My friend Grief

Making the most of every moment.

My friend, Grief, is visiting today.  He woke me up by banging intensely on my door last night. He likes to wake me up. We have become steadfast friends. Sometimes he stands in the corner and watches me. Sometimes he leaps suddenly into the middle of whatever I am doing – unloading the dishwasher or the washing machine, sometimes in a song or in a smell and causes tears to flow for seemingly no reason.  Sometimes he whispers to me but last night he shouted until I got out of bed. His persistence in being acknowledged is aggravating.   

I wondered if 330am was too early to drink coffee but Grief didn’t think so. Coffee always helps me pay attention and he wanted my full attention. I pulled up a chair and invited him to sit with me.

Sometimes he makes my stomach hurt. Sometimes he makes me cry. Sometimes he makes me question everything I believe about life and death. Sometimes he makes me feel guilty for feeling happy. Sometimes he makes me feel better about my new normal. And sometimes he makes me feel worse about my new normal. Sometimes he dances at my pity party.  Sometimes he just watches me cry. Sometimes he nudges me if I smile too much.

In the wee hours of this morning, Grief reminded me that today at 4am- Nick is 12 years, 8 months and 11 days old – the same age Zack was when he died.

I didn’t think I could bear to go on without Zack yet here I stand with my friend, Grief.

He reminds me I will always be broken. I tell him I don’t need reminding.

He points out people who are complaining about everything and nothing and I feel bad for feeling resentful toward them. “Perspective,” my friend Jennifer points out. I don’t like my perspective.  

Grief points out my weakness and my flaws. He knows me well. Sometimes he fades into the background but he never goes away completely.

Today, he is here.

Today, Nick skis on a mountain that a big brother loved.

Today, a little brother Zack never met, plays in the Utah snow that Zack loved.

Today, a mommy and daddy choose to live fully and intentionally because a little boy died.

Today, we still celebrate the short life Zack was given.

Today, we press on through the pain of losing him and use that pain to fuel our journey.

Today, I am thankful for the 12 years, 8 months and 11 days I got to be his mom.

Keep watching, I tell my friend, Grief. Watch me shine bright! This pain, this pain which isn’t as raw as it once was, will not be wasted.

2 Corinthians 1:4-6

Zack skis Deer Valley with his Daddy.

Zack skis Deer Valley with his Daddy.


Grief cannot steal our joy!

Grief cannot steal our joy!

Nick on the mountain at Deer Valley - wearing Zack's old ski pants.

Nick on the mountain at Deer Valley – wearing Zack’s old ski pants.

Mayo and Sam playing in the Utah snow.

Mayo and Sam playing in the Utah snow.

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25 thoughts on “My friend Grief

  1. I know you never dreamed of being or ever wanted to be an inspiration to anyone but you are….and the raw, honest, heart-felt thoughts and feelings you so openly and freely share are truly inspiring. I know they are Heaven sent.
    I cry and grieve and smile and feel so many of your emotions that you probably think no one could possibly understand. Please know you are loved by so many people who have never ever met you or your family. May God bless you and give you peace as you laugh and love and smile and cry and feel all those feelings that only a mother can feel. I truly believe God understands and He holds you in the palm of His hand.

  2. Wendy. You are amazing and write so beautifully of your pain your joy and your life with Zack. Thank you for always sharing a part of yourself with us who still remember Zack and what a beautiful and strong young man he was. Praying that the pain of grief will be overshadowed by God’s love and the strength He has given you to choose joy. Blessings and love to your beautiful family.

  3. Great words of wisdom and encouragement for all facing grief. You’re moving forward in the journey not allowing the grief to overcome you. It’s your vulnerability, authenticity and resilience that shines clear. The healing is an ongoing experience of GOD’S grace.

    • I hate we are members of this club together. Blessings to you as you remember and miss your son. The missing never goes away.

  4. You are such a blessing. Thank you for again reminding me that life is good and to be grateful. God bless you and your family and congratulations on your new son.

  5. Wendy you are such an inspiration. My heart has always had a hard time fathoming your grief and what you have been thru and your stories always bring tears to my eyes. My oldest turned 13 this week. I will hold her extra tight tonight! Love and prayers to you and the family. You are doing an amazing job!!

  6. Wendy, your strength and faith are amazing. You have no doubt touched so many people and continue to each day. I pray God continues to guide you, gives you strength and peace in your life. I still see a published book in your future that will be able to touch even more people! God Bless you and your wonderful family!

  7. You have such a beautiful soul! I remember you from taking some of your classes at New Hanover County.

  8. I lost a little brother years ago when he was four years old. In 2001. I was ten. I always come back to this blog because you put everything I feel into writing so well. I’m so glad to see that you are enjoying life and keeping Zack in your memory constantly. People are always so afraid to mention my brothers name around me, and for a time so was I, but I find that it’s harder to try and keep those feelings back. It’s better to embrace them, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I know I’ll see him again one day, and that’s what I cling to. This life is just a short part of our journey, so we must enjoy it with our loved ones while it lasts and have faith that we’ll be together again in the next phase of this journey.

    Thanks again for this post. <3