Sunday, September 7, 2014

Questions and Bursts

This week was a hard week. I can't pinpoint a reason, except for the fact that my hormones were doing their monthly female thing.

My blog posts have reflected this hard week. I've been sadder. Felt the unfairness at new levels. Seen problems without solutions. Perhaps clearing the last of Rick's personal effects (except the few I saved) from my living area set me up for a sad week.

I pondered a lot of questions this week. Where does the Rick stuff go? When is it time to scatter his ashes? What should I do about my conversation-starting wedding rings? What will carry me through this war of grief the way Rick carried me through the war of graduate school + very hard work? 

I can see that the questions allowed themselves to surface, because I was feeling overwhelmed. But I think they need to surface. I need to feel them. Even if I don't yet have all the answers. As my good friend Jennifer says, "You have to feel every part of it." The good, the bad, the terrible, the beautiful, the questions, the worries, the hurt, the fear, the everything. It is all part of the process.

This blog is often upbeat, hopeful, and full of gratitude in the face of pain. But it is also a chronicle of heartbreak. Grief is a journey that changes constantly. It ebbs and flows, and that's what this blog shows.

I have been in pain this week. On Friday night, my heart hurt so badly and my tears just exploded from my face without end. I felt so grief-stricken I was sure I would throw up from the sheer pain of it all. It came upon me all of a sudden, this terrible, overpowering feeling of sadness. Grief bursts are like that. They throw you down. They are sudden. Intense. Completely unpredictable.

Grief bursts do not mean I am not healing. They do not indicate that I have been flung back to the beginning. They do not mean I have not made progress. They do not discount all the happiness I am still able to feel on a regular basis. The terrible, unbearable, overwhelming pain I felt when Rick took his own life dissolves slowly, like a shell in water. It started out fierce and solid, unyielding. Worn by time and the tireless waters of life, it becomes smoother. It becomes smaller. And smaller. Until it dissolves into tiny pebbles that become sand. BUT there are times, no matter what I do or how positive I remain, when the pain of my grief feels just as terrible as when everything first occurred. Grief expert Alan Wolfelt calls this a  "grief burst" - when we are "ambushed by grief."

Sometimes, like this week... especially Friday night... I am ambushed by grief.

It's a war.

I have my whole, beautiful, wonderful life ahead of me... but right now I am at war.

The comforting thing is that I know the war will end. I know that peace will come. It has come already, many times, and I gather it close before it runs off into the fray of fighting again.

Sometimes I chase peace. Sometimes I let it find me. Thank you to everyone who has been my army, walking beside me in grief. I am marching onward.


  1. I'm an old friend and we haven't spoken in quite some time...but I've been reading your blog here and there and my heart is with you. You are a role model of strength and beauty and courage in the face of pain. I wish you didn't have to be... but thank you for inspiring me.

  2. Maybe in this hard week you could have lost a battle... But it doesn't mean at all that you've lost the whole war. So, keep on fighting. It may not be simple, but the chase worth the prize. Because only if you keep holding on, you can find your rainbow over the clouds you feel right now.


Help me feel less alone.