Four weeks ago our niece, age 37, died suddenly of a massive heart attack. Obviously it has been a difficult month. My daughter Clare read this piece at the service and I thought I would share it for any of you who might also be going through a period of grief. I hope it can be helpful. It was written by Jessica Watson – a mother of Four…Plus an Angel.
Grief is Like Carrying a Stone in Your Pocket
The best way I can describe what grief is like as the years go by is to say that it’s similar to carrying a stone in your pocket. When you walk, the stone brushes against your skin. You feel it. You always feel it. But depending on the way you stand or the way your body moves, the smooth edges might barely graze your body.
What Happens with the Stone
Sometimes you lean the wrong way or your turn too quickly and a sharp edge pokes you. Your eyes water and you rub your wound but you have to keep going because not everyone knows about your stone, or if they do, they don’t realize it can still bring this much pain. There are days you are simply happy now, smiling comes easy and you laugh without thinking. You slap your leg during that laughter and you feel your stone and aren’t sure whether you should be laughing still. The stone still hurts.
Once in a while you can’t take your hand off that stone. You run it over your fingers and roll it in your palm and are so preoccupied by its weight, you forget things like your car keys and home address. And you try to leave it alone but you just can’t. You want to take a nap but it’s been so many years since you’ve called in “sad” you’re not sure anyone would understand anymore or if they ever did. But most days you can take your hand in and out of your pocket, feel your stone and even smile at its unwavering presence.
You’ve accepted this stone as your own, crossing your hands over it, saying “mine” as children do.
You rest more peacefully than you once did, you’ve learned to move forward the best you can. Some days you want to show the world what a beautiful memory you’re holding. But most days you twirl it through your fingers, smile and look to the sky. You squeeze your hands together and hope you are living in a way that honors the missing piece you carry, until your arms are full again.