From Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul


Grief is a most peculiar thing; we’re so helpless in the face of it. It’s like a window that will simply open of its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But, it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it.

Arthur Golden

In the beginning, I walked around wringing my hands constantly like Lady Macbeth. Now I still wring them, but only on the anniversary of the hours leading up to her death and when hearing tragic news.

In the beginning, the videotape in my head played the events of the days before and after her death again and again. I was powerless to stop it. Now I can frequently turn it off by consciously thinking of other things.

In the beginning, I felt that my skin was too tight for my body. Compulsively, I had to move in order to make it fit. I walked for long periods in order to feel comfortable. Now I walk just for exercise.

In the beginning, on Tuesdays leading up to 12:25 P.M., I tensely counted the minutes. Now Tuesday is usually just an ordinary day.

In the beginning, time was counted in days and weeks. Now it’s numbered in years.

In the beginning, everything that belonged or related to her was sacred. When the earrings she had given me fell out, I was frantic. Now if they were lost, I would be very sad but I could cope. Now I donate many of the things she owned.

In the beginning, it was hard to think or talk about anything but her death. Now I have reinvested in life, have other topics of conversation and actually find much of life enjoyable.

In the beginning I cried when I passed her favorite foods in the supermarket. Now there is a pang but the tears no longer flow.

In the beginning, the words to “Wind Beneath My Wings” and “Somewhere Out There” echoed painfully in my head for months. Now when I hear those songs there is sadness, but it is softer and ends quickly.

In the beginning, I was sure I was crazy. Now, although I still question my sanity at times, I accept the fact that my thoughts and feelings are normal for bereaved parents.

In the beginning there were many things I wouldn’t do. Now I do some of them but still avoid others. Perhaps in my continued evolution, I will decide those things are possible, too.

If you are at the beginning, take heart. There is evolution.

Stephanie Hesse

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