2023 SOL: 22 a guide to grief

I’m waiting. We are all waiting. There’s nothing else to do but wait. They will be there, of course. But all of them? I hope so. Maybe I don’t. I don’t know. It’s hard. I know this. We all know this. There is no easy answer. Sometimes it’s better to not be there. Sometimes you can’t be anywhere else. It’s personal in that way.

They will cry. They will pray. They will…sing? Yes. Singing happened. They may even laugh. Inappropriately belly laugh. It’s surreal. Where does that part come from? If you don’t laugh, you cry. Right? That’s what they say. Right? Yes. It is. But I’m not sure that’s always right.

They will hold him. They will hold her. They will hold each other to keep from falling apart. But they will do that anyway. They will try not to do it in front of him. But they probably will because not doing it in front of him means stepping away. They dare not do that for more than a moment.

And then the time will come. And they will feel both a tremendous grief and relief simultaneously. The contradiction of it will drive them mad. That’s another thing they will likely feel. Anger. You haven’t quite heard vitriol like the colorful vocabulary spewing from the tongues of this family. We could make sailors blush. It’ll be aimed at no one and everyone all at once. And anyone who knows them will accept it. Hold space for it. What else can be done?

No amount of there theres will make it OK. Nothing will be quite right again. But then one day you will realize it’s been nine years and you can wake in the morning without it slamming into your consciousness before your eyes flutter open. When did that happen? Five years ago? Seven? More? I don’t know anymore. But it happened. The gaping hole left in your heart from loving and losing him starts to close a smidge at a time until it’s just a pinprick. It’s big enough to notice but not so huge that you are empty without him. You’ll find joy when you least expect it and you’ll immediately want to share it with him. Then you’ll think that you can’t. But I’m telling you…you can. You really REALLY can. And he will show you in little ways he is listening. It’ll be a favorite song on the radio just when you needed it. Or a long lost joke remembered. Or forgotten photo appearing in the far reaches of your desk drawer. Or the dream that dances on the fringes of your consciousness. He will be there.

And we will be there. When you’re ready. We won’t force you. But we will continue to send you those little thoughts to let you know that you are not alone. We don’t expect you to answer. We’ve been there.

You will be OK. Promise.

I am writing for the 16th annual Slice of Life challenge presented by Two Writing Teachers.


  1. There’s a T.S. Eliot line that runs in my recollection, “These fragments I have shored against my ruins.” Your slice’s collection of fragments and short sentences sure does a lot of heavy lifting. Its picture of grief’s immediacy and how it morphs over time rings true.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I completely agree that your heart never fully heals after a loss of a parent. Sometimes that tiny pinprick reopens into a sinkhole when you hear about others losing a parent. Praying for all them as they weather this unimaginable loss.

    Liked by 1 person

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