The Wreckage of Grief

It’s been years since I’ve auditioned for a show–just didn’t feel well enough, but a couple of weeks ago I auditioned.  In the middle of the day I received the news I got the part of ‘Hattie McGee’, a character who lets people know: anything can happen–miracles can happen, on Christmas Day. I knew Mom would be thrilled that not only did I get a part, but I felt well enough to perform again; I instinctively reached for my phone…and burst into tears…  

A granddaughter’s tribute.

My heart’s been leaking out my eyes ever since.  I’ve been grabbing at memory bits of Mom (photos, emails, messages, friends, etc.) that unexpectedly crash into my life leaving me crying–sputtering, yet staying afloat.

GSnow from reddit:

“As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.”

For the grandkids, Mom made dolphins from bananas.
Memory Magnets

“In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.”

I opened a book and this fell out…

“Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O’Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.”

This was one of many blessings from grandchildren that was on the wall at Comfort House. 

“Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.”


  1. What a great post- great reminder that while the waves will never stop, there will be smoother waters in between.
    Congratulations on your part-i am happy to hear you are doing something you're so good at & which brings you joy! Your mom would be proud & you know she's going to be front and center from the view upstairs.
    Thinking of you & family


  2. The wave metaphor really captures grief. I'm sorry for your aching heart. I'm happy you got the part and, above all, that you are feeling up to it again. I know what a big deal that is. xoxo


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