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Grief is a Messy Ride

We're working with our editor Jen on some posts for our upcoming book. She really likes this post. I really like this post but even more I love Ann's heart. Let us know your thoughts on this one. What impacts your soul? Anything you would add?

The pic isn't part of the post but is the place of inspiration in the Ozarks. We were goofin around as a family at a reunion a few years ago. 'Em ar some mean wimen.  


Ann returned to work after a trip to southern Missouri where the rocky rolling Ozark hills contain her family’s land. Being there always stirs warm memories of her father. He was a constant putzer. He didn't move too quickly in his overalls, but he was always working on the garden, planting a tree, tending the hogs (named “Ham” and “Bacon” or “Babe” and “Wilbur”), mending the chicken coop or sorting the latest and greatest auction finds. 

As she recalled these fond images, tears created pathways down her cheeks. A co-worker asked what was going on and Ann recounted the memories, missing her dad. In a mood that implied she didn't think the time span was very long, she asked Ann when her dad had passed. Ann said, "Over fifteen years ago."

Grieving is tough to grasp for the rational-minded person. Shoot, it's tough for anyone to "get" and move through.  Grieving as a couple over an affair isn't something that can be planned out. At first, grief is a constant unwelcome guest and later on grief becomes a darting sprite that is here and gone in unexpected moments. 

Given that, here are a few common aspects of grief, though no two journeys through grief are the same.

Grief is unpredictable and random. It knows no master. Those who think they have it mastered discover they have not through physical problems like ulcers and other indicators like anxiety or irritability. Grief will come when it comes. You will find yourself hurting at unpredictable times, like when you see an affair in a movie. It caught me off guard the first wedding I went to after the revelation. This was four years after the revelation. We had healed and healed and healed some more. But when I heard the vows, the promises of dedication and fidelity, an invisible sword sliced into my soul reminding me of our infidelities. 

Along with being unpredictable, grief can be a messy and out of control adventure. It will arrive like an uninvited dinner guest, unpredictable in timing and intensity. Grief can hit you when walking through the household department at Target, shopping for a basic necessity. It might slam you with a painful reminder (maybe triggered by the laundry detergent used in earlier, happier times) causing tears and snot to fly in aisle 6. Grief is humbling in its messiness. 

Along with this, grief is disruptive. A new normal is being formed and grief makes sure normal doesn't become normal too soon. Crying during a basketball game, or struck dumb because you just walked by a man who was wearing your affair partner’s cologne or perfume and you hadn't had thoughts of him or her in while. Seemingly, grief throws you backward. In reality, we underestimate the amount of pain that requires sorrow. 

Grief doesn’t follow a direct route. It's a two-lane highway along a crooked, winding ridge. Step-by-step grief plans don't take into account road construction, accidents, snowstorms like the ones in Colorado where highways are shut down and vehicle malfunctions. Grief winds and turns daily, but rarely are there 'dangerous curves ahead' signs. 

Grief will also last longer than expected.. We encourage you to reflect and see if you have been grieving together. Losses need to be faced. Perhaps that's today or maybe it will be years down the road like Ann grieving her dad.