When the thing you are crying about is not the thing . . . . .

It’s the anniversary of your dad’s death ten years ago. You think about how fast he went that day. You knew he was dying. You wish you had crawled in bed with him like you have heard others do. But dying is messy, at least it was for your Dad.  Maybe it was because it went so fast and the mess was still there. Anyway, you are sad about that.

And then you think about all the time you spent answering the hospice nurse’s questions while he was alone in his room. And how you let her tell you his blood pressure wasn’t as low as you thought it was. Why didn’t you insist she try again? You’re a nurse, and you know how to take blood pressure.

She suggested you take him to the in-patient hospice. You think hard about this. You want to keep him home, but it will take two to manage even with the overnight help she has promised. And you and your husband are already exhausted. You try to make a good decision for yourself so you can still be present to him. “You will be able to sleep in his room,” she says. And you doubt that, but at least you’ll be with him.

But he dies in the ambulance before they leave the driveway. And now they have to bring him back into the house and call the funeral home. They ask if they should put him on the couch on the front porch and you say it’s ok. And you regret that. It was cold and it wasn’t respectful.


Today you’re in a writer’s group. And writing is what you do. But you don’t feel like writing today. You look at a piece you found a couple of days ago, but it needs work and it was something you wrote about your grief journey with your little brother when you were 12.  The anniversary of losing him was 10 days ago and you don’t want to write about that either. You decide to clean out a shelf in the fridge because you rent out rooms for travelers and two of them are coming tonight and they might have stuff for the fridge. And yours is a mess.  (“Mess” is too nice of a word.)

So you wrestle with the shelf, get it cleaned up, and try to put it back and you can’t do it.  You ask your husband who is vacuuming to help you. He’s annoyed you’re not going to clean out the whole refrigerator. He fights with the shelf, gets it in, and still annoyed says “Let me get back to vacuuming.”

You burst into tears. You think about how insensitive he is. You told him yesterday about the significance of this day. You know he doesn’t remember.  You have to admit you don’t remember his “loss” dates very well either, but still…..he should just know.

You continue to cry while you throw away old food and load the crusty, smelly dishes into the dishwasher. The tears flow harder

Finally, you decide you should let him know what is going on. To his credit, he stops vacuuming, puts his arms around you, and holds you while you cry.

After a few minutes, he asks if you’re ok. And you cry harder, so he smiles and stays there with you. You tell him why you can’t write. Your tears start to subside and you decide you’ll go work on a digital book for your grandson. That will make you happy.

And that is why you meltdown over a dirty fridge, and a seemingly insensitive husband when what you are really crying about is your grief on this day that holds so much loss.

And as he holds you, you start composing this writing in your head and go back to your computer and write.

You ask the word processors of the world why you can’t just click on a font size 13-point instead of having to type it in that ridiculously tiny 12-point box. You think of how writing in 2nd person distances you from your story and you know that is what you need today.


Dearest Readers:  Thanks for honoring my words with your visit here today.  I suppose we all have moments when we aren’t quite sure where the tears are coming from.  I have learned it’s a good idea to stop, pay attention, and give space to whatever  is less obvious than the “thing.”

On another note, if you are not getting email notices of new blog posts,  I invite you to subscribe by using the form in the right column under my photo and “welcome” message.  If you are reading this on your phone, scroll and then scroll some more till you find it at the very end “nder my photo and “Welcome” message.

I’ll be back here again writing when I am inspired about the often unnoticed. Until then, take time to notice the often unnoticed.

7 Replies to “When the thing you are crying about is not the thing . . . . .”

  1. Carol, your nuance and honesty is quality writing. I long to hear more about your father, whom I loved, and your brother, an upperclassman to me. Your journey is important, and I appreciate your vulnerability in letting strangers read as well…though I no longer feel you are a stranger to me.

  2. Beautiful post Carol. So relatable. So touching. I especially like when you acknowledge the act of writing in second person distances one from the pain. It makes it all the more tender. ??

  3. Beautiful post Carol. So relatable. So touching. I especially like when you acknowledge the act of writing in second person distances one from the pain. It makes it all the more tender. ??

    1. yes, so many of them. Miss them both in my life. Well, they are still evident in who i have become, so I guess in a way they are still here:)

  4. I read. So close to home
    TOO close to home. We are at the crossroads of exploring home hospice. So much information to process and evaluate…Wish I could do it in “second person” somehow.

    1. I know, Rebecca. If you’d like to chat, just message me. Praying for you as I think of you which is often because of your “Te Words” posts.
      tlen daily postings.

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