Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Box

I could start every post with: Today was a hard day. They have not yet gotten easier...and it does not matter that time will ease the pain, because in this moment - in the now- the pain is very sharp. It is an alarming pain, so ragged and intense...but it is also a feeling of emptiness, an ache so deep I can feel it in every part of my body and in the air around me too.

I feel lucky that I am able to wake up in the morning happy to be alive. I feel grateful that I am able to - eventually - swing my feet out of bed and start the day. My heart hurts inside of me, but the joy of being alive has not left me. I am thankful that I am able to go to work, do my job, and be a capable social worker. I am thankful that I have people to support me and to listen to me. I am blessed to somehow have the presence of mind to get things done, even when I feel like quitting.

I put my grief in a box and keep it there as best I can throughout the day. I make appointments with grief for later, when I'm alone, when I'm able to self-care.

Of course, there are times during each day that the box is blown open and I'm unable to keep it closed. Maybe it receives a jarring and something falls out of it unexpectedly. Other times, the box is dumped upside down and I scramble to put the contents neatly back inside again.

But often, on my own terms, I open my box of grief and stare inside. I count the items and instances that are seemingly alive in there, writhing in agony. I give them permission to come out, to be present with me, and to have a voice.

That's when I write... eyes bleary and blurry with tears, fingers flying over laptop keys, the stillness of my house heavy around me.

The box lies empty before me and my grief surrounds me, exposed, dark, precious, real, and vulnerable.

Immediately after I post here at night, somewhere between 8:00 and 10:30 pm, I like to just sit and watch the reader counter go up, up, up. I refresh my screen on Blogger where I see the number of page views. It rises steadily like a ticker. I started this blog less than 2 weeks ago. It already has more than 9,500 views. All the comments come flying in...the texts, the Facebook private messages, the Facebook comments, the comments on the blog page itself...

And like magic, I feel less alone. The grief around me, spilled from the box, vibrates with love and thought and energy. The grief, as a collection, breathes a sigh of relief. Then - again on my own terms - I hold the box open with gratitude and all the grief crawls back inside.

That's how I survive every day, adapting and struggling and living with my grief.


  1. Feel all the energy and love from all of your supporters. You are never alone, the world is hugging you and knows that night is the toughest.

  2. You are definitely, definitely not alone. I am thinking of you every day.

  3. Lucy Howard-TaylorJune 5, 2014 at 11:23 PM

    I also think of you every day, often many times, and even though we have never met. So much love, gentleness, and strength to you x

  4. Oh my amazing friend, I love you. Big hugs

  5. Baby girl my heart is with you always -
    always always and always <3 xxx

  6. You aren't alone all the love and compassion you've given over the years is coming back to you

  7. Dear Arielle you will never be alone you have helped so many people including myself we are so proud of you sending love and hugs.Keep putting one foot in front of the other and do whatever you need to do to get through the day xxx

  8. You are in my thoughts everyday.

  9. I've followed you since 2009, I think. You were there supporting me through my darkest days, when I was drowning in anorexia. When I had no hope, you gave me hope. I'm recovered now, and you helped with that. My heart broke for you when I heard of Rick's passing. I cannot understand the depth of such loss, but I want you to know that I am supporting you in thought and in prayer. Although I do not usually comment, I read your blog every day. I do not know how to comfort such pain, but I hope there's comfort in knowing that some random woman who watched your Wednesday videos for years (and has been helped by them) is now silently cheering you on, praying for you, thinking of you, and loving you through this time. Sending love and light your way. xx

  10. I second everything that Staci said. Although we don't know each other in person, you feel like one of my closest friends. When I was struggling, your posts picked me up. Your kind comments kept me going. Your love of life made me fight to love life too.

    I am in awe of your strength and your wisdom. I am praying so hard for you every day, and I hope your heart can be at peace someday.

    All my love <3

  11. I, too, second every word of what Staci said. My heart sunk and I cry real, broken tears with every new post you write. I hurt for and with you. You are loved and being thought of daily... cheered on silently from afar, praying that you take the day one moment at a time and deal with what you can when you can and rest and grieve when you need.

    You are so very loved, my friend.


Help me feel less alone.