shanda said...

Wonderfully written, Tristi. Something everyone can relate to and appreciate. Thank you.

Shanda

Cheri Chesley said...

All very true. Sending a virtual hug your way.

Josi said...

Sniff, sniff.

Becky said...

Ditto the others. You've captured grief perfectly. I'm so sorry. Losing a parent is awful.

Angie said...

Oh, you made me cry. That was really lovely. I have felt it too. After almost ten years, I still feel sad when I drive my great-grandma's old house. You're in my thoughts!

CL Beck, author said...

I'm so sorry. I wish he was still here with you.

If it makes you feel any better, I'm sending a hug ... and also letting you know that I read "Secret Sisters" recently, and it was a lot of fun! :)

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

I know what you mean. I've lost both of my parents, and I miss them every day. Sometimes more than others. I keep them close in my heart.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Thanks, everyone - I appreciate it a lot.

Valerie Ipson said...

Wow. So beautifully-written. That last paragraph really got to me. I'll remember it.

Mindi said...

You've captured the essence of grief. My grandfather died 29 years ago and my grandmother died 19 years ago and I still miss them as much now as I did then. The tears are never far away when I brush off the old memories. I'm so sorry about your father. ((hugs))

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

I'm so sorry, Tristi. I can honestly say I know how you're feeling. I lost my mom two weeks before my wedding. So hard.

Keeley said...

Oh Tristi, thank you so much for this. I needed to read it.
I'm so sorry about the loss of your dear Father. May the Lord comfort you and uplift you.

Sp4rk1e said...

oh tristi. you have me crying with such recognition to what you are feeling.
i am so thankful, especially at times like this for the gospel, for the knowledge that i am blessed with knowing...that it can be a bridge between grief and acceptance.
you are a lovely person and i have no doubt your dad knew that more than anyone.
hugs n prayers your way
debs (facebook)

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