It never ceases to amaze me how grief lurks under the surface of our experience, oftentimes without us knowing it’s still there.
It can strike with a vengeance when you least expect it.
Last month, I took a call from a woman who is in a business networking group I belong to in the area.
I’m the president, and she was calling to tell me she needed to resign because she has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
I talked to her for awhile, and after I hung up, at her request, I shared the news via email with the rest
of the group. Then I ordered a gift basket to be delivered to her from the group. Then I sat down and
wrote her a personal note and placed it in my mailbox.
Then, without warning, I completely fell apart.
I sat down on my back step, and I sobbed like I did in the first weeks after Ed died. I sobbed without
control for at least a half hour until my roommate came out to see what I was doing. He sat down with me and put his arm around me and let me talk about Ed and the horror of his last weeks on earth.
I kept saying, “I don’t know why I’m crying.” But I kept crying nonetheless.
Later, I figured out that the experience of speaking with my business colleague and then taking
necessary actions put my body back in the caregiver mode. My body remembered when I needed to call Ed’s children and mine together to let them know it was time to say goodbye. My body remembered the day when I sat at my computer, searching for area funeral homes so I could call and get estimates for services. It remembered sitting at the keyboard, writing Ed’s obituary.
And the grief that still lives in some cells of my being just broke loose.
I believe when that happens, there is no choice but to just let it come out.
I cried most of that afternoon and evening. Amazingly, it was the day that I had my monthly meeting
with the friends from my bereavement group. We laugh and cry together, and they listened to me tell
my story that day, nodding in their knowing way.
The next day, I was okay, and I was grateful for that.
The point is: Don’t be surprised when your grief catches you off guard, and as much as you can, just try to be with it.