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A Comment About Grief

I went to a friend's memorial at The Grange Hall yesterday. Mike passed away in December.

His wife, Annie is a dear and close friend of mine who has been my friend ever since I got to the island, late 1997. She owns the coolest shop called Funk & Junk on Nichols Street. As the name suggests, she sells other people's stuff. Some of the stuff is used well, some rough but it's always cool stuff. Plus, Annie is one of the best fine artists I've ever known. She paints in oils but also acrylics and she has her own work at the store as well. If you ever get a chance to swing on into Friday Harbor, you simply must check out Funk & Junk.

Anyway, grief is funny. Not funny, ha ha. But funny, curious. It pops in on you at the most unusual times as if it wants you never to forget your own sadness.

In March, I wrote a different post on grief called A Split-screen of Emotions: Living with Grief. It starts out this way:

I struggle on what a normal life is. So, like, before was normal--I was single then got married to Bob. We worked, had daily home routines, went to the store, ate meals out, entertained friends. This was our normal.

Annie and I have talked about our grief. We spoke about it after Mike died. We spoke about mine and how, although Bob hasn't died, life has been upended for us. Like the above piece suggests, our normal got shattered. And whether normal is upended suddenly or over a drawn out period of time, we long for what we had, what we had enjoyed.

But today's writing isn't about the loss of a loved one, it's about the loss of a life known before--a longing to simply hang out with friends when the mood hits.

"Wanna come out tonight and listen to some music at the marina?" the friend asks.

"I'll throw on my coat and be there in a few!" the previous me says.

Yes, I speak of the previous me in present tense because she's alive and has a good memory and tries to make me jealous of her. She's that way. She wears nice clothes and puts on lipstick and is fun and entertaining and throws all of that in my face sometimes because she's not only fun to hang out with but she also has a bit of a mean streak. She enjoys making me feel jealous. Oh, yes. And she still has brown hair too because she still colors it.

Well, anyway, during the day, when Bob is awake, I tend to race to town and back. So, yesterday at the memorial, I could only stay for about twenty minutes. Mike's friends and family packed the room. Meats simmering in the kitchen created a wall of delicious aromas. Flowers filled the tables, bodies too. It was standing room only the way it always was when Mike and friends decided to play their music.

I walked through the hall and outside to a patio door where a tall man stood.

"Where's Annie?" I asked him, figuring if anyone could see over all the people, he could.

"She's over on this side of the room, in the red coat."

I spotted her and yes, the coat was red but a red like a crimson not red like the primary color. I make this distinction because, as a painter, Annie knows the color scale and primary red just didn't do the color she wore last night justice.

I made my way over to her and we hugged and talked and made plans and hugged again and I turned to speak to some other friends, Marie, Janie and Terry, and then I left.

On the way to my car, the previous me set her teeth in. She bit deep and mean. I wanted so badly to run back. So, on the drive back home, I prayed and shook her off stage where she belongs. She isn't me anymore. She's then and a fake.

When I got home, I asked Bob, "Would you like a glass of wine with me?"

His face lit up. He made a sound that nearly was a "yes."

"Yeah? Cool." And we sat together and watched--I don't remember what--on TV. My mind for a while wasn't on the television, it was back at the Grange a bit. Back with Annie a bit.

You see, Bob needs me and, honestly, I need him. The previous me is a liar because she doesn't include Bob in her previous scenarios. The previous me wasn't single. She was married to Bob just like I am now. And more than anything, if we're asking for a previous life back, and I could have that life back, present time or future? I wouldn't ask for a previous life without Bob. Not a present time without Bob. Nor a future without Bob.

When grief raises its head, it cleaves to Bob not some time in the past, alone.

In my heart, this is us...always.

A Wedding Photo
Photo by Steve Horn, May 11, 2003
31 “Therefore a man will leave his father and mother and remain with his wife, and the two will become one.” ~Ephesians 5

God bless you all.

66 views4 comments


Jo szcz
Jo szcz
Apr 15

I absolutely love that photo of you and Bob, too. That's what happiness looks like! 😍

Apr 16
Replying to

Hey Jo, thank you. It's one of my favorites too. We were so excited about our tomorrow back then.

Love you!!!


This brought me to tears. Yes and yes! And as to "normal", when my daughter, a mother of five young children got terminal cancer, a wise deacon said to me, "'Normal' is a very fragile thing." Now I remember her words and daily try to embrace the normal mundane events of my life for the wonderful things they are. Thank you for these posts. They are a gift.

Apr 16
Replying to

Oh Susan. I had no idea the trials your daughter went through. Dear one, the sadness you must feel for many reasons, but the sadness for your daughter must cut deep. I'm so sorry. My heart is with you. xoxo

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