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A Thousand Drops of Sorrow

I'm always learning something about grieving - mostly that it's never done, but people want you to be.

I'm well aware of the awkward glances between people if I dare to mention Avery. The flick of the eyes that say here we go again and aren't we done with this yet? I suppose that makes sense, especially the way I was brought up. In our family you don't dwell on things you can't control. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get going. You don't stand around talking about how sad something made you feel or how you ache with every fiber of your being. You're not the only one with problems, the world is filled with people with problems, so what makes yours so special? In our family you move on.

I suppose it would be easier if I were quieter. Didn't talk as much. Didn't put my stuff out there for everyone to read. I suppose it would be easier if I quietly slipped out my front door and into the Land of the Living trying my hardest to blend in like everyone else.

But I can't.

I didn't know how I would react or respond to my child's death. I didn't practice it or learn from any of my older cousins. I didn't plan my response and immediate steps. Grief was thrust upon me and I had no choice but to accept it. I couldn't turn and give it to anyone else. I couldn't politely decline no, thank you. It was dumped in my lap, legs crushed under its weight, arms pinned below the surface, struggling to breathe as it just kept coming and coming and coming.

And I had a choice: sit still and quiet under the crippling grip of grief so as not to make anyone else feel uncomfortable, or start clawing my way out.

I have always been well aware I didn't fit in with my family. Not just my immediate family, but my extended one as well. I was constantly being told I was reading more into things than what were actually there, trying to make things more difficult than they were. I was asked over and over why I couldn't just be like the other kids.

I did try. I really did. I tried to just walk down a driveway to a barn like the other kids, but what I felt was the light crush of gravel against the sole of my shoe, the blood of a thousand girls before me crossing prairies and plains pulsing through my veins, the weight of skirts brushing my ankles, shaking their way through tall grasses. I could feel the strain and worry, the breathlessness, the boredom of a journey of one hundred days. And yet, next to me the other kids were simply walking down a driveway to a barn.

I was a dreamer. I felt things so intensely but I couldn't explain it. Why didn't others tear up when the sun began its incredible climb? Why couldn't others see the sadness in a cow's eyes? Why was it just me whose breath was stolen when the heron took flight? Why was it just me who could feel the pulse of Eden running through a mighty Oak?

Why have I always felt too much when I'm surrounded by people who don't seem to feel much at all?

My one reprieve was my grandfather. He "got" me.

One early morning, as cows breath warmed the barn, he singled for me to follow him. I walked behind him, not daring to break the silence to ask where we were going. We walked into some long grass by the side of a field near the barn. As the sun rose higher, he knelt down. I knelt beside him. After a moment he waved his hand out in front of us. "See how the sun makes each dew drop sparkle?" he asked. I looked closer. A million sparkling diamonds winked at us. I smiled. "Each drop comes from heaven and holds a story. You don't ever want to rush the dew into drying. It'll all go when they're done telling their story."

We sat and watched the dew drops sparkling and singing. Each one letting its story shine out into the world.

I think about that now: not wanting to rush the dew drop's story. I feel covered, head to toe, in a thousand drops of sorrow, sent from heaven, that sparkle and glint too bright and cause people to squint and turn the other way out of uncomfortableness. I sense their uneasiness, their frustration. I can hear their eyes whisper why doesn't she just wipe all the drops off? That way she'd be done. Back to herself. And we can all move on?

I know they'll go when they're done telling their story. They're just not finished yet.


Jamie Los said…
You are part of my "family" always - and you are wonderful as you are.
Our sermon today was about how each one of us is fearfully and wonderfully made and that God made you just like you are on purpose. That all of us that have been told we're weird or unique or why can't we be like everyone else, we have to embrace that God doesn't make junk. God is a beautiful creative God who makes beautiful masterpieces and each one of us is a masterpiece of His. Who are any of us to question what God considers a masterpiece? You grieve my friend, grieve big and long and loud if you must, and let those who are uncomfortable with it, move on and get over it themselves!!
Janel said…
Beautiful. I can't even.
Anna See said…
So beautiful. Love this and you. xoxo
ArtsyGruetz said…
I am an unique person also and have always been. I have always felt that I am destined for great things, but I can never figure out what they are. All I know is that it is probably visual. I remember being surprised to find out that others did not see as I see. I am both mathematical and artistic. It is fine to be who you were made to be.
This post made me think of my grandmother. My GP (nickname for grandpa) died a year and a half ago, they were married for over 50 years and had a connection like nothing I have ever seen before. She is still struggling every day and she feels sad all the time still. Some people in our family want her to just move on, to be ok, but I don't think she ever will. She loves Jesus and has for a long time, and she has faith and hope, but she is just sad. I shared this post with her, and I hope it will help her. Thank you for sharing your grief and pain so openly with all of us, it gives me such peace and faith to know your story.
Brenna said…
You are the perfect you.
Theresa said…
This is so beautifully written and I can relate more than I would want to. ; ) I have always been a sensitive soul in an oftentimes insensitive world.

My father passed suddenly and I often feel that people want me to get over it. The days get better but I will always miss him and our relationship. I am sure it is the same with you and Avery.

I often pray that the people who don't get it are lucky enough to continue not to get it. But of course will some day understand. It is they who will change not you. Because, as we both know, this is a sadness that never goes away.

Hugs to you and your entire family.

Don't fit in! Embrace it. You have the ability to SEE. To FEEL. To CONNECT. To get what others don't get. You are like Ricky Fitts in American Beauty. "Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel I can't take it. Like my heart is going to cave in." And your expression... your writing... You help others feel.

On a more concrete note, WOW! What a beautiful analogy/connection. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I was right there with you in a field full of dew drops, in the eyes of a cow. You should consider writing a screen play. Seriously.
michele rager said…
I was nine in 1978 when I lost my 28 year young mother to cancer. I grieve for her in small and big ways even to this day. Don't mind those faces that can't understand why you are not "done with this yet". A part of you will never "get over it" and why should you feel bad about that? I'm not sure I would like the person I would have to be to "get over it". I honor that place in you that is love, light, peace and beauty. We are one. God Bless you!
Anonymous said…
My only child died 9 months ago. I feel as if I am still drowning in my grief and yet the world expects me to carry on as if my child never lived. This post is heartbreaking. Much love and gentle healing thoughts.
I love your grandfather for doing that. I so get it.
Gail said…
I cried reading this, and see that today is one year since the passing of your beautiful daughter. I lost both my children - my son to suicide in 2010 and my daughter to a terrible disease this past March. Today will not be easy for you and I want you to know that we are thinking of you and grieve however long you must. Sending my hugs your way!

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