Grief is a Beautiful Wreck


Bellingham, the City of Subdued Excitement. 

This week is so strange to me. The sun came back, and I had a dream my Mom was still alive and I’ve been having this kind of dream ever since, well, she hasn’t been alive. I tell you this not to burden or worry you, but rather to find some sort of freedom for myself. Grief is a strange, strange, kaleidoscope of all your feelings, memories, and personal attributes. I’d like to think I’m akin to Joseph and he was a dreamer, and I’m a dreamer. It makes sense to me I’d have to wrestle with darkness and light when I’m awake and when I’m asleep. We like to focus on the Joseph who saved an entire country, and gloss over the fact that he dreamed and interpreted weird visions. Cows? Cows eating each other?

What else did Joseph dream?

Sometimes I think we ask our children and our young people to dream big futures for themselves. To reach for the stars. And we can’t or we choose not to tell them that it takes grit. And pain. and sometimes you reach Pluto, which isn’t really a star, but a planet. Sometimes a committee far, far away decides that your dream isn’t a planet anymore and gives you an arbitrary award. Basically, as I’m getting “older” I realize that the polished stories of people’s lives, often edit out the beautiful wrecks that happen along the way. Maybe the beautiful wrecks are just too personal.



A wreck alludes to a shipwreck, and I believe that we often find ourselves floating in the midst of an ocean clinging to an oar or a barrel or whatever we can find. Like Paul and the prisoners floating towards an island. God knew they were going to find their vessel smashed to smithereens. There’s something striking about Paul trying to convince all of them that they’re going to survive. Paul is crazy, but there’s something true in his craziness.


Best Foot Forward. Into the Sunshine. 

I hoped grief would disappear as soon as the first little green shoot of spring. I knew it wouldn’t happen, but some part of me still wanted it to be true. 

I didn’t want every heart-shaped cookie at work to remind me of the cookies we’d make together. I didn’t want the anniversary of her diagnoses to loom in front of me. Some part of me thought that if I made it through the shorter days of December and January, the rest would fall into place. But I’d be lying if didn’t say I’m content where I find myself. Yes, grief is still there. But there’s something sweet about being reminded of the people you love, even if they’re not here. There’s something that makes me feel strong about reaching milestones that I can’t tell her about, but I know she’d be celebrating.

I almost started crying because I perfectly spread whipped cream across a cheesecake. and learned how to pipe buttercream across a cupcake. I cried when a couple got engaged in the middle of a shift (a coworker stuck the ring in the middle of cream cheese frosting). Then I almost cried telling a random person about it, (because she almost started crying about how sweet it was). So yeah, I’m a little bit of a hot mess, covered in sugary, buttery frosting. But I’m alright with that.





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