The grief roller coaster

I’ve been wanting to write a post about toys and consumerism — especially in light of the ads that keep appearing in our mailbox and the upcoming holidays –but I can’t organize my thoughts very well just yet. That post will come in time.

Today was a bit of a roller coaster for me. I had to stop by the funeral home — a place I’ve come to loathe just for the nature of what it represents — to pick up some things (including a laminated copy which included a picture of this beautiful tribute a friend of Carrie’s wrote in the local paper).

After that I stopped at the cemetery to visit Carrie. I think she and I are going to have a standing Monday morning date. It’s the only day both kids are in school and I like visiting her alone, talking to her, crying. It’s been very therapeutic. The past several days I haven’t done much crying at all, but when I go to the cemetery and and see her name on the temporary headstone, it feels real. Her death hits me right in the gut and that’s when the tears fall as I talk to her. It’s kind of weird how it feels natural to talk to her there, but I like that. I like that I still feel like I can talk to her and I feel like she is listening too.

Later today, as I was driving around, I was stopped at a light when two firetrucks and an ambulance with their lights and sirens blaring turned in front of me heading to an accident I could see in the distance down the street. And, again, I lost it. I just started bawling in my car thinking about how someone else could have lost their life, but even moreso about how someone else could have lost someone they loved. My mind wandered to the emergency crew who responded to Carrie’s accident. How they must have driven through the mountains with their lights and sirens on to reach her, but there was nothing they could do for her. She was gone the moment the accident happened.

It was a sobering day.

I’ve been reading a book about grief — the funeral home gave it to my parents and me. It’s weird to think people would need a book to handle something natural like death, but I’m finding it helpful. I’ve never been through this with someone close to me before and it helps to know if what I’m experiencing is normal or not. I’ve also really appreciated the emails I’ve received from others who have lost an adult sibling. It sucks that we have to go through this, but it helps a little bit to know I’m not alone.

One of Carrie’s favorite books was The Little Prince. She had actually given my daughter Ava the book (which she had written an inscription in) a year or two ago. I think that will be the next book that I read. 🙂

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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17 thoughts on “The grief roller coaster”

  1. My thoughts are with you non-stop. It’s not the same but I did lose my great aunt and uncle to a wreak (the other driver was drunk and was fine) and even though I was very young I remember the pain and still miss them terrible. They were on the way oddly enough to Colorado to get set up for all of us to join them for a family trip that never happened.

    I can’t even imagine how much hard it would be to have lost a sibling. I wish I had something to say that could make it a little better but I know I can’t. I am here if you need anything, love you!

  2. I’m so sorry about your sister. I cannot imagine. However, I can say that the Little Prince is one of my all time favorite books, and in high school read it in French and English. It’s a very sweet book with lots of wistful wisdom. Charmante. Hope you enjoy it.

  3. Grief is sneaky and unpredictable, which I guess is what makes it extra terrifying. If we could schedule the waves, like your cemetery date, it would be helpful, but then there’s the random fire trucks of life…the little tiny things. I remember sobbing in the cookie aisle at my sister’s favorite Pepperidge Farm cookies (ginger man, and yes, now I’m crying again). Aw hell.

    Hugs. Strength for the journey.

  4. The Little Prince was one of K’s favorite books too. I reread it shortly after her death but it’d been years since I’d read it and I’d forgotten how it ended. I try to think of K laughing in the stars but it’s so very hard. I wish her burial site was closer to me so we could have a date too.

  5. Ack. I’ve been wanting to post…but not wanting to be so public. I’m one of your “lurkers”. But since I can’t find a private way to post to you, here goes:

    I lost my brother 10 years ago. He was 23, I was 21. It was sudden and tragic. In a word, it sucked.

    The one thing I remember about that time is the following: People would say, “I didn’t know what to say, so I just didn’t say anything.” And I knew they meant well–they meant MORE than well. But it was the people who said, “I don’t know what to say, but I wanted to say SOMEthing that I will remember for the rest of my life as having BEEN THERE.

    This is a blog…I’m not REALLY your friend…I know that. But I wanted to say SOMEthing. I wanted to tell you that it’s not going to ever get easier to deal with the loss of your sister (that was a strange comfort to me…it assured me that I would never forget him)…but it will become more natural. I wanted to tell you that…well, I don’t know what I wanted to tell you…I wanted to tell you that I’ve stood there where you are standing and I have felt only SOME of the things that you are feeling and I am thinking of you and nodding my head and understanding every single thing you write.

    I am glad that you have this outlet. It must be incredibly liberating in some ways…and isolating in others. I’m no help…I know that. But I wanted to tell you that I’m here. Reading. And nodding.

    And I wish I could have sent this in a more private way, but I wanted you to read it, so here it is.


  6. My heart hurts, aches, just reading your words about what you’re going through right now. I so wish I had something better to say than I’m sorry but I’m at a loss of words. Please know I’m thinking of you.

  7. I’ve been thinking about you a lot this past week. I keep typing things out to say to you and they all seem silly, not important or profound enough. But I guess they really don’t have to be. I do want to let you know, maybe it will be some comfort, my husband is a FF/paramedic and from his experience I can guarantee you, your sister remains in their hearts and will forever. I am so sorry you are having to experience this, so sorry.

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