On Just Getting By {Thankful Thursdays 04.21.2016}

My friends, and I don’t use that word lightly. From a young age, my uncle taught me the difference between friends and acquaintances. As I tell my daughters, friends are few and far between, and that’s a good thing. We should be selective about who we let in our inner circle. In this space, though, I feel you’re all friends. Some of you have hung in there with me for a long time, and for that reason, I keep this promise to myself to pop in here every Thursday.

Today, I’m rather spent. The last few weeks have been tough, for lack of a more eloquent word. And it all came out yesterday morning. I still feel the ache in my heart, deep in my bones and joints. Something I’m understanding lately is that the stages of grief are cyclical. You don’t check each one off of your list, move onto the next, and then voila!, you’re all done, grief diploma in hand.

No. Quite the contrary.

The cycle ends, only to begin again. Feelings well up, seemingly small at first. A longing, perhaps rekindled from the recollection of a good time. You say to yourself, “it’ll pass”. You go on about your regular business.

And so on, and so on.

I’m at the volcano stage now, ready to blow. A few rumblings came out this morning.

You know, I write it often—in text messages to friends, how much I miss him. I think it to myself more times in a day than I wonder/know/think is normal. Why now? Why is it so damn unbearable now?

I haven’t said it out loud.

Until yesterday.

Eighteen Stations by Patti Smith at the Robert Miller Gallery in NYC.

Eighteen Stations by Patti Smith at the Robert Miller Gallery in NYC.

I burrowed my face in the pillow on the sofa, sobbed, and said it in a barely audible voice. But I said it. And I could feel a little release of the pressure building within. It’s just the beginning, and I have no idea where the end lies. But I do know that it won’t truly be an end when the pain subsides.

It will just be a lulling of the waves, until the next tide of emotions comes crashing down. But don’t worry too much about me. I will get through this, and the next one, much as I feel exhausted by it all.

Really, I came here today because I want to say it’s okay. For those who are dealing with grief, regardless of how much time has passed, everything you feel is okay. The ups, the downs, and everything in between. Be gentle on yourself, and I’ll try to do the same here.


  • Stephanie

    There is no expiration date on grief. Each person, each relationship is different and emotions are a tricky thing. The triggers to grief are so varied that its no wonder when a sudden bout of that grief strikes we wonder “where the hell did that come from” but it doesn’t make it any less painful. Please know that all the people who care about you are sending their love and support towards you in the hopes that as time continues on, the grief, while bitter, brings a touch of sweetness with the memories.

  • Patsy

    You’re such an inspiration. Hold on tight sweet girl. {{Hugs}} Peace to you and your girls.

  • Margie

    I lost my son two years ago and the grief really is physical, as you explained. Deep in my bones. There to stay.

  • Nancy Shampo

    Grief sucks! It sneaks up on you when you least expect it and whomps you (even after a number of years).
    I am still working on getting the elderly lady on Medicaid in the Nursing home, I am hoping we may have it set up soon. She doesn’t recognize any of us, but I can usually get a smile, which makes it worth it. Take care hon!

  • Gina von

    Reading your words my heart aches too. That’s how it works with friends, even from a distance our hearts try to ease and absorb one another’s sadness. Bat phone is always on for you my dear- tears, smiles, stories there are no rules. Xxoo

  • Jennie

    Hi Liz,

    Thanks for your note about the ads. There should only be two ads within a post. One in the center, and then one at the end of the writing, so as to not be disruptive to the flow. I did just notice that there are more ads on the mobile site, which I was unaware of, so curious if you read the post there. It’s a constant work in progress balance the ad space, so thanks for the heads up.


  • Jennie


    Thank you for the kind words, and don’t worry…auto-correct will be the death of me. I just disarmed it from my computer. I’d rather sound illiterate of my own doing than because some computer *thinks* it knows what I want to say!


  • Jennie

    It brightened my night just to exchange a few texts with you. Miss you terribly, and love you bunches.

  • Jennie

    I think my stumbling here is the who, not the event itself, if that makes any sense. I’ve lost so many people I love, and while I miss them, they’re going went in a natural progression (nana, uncle, father—though he was very young, at only 49). These people all make up who I am, but Michael’s death rocked me in a completely different way. It was too soon, we had so much living left to do with each other, and he was most definitely my other half. It’s been like trying to walk with one leg these last almost five years. Thanks for always staying with me here, Maria, and offering your support.

  • Melinda

    The grief ninjas have been visiting me often this week. Thank you for this reminder. Sending you much peace.

  • Anna

    Hi Jennie, I too have been following since before you lost your precious husband. Watching you too was it was a total inspiration and because at the time I was a grief counselor in training, I found the beauty you somehow found in the worst of it and how you kicked back from the bottom and resurfaced totally awe inspiring. And of course I wondered when and if I would ever have to face my own sudden loss. We all will, maybe not a spouse, though. Not but a few years later we lost our firstborn to stillbirth (umbilical cord accident) and naturally it rocked our world. Understatement. As I sat at cemeteries and spoke at his funeral and packed up his things and somehow found the courage (ahem white knuckle) to have another child, I thought of you a hundred times. Writing was huge for me, as was therapy and a super small circle of amazing friends, but I cannot tell you how many times I thought of words you wrote and felt so grateful for the blessed “education” and honor in being able to witness your journey. Thank you for getting a lot of us through some deep and dark waters by just being brave enough to voice your own, it has meant so much to me. I know loss is loss and the loss of a partner is a much different loss than that of a baby, however infinitely precious, because you had the girls and memories and a life and depend on a partner. It’s complicated and long and cyclical, this grief, and I think I’m good at moving forward because my relationship with him was different than yours and Mikey’s, naturally, but then bam, something brings it up (a doctors note from his pregnancy found in a pile of papers) and you realize you are somehow owned in part by the loss and can’t just pretend it’s over because X years have passed and you did all the stages or all that. So thank you again and know we love you and treasure your space and who you are.