27 Comments
Apr 6Liked by Elizabeth Marro

Oh, Elizabeth. You described grieving so well. I've known, and am in the midst of some of those feelings myself. Our levels of "ordinary" are not the same - I think yours is greater than mine, honestly. But still. It all feels monumental. Until it feels dull. I feel like my sadness takes naps, like a guest who won't leave my sofa - not doing anything, but so there - and then it wakes and makes me cry. Loss is loss, as you said. Thank you for sharing yours so eloquently. Most importantly, I'm sorry you lost your brother.

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I've found that comparing pain or level of grief leads nowhere helpful. On the other hand, knowing that you understand the whole phenomenon of "grief taking naps" does underscore how universal this is. Loss is loss, yes. Thank you for writing and thank you for sharing your kindness and understanding that is rooted in your own experience.

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Apr 6Liked by Elizabeth Marro

Loss is loss. Deeply transforming and incomparable.

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Yes.

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Apr 6Liked by Elizabeth Marro

Pain is when my lover spurns me. Grief is when I lost my father. The pain lessens and eventually goes away, especially when I get involved with a creative project. The grief never seems to leave and is just as sharp as ever, especially when I am where he lived. When the grief was raw and new only Brazilian music helped. But some music also made me cry, especially Annie Lennox singing "Something So Right" (Medusa). The tears release some of the grief and it becomes slightly more bearable. At least I know I am still human.

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Music is powerful. I've been playing music from the years when my brothers and sisters and I were growing up. Certain songs bring back memories so fresh it takes my breath away. Still, there is a kind of joy in losing myself in it once again.

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Apr 6Liked by Elizabeth Marro

I wrote my comment before I read yours, Elizabeth. I must add my agreement with your observation about your response when comfort is offered. When I'm remembering my Dad, a hug is a surefire way to make me cry.

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Isn't it a strange thing about kindness and tears?

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Elizabeth, you have put some time and feeling into your sharing your grief in the written word. Grief has it variances in all of us. Thank you for saying it with such care. I recently lost my only sibling, my older brother. Not easy.

https://writerswrites.com/

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Sally, I'm sorry for your loss. The world without our brothers is a different world than it was with them. I hope your own grieving process is not more painful than you can handle. Thank you for writing with such kindness..

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This is such a beautiful, honest, intimate and relatable description of grief Elizabeth. Thank you for sharing it, even at a time when writing is probably quite challenging too. Sending love ❤

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Thank you so much, Vicki. Writing it helped. Turned out, I could write anything else for the weekly column. Nothing else would come.

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And yours as well Elizabeth. Many fun and loving memories along with a few aggravations which we always worked out.

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This is such a true, heartfelt post. I lost my mom almost 5 years ago and was numb about it for ages...I miss her deeply but in some ways, I am still numb. We lost our beloved dog in December and the grief is a daily dose of pain. So many small reminders after 12 years of living together in close quarters. Loss is loss.

I especially felt the resonance of this: "Many days, I have the feeling that someone might have if she were making her way around the crumbling edge of an abyss, trying not to fall in."

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I understand that numbness, Jennifer. Losing Ready probably just reopened the whole thing. The daily-ness of contact with her makes her loss even more palpable. Thanks for this.

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Sending you a hug.

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Apr 7Liked by Elizabeth Marro

Ordinary it may be, but that doesn't mean it hurts any less. Best grief poem I know: W.H. Auden's "Stop All the Clocks, Cut off the Telephone. https://web.cs.dal.ca/~johnston/poetry/stopclocks.html. (Featured in the film "Four Weddings and a Funeral.")

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I remember that scene in "Four Weddings" -- it was one of my favorite moments.

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Apr 8Liked by Elizabeth Marro

Your words bring back so many memories of the initial stages of my grief when I lost each of my parents. Sometimes I still forget (after more than 20 years) especially that Dad is gone.

Just after Mom died I read Anna Quindlen’s One True Thing. It brought me to my knees as I read about another woman’s experience losing her mother. Though our stories were different, the grief was not. I don’t recommend reading a book about losing a loved one while you’re in the throes of grief.

Now I am reading Michelle Zauner’s memoir, Crying in H Mart, and knowing that she’s going to lose her mother in the end is not stopping me from hoping for a miracle.

In the end, I find that having loved deeply is worth the grief of loss, though sometimes I argue with myself about that.

And making salads is a wonderful way to create something wholesome and indulgent whenever the mood strikes. Like you I cannot make a quick or simple salad. I would love one of those 1-month subscriptions if they’re not gone already!

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Thank you, Cindy, for all of this. I read Anna Quindlen's book years ago -- she has talked many times of how her mom's death shaped the rest of her life and her writing. I want to read Crying in H Mart but I agree with you -- reading these stories when things are still fresh can be really difficult - or cathartic, too, I suppose.

And yes, there is a subscription to Emily Nunn's Department of Salad. I'll send your free one-month along.

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Betsy, thank you for sharing my granddaughter in your zen moment. I showed her your post and she said she is glad it made you happy. She thanks you, too. 🦕

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Apr 8Liked by Elizabeth Marro

So much in this edition of Spark, Betsy. Thank you for all.

In my memoir, When Your Heart Says Go, I wrote often about grief; it was, after all, a memoir that held the story of my husband's death, and my grieving after as I traveled the world. After a day at a spa in Helsinki when I'd swam, been in the sauna, and had a massage, I went back outside into the cold November day, I wrote: "For now it's safe to stay in Helsinki. Still I know safe will eventually wear on me, and with that will come the urge to move to the next place. There's no escaping grief, you just have to learn to carry it."

Thank you for sharing your feelings of loss and grieving. You touched that place in me.

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Thank you, Judy.

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Thank you Betsy for sharing this emotional/difficult journey you’re going through. I don’t have much to offer beyond what some on this thread have already said except for one thought: I’ve often struggled with loss and what helps me reframe and gain perspective is the construct of grief as the debt owed for a meaningful relationship or “the price of admission” for entering into one. The richer and fuller the relationship, the bigger the debt/grief when they die. Because most of our transactions involve paying up front and then reaping the benefits, a relationship is the reverse transaction and therefore the loss and grief is much more difficult to handle. So with that concept in mind I’ll leave you with this one question: if you had to pay the debt in grief of a relationship up front and the amount of debt is proportional to the depth of relationship you will reap later, how much are you willing to pay?

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Any amount of grief is worth the love and experience that came before. That was one of the big lessons of adulthood for me. This knowledge doesn't necessarily shorten the process associated with grief or loss but it does reinforce my connection with the heartbeat/cycle of life. To live without love or loss is impossible.

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Thank you for this: “She’s learned how to live with a bearable degree of pain because there is so much more to her life and she doesn’t want to miss any of it.” Times can feel so overwhelming and dark—grief is all around us—but there is such comfort in small moments if we can will ourselves to face outward and be present to them.

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You are right, Judith. Those small moments are always three too, waiting for us to receive them.

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