Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Grief Divided

It was a beautiful day when I stood behind her in the Walmart line. She had a false-cheerful tone to her voice that bothered me without reason. And then I realized there was a reason. I knew that voice.

I always seem to get the worst news on a beautiful day. I’ve looked longingly out hospital windows at a flawless afternoon, where the birds kept on singing and the sun kept on shining from a startlingly blue sky as if to say, “No, everything’s fine with us, thanks!” Meanwhile, my own life slumped in agony at my feet.

Funerals for me have never been like in the movies, where umbrellas seem to sprout from the gloom like black flowers. In my life, the day has always been heartbreakingly beautiful as if to taunt me. The message is the same: Life goes on. You are alone.

Some of the greatest beauty in my life has been refracted through tears, like looking through glass blocks, because of course it’s not really crying if you hold your eyes wide open and refuse to let the tears spill out. We can’t be expected to bother others with our grief when it isn’t theirs to bear. That woman’s voice made me ache. It’s the voice I’ve forced out of my own mouth when something horrible had happened and I was struggling to function normally in a world that was lucky enough not to have to share my pain.

I looked up, and for just a split second, our eyes met. The abject agony I saw in her eyes at that second haunted me, haunts me still. She had Prison Camp Eyes.

I’m still upset, though I’ll never know for what we grieved, are grieving. I’m sending her my best wishes. I want her to know that life doesn’t really go on, unconcerned. Sometimes it stops and grieves too because it knows that we are all in this together. After all, we’re really only taking turns.

You bear God within you, poor wretch, and know it not. ~Epictetus


  1. Tammy that is just beyond beautiful. I sure hope that lady reads this and I love the last line.

    You blew me away with this one!
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  2. Wow, Tammy. Do you ever get tired of seeing the same comments from me? I just can't get over your beautiful writing. Sometimes it's hilarious and silly. Other times it's achingly sad. You see the world in such a unique way. I know someday you will live the life you so richly deserve. Hugs. xoxo

  3. Tammy,
    "greatest beauty in my life has been refracted through tears" You brought tears to my eyes. I know exactly what you are talking about. Your soul reached out to that woman and on some level you did connect with her. You have a beautiful soul!

  4. Tammy - This is beautifully written and poignant, and obviously genuine. You view the world through compassionate and unique lenses. Thanks for sharing your special view with the rest of us.

  5. Thanks so much to all of you! Am genuinely touched. I wrote this a couple of months ago but thought it was timely with all of the natural disasters. Just wanted anyone who needs the good wishes to know that they have them.

  6. Beautiful writing, honest and true.

  7. Tammy, I know exactly what you are saying here. I don't think I could put it as eloquently as you have, though.


Any return "messages" are appreciated!