A River of Grief

“Nothing that grieves us can be called little: by the eternal laws of proportion a child’s loss of a doll and a king’s loss of a crown are events of the same size.”        Mark Twain

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”                                                                       C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Sorrow is masterful at washing the sand away from the rocks of unresolved grief. I’ve often read about the phenomenon but have had a perfect lesson in the last few weeks. My grief over the loss of my friends stubbed it’s toe on the huge boulder of my having had a stroke.

I have probably had a total of two or three weeks worth of really bad days in the last 3 1/2 years, but, I haven’t acknowledged to myself that this is my life – for the rest of my life. My grief deserved more space than that.

But I can’t talk about this without expressing gratitude. The fact that I can walk and talk (in a manner of speaking), and I can think clearly, are great gifts. But I am limited.

When I dictate to my devices my impaired my speech is evidenced by the weird things that come out on the page. When I am tired, or in the spotlight, or stressed, I can notice my stilted and slurred speech. But it is never garbled.

I walk with a cane due to a pronounced limp. I have very limited mobility in my right arm and hand. This has increased over the years instead of getting better – and that is partly my responsibility. I’m not a person who sticks to a schedule of exercise. I know what I have to do if I am going to use my right hand to open doors, turn lights on and off – I just don’t do it consistently. I hear about and know people who have had a full recovery but I have always known that it wouldn’t be me (save a miracle). I don’t have that drive. But then, it might not have worked anyway.

So then I wonder about the coming years. The waves of grief have ground many losses into grains of sand that feel uncomfortable but not too painful. Loss of friends, family, schoolmates, and pieces of history. And at my age there will be more. As I have said before, “We’ll either get the call or be the call,” but the call is coming.

The river of grief is flowing and I still stumble on a few large rocks. The recent tragic leaving of my friends and the news that another friend has terminal cancer. A diagnosis from the ophthalmologist that necessitates regular shots in my eyeball. My inability to run, to ride a bike, to swim, and to open packages and jars. The difficulty of one-handed dressing

“It is what it is”, but, my grief is real, too. It may be with me for awhile.



  1. I can relate for reasons well known to you. My right ulnar palsy increasingly brings to my attention my frailty as much as the replaced and revised hip joints.


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