This morning at church, as we entered the “praying” part of the service, the young priest said, “And we offer prayers for those who are in ‘a Season of Sadness.’” He gave a name to something I’m experiencing; a Season of Sadness.

A season to journey through. To accept as a stretch of time, but not to define the rest of my life. Like a spell of bad weather, something to endure, to get through, in anticipation of other seasons.

My husband would have turned 64 on Friday. Today we would have celebrated with our children and friends, as we have done for years. Homemade cake, BBQ in our back yard, obligatory photo-op … but this year is birthday passed in quiet remembrance of what we’ve lost. A few texts and phone calls, but that was it.

Husband, father, uncle, friend. Quick to laugh and quick to fall asleep. Perfectionist to a fault, yet generous and eternally optimistic. His presence is missed, and his absence cannot be avoided.

I could never imagine my life without him, without his warmth, without his ideas, and without HIS strong opinion. My arms are empty, and my bed is cold. We struggle as we adjust, yet he is at rest – peace. The peace he could not find here; demons, history, regrets, failures, all plagued him. Yet in our eyes he was wise, kind, and generous to a fault. Ever present and always ready to do more. My mind drifts to the things we never said, and the missed opportunities. It all makes me very sad.

I’ve heard it said, “It is easier to escape a presence than an absence.” I have found this painfully true. For there is always the grief, thick and inescapable. A cloud that lingers, a mist, or perhaps an aroma. A sudden familiar smell or a favorite color … grief is a thing that defies words, for words are feeble, thin, constricting.

Yet there is a strange comfort in the presence of constant grief – it is a thing you know. It must be invited it into your life, for it will accept no rejection. There have been days where grief has been my only companion. Something “other,” yet my very “self” at the same time … how this is, I cannot explain, I only know this has been my experience. Yet, in deep grief I have found hope, a thing that is also something “other,” yet NOT myself. Hope is a thing that is as equally explainable as grief itself.

Each April, offers writers the opportunity to write an “A to Z” about a topic. You take a letter a day, and blog about it. This year I’m thinking about writing an “A to Z” about grief. A close friend asked, “Really, is there enough to write about grief?”

Oh, yes, my dear friend, there is more than enough to say about this dance between grief and hope. I don’t mean to depress with my writing, I merely want to express my experience, so that another might read and say “Yes, this is my experience too.” And through this connection find peace in knowing that you aren’t alone.

What about you? What is your experience with grief? Have you found hope in the depths of your grief? Send me an email, tell me about it. Together we can create a body of work that will help someone through their own “Season of Sadness.” Thank you for support and I look forward to hearing from you.

~ lisa

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