Friday, May 23, 2014

Road signs for the land of grief

Today marks eight weeks since the love of my life died. In a few hours the clock will tick past the time that he gasped, slackened and left this world. In five more days it will be two months.

I am struggling with what to write. Really, the only thing running through my head is the same thing that's been running through my head for the last eight weeks.


and so on.

It's a hard place to be living, this land of grief. There is no map. I've spoken with others who have gone here before me and they all assure me that this is the hardest thing and yet still survivable. I'm not sure I believe them, but I take it breath by breath and find, for better or worse, I am still here.

I have learned a few things in the last eight weeks and, since there is no map and the land is barren, I may as well leave some road signs for the next traveller. Because there will be another traveller. We each venture here.

  1. I'm so sorry you're here. 
  2. Your grief is unique. There is no map because no one travels to the same land. 
  3. That being said, it is useful to spend time with those who have been to their own grief country. Many of the landmarks are familiar to us all.
  4. Anyone who rushes you, tells you this is God's will, or asks if you're over it hasn't been here yet.
    Don't resent them. They will have their turn in this country. But don't listen to them either. Walk away and pity them; their misconceptions will make it that much harder when they take their journey.
  5. Be grateful for every oasis. It may feel like a betrayal to your loved one to set down your burden for a moment or two but, I promise, you will pick it up again. Rest when you can. The breaks will come when you least expect them as will the pain.
  6. Don't go anywhere without tissues.
  7. If you wear glasses remember that tears splash and will dry in salt stains.
  8. Write down lists of the things you need to do. Your brain is working very hard and doesn't have the room to remember the way it used to.
  9. You will be met with unexpected kindnesses. Accept every one because you will need it.
  10. These signs may all be lies. You will have your own journey. I will witness the best I can because that is all I, or anyone else, can do.
Maybe these are more like Burmashave signs, but no matter.

I want to write something stirring in conclusion, something with meaning, but I haven't got those words right now. So I leave you with this: If we are lucky, we all grieve. We live long enough, love enough, connect enough that we feel loss. Those who die too young or never connect with others are the only ones who don't grieve. In some odd and brutal way, we are the lucky ones. 

(c)2014 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License


  1. this is lovely painful and oh so very true thank you

  2. Nothing. Everything. Echoing. Remembering. Forgetting. Crying. Sighing. Smiling. Nothing. Everything.

  3. Oh my goodness so glad I found this wonderful blog. My husband died March 27th and I have been shattered. We were together for 40 years. You write beautifully. I am so sorry for your pain. Thank you for all you are sharing,

  4. I am so happy. I that is the word, tofind solice in what you say. Floyd and I....61 years. Joined at the hip.And I know people do not have a clue. They mean well.The painI feel on his jouney we took together is far too great for others to understand.And the journey will not be complete till I have joined him. As I try to struggle through this thing called life, I know in my heart he would want me to be content....and go on. But I have not figured out how one does that with a broken heart.THANK YOU FOR UNDERSTANDING. Your pain and mine are probably different...but the same. One will never understand this till they have gone through it....and even then...theirs will be differen.
    A he loved..his whistling..the way his eyes smiled...his sense of humor..

  5. You mentioned glasses - those who wear contacts should switch to glasses as tears scratch the lens.


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