You just don’t know.

We have all experienced loss this year. Loss of a loved one, a friendship, a normal routine, a business, the traditions and rituals that connect us, the list could go on and on. With loss comes grief.

Though we are all experiencing varying degrees of grief, it is collective and it is real.

In the 142 days I have been grieving Abigael, I have gleaned lessons that I simply had no access to prior to losing her. I had never experienced a loss that left me reeling and unsure of how to make sense of the world. A world that is no longer predictable or normal.

I anticipated that “special” days like holidays, the 22nd of each month, my birthday would be especially hard. So I steeled myself for them. I would mentally prepare myself with how I would get through those days. I would grit my teeth, let the adrenaline flow and get through them, with no more tears than a typical Tuesday (I cry every single day). I would climb into bed feeling relieved that a hurdle had been cleared.

Our Thanksgiving Day consisted of this, so far from normal that it was almost unrecognizable.

BUT THEN, the next several days I experienced the worst completely unexpected emotional abyss. The desperation, pain, anxiety and despair set in with a ferocity that was almost insurmountable. An intense emotional hangover.

Those days, I still needed groceries or gas or to take my kids to appointments. Retiring to my bed is not an option for me. So I had to put myself out in the world. And the world would often respond in harsh ways. Emphatic middle fingers or horns as someone passed me because I hadn’t realized I was driving slow or was sitting at a red light, impatient shoppers muttering curses that I absolutely heard because I was bewildered trying to scan groceries.

Of course, these were tempered by the unbelievable love and kindness that rained on me. And these things sustained me, gave me the strength needed to wake up again to the enormous realization that my daughter was dead. Still. Again. Every morning. And I still had to walk through it.

And I am. So I share these feelings with the whole wide cyber world as a reminder. You never know what’s going on with other people. How many times have you laid on your horn and zoomed around someone driving 15 in a 45? Who knows what is happening with that driver? Did he just leave his Covid positive wife in the hospital? Close the doors to a business he spent his life building? Lose a child?

We are, as a community and a society, experiencing so much collective loss. Let’s try to soften the blows for each other. Let’s practice a little more grace, let’s practice a little more compassion, let’s listen more, let’s insult less, be patient, let’s be more kind. We can’t do much about the prickly, heated, uncertain, downright scary sometimes world we live in. We can choose how to BE in it.

Be kind. You just don’t know.

5 Comments

  1. Katie says:

    💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. jrzy58grl says:

      You have me a better more empathetic person. Love you❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Melody says:

    I believe that those who have experienced tremendous loss fully understand the need for love and compassion. Years ago prior to the loss of my two sons a coworker of mine lost her son in a car accident. I remember trying to place myself in her shoes but I could not go there, it was so frightening. What I could do is offer her love and compassion for her unimaginable pain. I am so happy I could hold space with her at that time moving past my own fears. And then I did discover the depths of pain with the loss of my boys. Loss is loss and grief is on a continuum so the only answer is love and compassion. 🙏🏻❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Karin says:

    Love you my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Emily says:

    You have such an amazing way with words. Thank you for writing, and sharing. I am so very sorry for the loss of your beautiful, sweet daughter. Prayers and love to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

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