"Grief is like taking a chair to the face."
Daniel, age 11 after Mark died
Have you ever taken a chair to the face? I hope not! But all of us have caught a little toe on the chair leg, or smashed a finger in the door. The pain is quick and intense and causes us to see stars. I think the pain is intensified because it is unexpected. A betrayal of sorts.
Just recently Dr. Pepper graduated from Puppy school. Pepper entered our life 7 weeks after Mark's death...a therapy dog disguised as the Tasmanian Devil.
#whatwerewethinking #trustmeimadoctor #chairdestroyed
He is now allowed to come into the living room, because he no longer eats socks (which later were barfed up), or unstuffs pillows or chews the edge of the rug. The momentous occasion was celebrated by moving the puppy gate so he can participate more in family life.
I moved the gate. I chose the placement. And then promptly forgot I had moved it. Twice.
The first time, I had already turned out the lights and was so familiar with my surroundings I didn't bother. I had walked this hallway many times in the dark. I just caught myself before I hit the ground and merely got all tangled up as my impact knocked the gate from its post. A couple of bruises and lesson learned. Right?
The second time, it was morning and I was hustling quickly down the hallway because we had overslept our alarm for school. I may or may not have been looking at my phone, when I went full speed through the gate. Full Speed. The entire gate went down with me on top of it. My head narrowly missed the sofa table and I suddenly found myself splayed across the floor.
"Mom???? Did you fall through the gate again???"
Dang it hurt. I was sore for days. I was so mad at myself. And so mad at the gate. How dare it move and not announce itself!
Grief is like that. It comes fast and violently and painfully. In the last two months, I have heard of three people who have lost adult children. One dear friend lost his mom. Death is around us, friends. All the time.
And then there are lost marriages, friendships, jobs, hopes and dreams. Yes, even those losses can feel like a chair to the face. The newly divorced person who shows up at an event with mostly couples. The high school graduate who says goodbye to his college bound friends while he stays home.
I think of someone I admire who deals with chronic pain and illness. So much grief.
"I walk a crappy path alone," she texted me recently.
"You do walk alone," I said, "And you are right. No one can walk it with you. I get that."
That might not sound comforting, but what I hope I communicated was “I honor your pain, and I am not going to pretend I can fix it. But I am also not going to leave you.” She knows I also walk a painful path alone.
And then it happened. Suddenly, miraculously, we no longer felt alone. When someone takes a chair to the face, we can't take it for them. But we can at least acknowledge that the chair hurts, it is unfair, and the healing is lonely. And we can carry some of their burden as they journey. We might not have been able to stop the impact of the situation, but we can certainly impact their circumstances in the now.
Alone, but together. Simply put, don’t leave. We can’t always stop the fall, but we can help each other up.Who needs a lift?
Ecclesiastes 4:10 “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (NIV)