I had big plans today. Preparations for the Redefining Loss to Live Wholeheartedly retreat have been a joy and I was looking forward to getting back at it bright and early this morning.  

But Grief said, “Not today.”  

The anniversary of my husband’s death – the third now – is coming up in mere hours. I’ve been wondering when Grief was going to show up unannounced expecting to be invited in for tea. Her visits are always the same; she stares at me silently from across the table with her piteous eyes, making even the cup in my hand feel burdensome. So here she is, right on time as usual. 

At first I tried to pretend I didn’t see her lurking there outside the kitchen window in the rain. I locked the door quickly after my son went to school hoping she didn’t know that I knew. I disappeared to the basement to busy myself with laundry. She can’t get to me down there, right? I was determined to avoid her.  

But Grief said, “Not today.”  

The fog and drizzle conspired with Grief to ensure my heart was made as heavy as the air. She wore me down. I let her in. We sat in silence for a while. I told her that if she didn’t mind very much I was going to meditate for just a few minutes.     

But Grief said, “Not today.”  

My sweet cat crawled into my lap sharing the comfort of her purr with me. I sipped my tea. We settled in together and rested in each other’s company. After ten minutes had plodded by I told Grief that I really had a lot to do and asked if she would please excuse me.  

But Grief said, “Not today.”  

I could tell that she would accept nothing less than my resignation; I acquiesced. Time stretched on but the longer she stayed the more I remembered. I found my breath again. I eased my wary nerves with some peaceful music. I reminded myself that, for me, the approach of milestones is worse than the actual day.  Eventually, Grief stood and straightened her skirt. I brightened slightly and asked if she was leaving.  

But Grief said, “Not today.”  

I crept back to work. She hasn’t gone far; I feel her out there lurking in the sodden yard. She will tap on the door again soon wanting to sit for a bit. I’ll invite her in, we’ll have some tea and eventually she will move on for a while.  

But not today.

 

In memory of Ken Gehle
(2/23/1963 - 1/18/2010)