A Picture of Grief


This is what grief looks like. It looks like abandoning today’s carefully-laid-out page in your planner in favor of a couch and a blanket. It looks like wanting to do nothing but sleep all day long. It looks like not being ready to tell almost anyone what has happened yet, because that will make it undeniably true.

This is what grief looks like. It looks like pulling yourself up and pushing through with at least that one errand that simply must be completed today. It looks like continuing with business as usual because things must get done, and who else is going to do them?

Grief looks like silence, of not knowing what to think or how to feel, of being unsure of what to do next. It looks like not knowing what to say to someone else whose loss feels so much deeper than yours. It looks like talking to a friend for a long while yet finding yourself unable to tell them what you’re going through. It looks like crumbling into tears when unconditional kindness and help are offered by someone who does know.

My maternal grandmother died on Monday evening. It was not unexpected but that does not make it any easier, I am finding. She has been saying, “Not today,” to death for years now, and, in a way, that makes it harder. There are other things that make it harder, too, but those are neither here nor there.

This is what grief looks like. It is strange. I feel strange. I do not know how to do this.

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Hidden Behind the Ripple


“I’m fine.” We are all familiar with the lie of “I’m fine”. There is a myriad of reasons for not admitting when we aren’t okay.

We don’t want to be a bother.

We know that others “have it much worse”.

We don’t have the emotional spoons or energy to explain everything.

We are embarrassed or ashamed by whatever is going on in our head or heart.

So we say “I’m fine”. We join in the conversation, join in the laughter. But laughter can hide so much. It can hide pain, hurt, betrayal, despair, loneliness, heartache, and the list goes on and on. It’s amazing sometimes just how much can be hidden behind the ripple of what should represent joy and pleasure.

We have all been or known someone who hides behind the smiling mask, lost in such a dark haze that laughter becomes anathema to its original point and becomes just another reminder of pain and little else. Sometimes it easy to tell when laughter is naught but a smokescreen and a hiding place. Other times, though, it is not so easy to see. But gentleness is still possible, I believe, even when we don’t know. Knowing this, can we not see our way to holding souls gently? To not insist that they “smile and be happy” if they aren’t feeling it. To sit with them in quiet and commiserate. In the Bible, Proverbs 14:13a says, “Even in laughter the heart may ache…”  How true is this! Isn’t this all the greater a reason to hold and treat each other gently?

{{Author’s note: Ironically, I finished and posted this on a day that I was most definitely not fine. Thank you to all those who held me gently and held space for me in my not-okayness.}}

What We Do with the Shattered


All around, the pieces of broken hearts, hurting souls, broken relationships, destroyed hopes, ruined sanctuaries or senses of peace, and shattered dreams. Injured, jagged, pulsing, and aching with unspeakable pain. Everywhere you look, there they lie, leaving precious people pallid and trembling with shock, fear, and uncertainty.

I don’t know what to do. There’s nothing I can do. The thoughts chase through my mind as I stand amidst it all, at a loss of where to start.

Yes, you do. The Truth comes clearly, even as I stand in fearful, tearful silence.

What do we do with hearts that lie broken, souls that ache with pain? The answer is the most simple, difficult, necessary, and needed thing.

We love them.

We. Love. Them.

The Power of Permission | Scribbles


I know that this piece was written with grief over a loved one’s death in mind, but I feel like it’s so poignant to many other situations of pain. I know that some of you, my dear ones, are hurting this holiday season or healing from the pains of this year, so I wanted to send this sweet reminder to you. You are loved, and it’s okay.

Take a deep breath with me, sweet friend.

I need you to hear this.

It’s okay.”

Read more via The Power of Permission | Scribbles .