Monday's Musings: When Grief Hits out of the Blue

by Mary Denman

A beautiful day at the beach....Mary Denman
You know what's hard about grief? Well, one of the many tough aspects anyway? 

Grief is hard because it can sneak up on you. When you least expect it. From out of the blue. 

Or, it seems like it's from out of the blue. 

But in retrospect, it may may eventually make sense. That doesn't take the pain away. But perspective will help you not feel like you're crazy or weak emotionally. That maybe there was a real reason for the grief to hit. 

Often, people, me included, liken grief to waves. They can wash over you, making you sputter and leaving you yearning to get back on the shore and out of the ocean of grief. But in the midst of the worst of grief, that just doesn't seem possible. 

But with time, it does get better. I know. I've lived it. 

You see, we lost my mom and father-in-law 2 weeks apart in 2013. Then, our oldest daughter got married 2 weeks after the second funeral. Talk about difficult! We were so happy about the wedding, but burying 2 parents right before the wedding? It was brutal. There's no other way to describe it. 

But here I am, 2 years later, getting back to life, learning to keep going. 

The overall grief has lessened. It took a long time to feel like it would ever let go of it's strangle hold on me. 

I still think of my mom every single day. I don't know if that will ever stop. And I'm okay with that. 

I love to remember her laugh, her smile, her Southern drawl, altered by the stroke, but still Southern and beautiful. Her love and encouragement. 

Two boys in the rough surf by Mary Denman
But recently, grief hit again. This time, it felt more like a tsunami. Everything seemed fine one minute and then, bam. I was sputtering for air. With no warning. 

So what happened? 

I was cleaning out our garage and ran across a box of things from my parent's home. A cross stitch of some butterflies. My mom loved butterflies. I wasn't expecting it. But I was okay at the moment I found it. I smiled and took it inside. The sky was blue. Everything seemed fine. 

I had music playing while I worked. Then, the tsunami hit while I kept working, during a song on the radio. 

The singer mentioned he and his friend had been apart for quite a while. They'd catch up later. The next time they got together.  

I lost it. 

I just lost it. I stood in the garage crying. My husband finally realized what had happened and came and held me for a few minutes. The crying stopped, but the feeling of missing my mom remained. I've been a bit weepy for a week now. 

But looking back, it does make sense. I was caught off guard when I found the box of things. Then the song hit me hard. What I would give to talk to my mom again.....

And Father's Day is soon. 

I just happened to have several triggers hit simultaneously. So it does make sense. That's helped me not feel so crazy, or weak. 

Not too long ago, our family went to the beach. The pictures in this post are from that day. It was beautiful weather, but there were pounding waves. They had the No Swimming flags flying. I've never seen a life guard run so fast to get people out of the water who hadn't noticed the flags! She wasn't messing around! 

No swimming flags against a blue sky by Mary Denman
I wish grief came with a warning sign. "Rough waves day. No swimming. It may be pretty, but watch out! Take it easy, Mary. This will pass." 

It doesn't come with. It's going to sneak up on me. But that's okay. 

I've found talking about it helps me deal with grief. And helping others who are going through it helps. 

Too, I keep reminding myself that God's gotten me this far, so he'll keep me going. 

The waves may hit, and I may feel like I'm going to drown, but I won't. He's got his eye on me. 

Honestly, when I stop and think about it, the grief reminds me that I loved deeply. And was loved deeply. 

And I wouldn't change that for the world. 

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  1. Great post, Mary. We observe Father's day on the 21st, and I was also very close to both my parents. Like you I miss my mom all the time, especially when something happens that I would normally share with her. She has been gone for almost 12 years.

    1. I have realized I'll never forget my mom, even though at first I was afraid of that. I'm grateful to know she'll always be with me in my heart.

  2. "Grief reminds me that I loved deeply"...Yes! I understand you. I recently emerged from a really tough year after a breakup with a long-term boyfriend. It caught me by complete surprise. As I stop and take a look where I am now, though, I can see all the healing that occurred since then. God has a way of patching our hearts back up so that we can move forward despite the pain. Wishing you peace, Mary!

    1. Thanks for dropping by Laura! I agree, he does patch up our hearts. I can see now that he has and I'm grateful for that.

      I'm glad he's working in you too!

  3. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Mary! My Mom has been in her heavenly home (decorated purple because that's her fav color) almost 11 years. The tsunamis still come but less frequently and less violently. But, like you, I don't want them to fade away. I, too, loved dearly and was dearly loved!

    1. :) Guess our moms have met by now! Mine is singing. She had a beautiful voice before her stroke. Although I loved it just the way it was. Stroke and all.

      I loved hearing her sing in church when I was a kid. I'll always treasure those memories!

  4. Aww lovely post Mary, You had so many things happening over a short space of time...

    Thanks for sharing ...