I wake up crying. Tears streaming, heart heavy. I lie there for a moment collecting my thoughts, happy that he is already up to make the coffee. I don’t want to have to explain or talk about my grief.
Grief is like a weird friend. She shows up uninvited and usually at the most inconvenient times. She’s that practical joker that hides behind a tree or around a corner and jumps out when you walk by. You jump startled, your heart races as she laughs at your surprise and horror once again. Anger mixed with embarrassment is what I feel after she blindsides me for the umpteenth time.
Crying Before Coffee
To wake up crying is not the best way to start your day.
In my dream I was at a flea market. No surprise there, huh? Flea markets are my happy place. I stroll from one booth to the next when something catches my eye. I think to call daddy and ask him if he needs it or wants it or even if it’s a good price. And then I remember. I can’t call him. He’s not here anymore.
I walk on through the flea market trying to distract my heart with doodads and iron sculptures and t-shirts.
I can’t hold it in.
Right there in the middle of it all I stand on a dusty road and weep.
And I wake. Weeping.
We meet each other in the hallway at church or the grocery store and exchange pleasantries. You say, “I’ve been thinking about you” and then ask how I’m doing. I almost always say, “Great!” because at that moment I am. Really. And because it never feels like the right time to tell you about how I woke up crying after I had a dream about being at a flea market and remembering that my dad had died. Even typing those words feels hard and awkward.
Our grief stories cannot be told completely. What I mean is that there are not words in our spoken language to express the complexity of what we feel when we lose someone. So often when I share my sadness over a loss with you I’m left feeling silly about what I’ve said or sad that I left so much unsaid.
Typing out these words on this page is my gift to myself and to you, grieving friend.
Every human knows grief. We all know what it feels like to wake up crying, to cry in the shower, or at the mall, or while driving in a car alone after a memory or a song or a scent hits our heart like a sledge hammer. It may be the grief of this year’s loss or from ten years ago. Either way . . .
. . . we almost never see it coming.
I write this to simply say, “Me, too.”
Grief Without Regret
I’m feeling a bit of a “grief hangover” from my dream—heavy heart, vague sadness, slightly puffy red eyes.
But there’s no place in grief for regret. No regret that we love. No regret that we dream and remember. No regret that we grieve.
And yet, grief isn’t a place we live anymore than I live in my dream.
So I write my words and dry my tears and make coffee. I do laundry and take a shower.
I face this day and my life thankful.
- I am thankful that I have so much to love and so much to lose.
- I am thankful that there’s so much more to life than loss.
- I am thankful that my grief has an expiration date because of Jesus.
So let us weep when sadness comes.
And then, let us live.