Friday, September 10, 2010

The Face of Grief

I looked in the mirror this morning and saw a woman ten years older than myself.

I was surprised, but not shocked.

I can now recognize the face of grief.

I have met many people (mostly women) over the last few weeks who have shared with me their grief story. I recognized that they had one before they ever told me.

The local florist who has now been to my home at least a dozen times lost her husband seventeen years ago. She held my hand and cried with me and told me to call her, anytime. Then she called me, to remind me to call her, anytime.

My neighbor's mother, whose husband passed this February. She slipped a piece of paper into my hand with her phone number on it. And whispered, "blessings". I saw the same look in her eyes that is now in mine.

A client of my husband's told me that he still has a voice message on his phone from his sister. It is five years old and is the last time he heard her voice before she was killed in a car accident. I recognized our friend grief in his voice as soon as I picked up the phone.

My sisters voices when we speak. I know they are grieving. I hear it in their voices and see it in their faces.

My children who are no longer littles, middles or kidadults. They are adults now. Living in a grown up world of sorrow.

My parents, who have aged more over the last few weeks than in the past few years.

My in-laws, my husband's family. All of them with a new sound, a heavy heart.

To know grief is a terrible, sorrowful thing.

Some of you may remember that during Christmas last year I was grocery shopping and a woman and her college age son were behind me at the checkout. She was sobbing quietly and the young man was gently rubbing her shoulder and telling her "it will be alright". At the time I thought they were having financial difficulties, you know, making ends meet during the holidays.

I now know that what I saw was the face of grief. They were suffering a terrible loss. At the time I did not recognize that face. Now, I will never forget it.


  1. Yes, I know this face of grief that you speak of. Sad. XX

  2. It took strength for you to even look in the mirror and really look at yourself. And the fact that you are even thinking about other peoples grief at all shows what a caring woman you are. Hugs to you.

  3. We all care and send you cyber hugs.

  4. ((HUGS)) The face of grief, I read about it each day as I follow my baby lost mothers on my For Your Tears blog. My heart is heavy with the sorrow of all the grieving people in our world.
    This journey you and your family has been given is so sad and so unfair. Keeping all of you in my prayers. Please know that I care and if I can help in any way please let me know.

  5. I know exactly what you are talking about. It's like something just breaks, well, I guess it would be your heart, when you have a profound loss. Hearts can heal, but it doesn't seem that they can't ever be completely whole again afterwards... it shows in the eyes.

  6. Prayers for healing and strength.

  7. I haven't posted any comments, but I want you to know that I'm here. I'm reading your posts, foolishly hoping that helps, that you can shed some of your sorrow onto us, your readers.

  8. Yesterday I cried and today I have goosebumps reading what you write. I do not have the face of grief that you speak of, but now that I read what you say...I know I have seen it. Hugs girl, I am in your corner rooting you on. This is a terrible thing that happened to all of you-it is a very hard road to be the amazing, strong, compassionate, caring woman you will be when it is done...well TBHITW will be so damn proud!

  9. I hope that reading this will help me more readily recognize the face of grief and to be more responsive to it. Thank you, again, for your honest insights during this hard, hard time.

    My prayer is that your words will give others going through grief some comfort in knowing that they aren't alone.

  10. I know what you mean about the face of grief and I have worn it many times. At about the 6 month mark, I usually lose about half of my head of hair, (post traumatic stress), but eventually it grows back in, thicker than before, and I manage to smile again. Praying each day, for God to give you the strength to get through this. Love and hugs, Marguerite

  11. the face of grief..yes..I think its in the eyes..I recognize it in the eyes..its a look that only loss has...I have seen it often..almost like your soul is half mast...Sending love your way. Marlene

  12. I've been catching up with your blog tonight. This post really touches me; one never knows what a stranger is going through in the car next to us, or at the grocery store. My best friend lost her teenage son two years ago. I remember her talking about going to the grocery store the first time and feeling so, so raw and vulnerable there. My heart goes out to you.


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