Making Room for Grief

Draw your chair up close to the edge of the precipice and I’ll tell you a story. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

I had a long night of pandemic anxiety dreams, ones with infected people coughing on me, texting my mom and getting no response, a haunted grocery store, not being able to breathe. Eric was in a funk yesterday, the stress and frustration of our current situation and his work weighing heavy on him, and it had rubbed off on me a bit. Panic and grief and irritation are close to the surface these days. I meditated and wrote first thing when I got up, and didn’t want my practice to end because then I’d have to face the rest of the day. I did finish, and then I checked my phone.

There was an email from our grocery store, letting us know they were enacting new policies, specifically limiting the number of people they’ll allow in the store at a time. Bernie Sanders dropped out of the Democratic race for president, so our best hope now is Joe Biden (yuck). Singer songwriter John Prine and Charlotte Figi, the namesake for Charlotte’s Web’s CBD products, have both died from COVID-19.

Last night at 8 pm, many of my neighbors went outside and howled at the moon. It’s actually something they’ve been doing every night at that time. I opened the back door to listen. The back of our house faces west, so I was also looking out at the sunset, pink and orange over the foothills. The sound of howling and the color of the sky, all of us there together but also alone, made me start to cry. It reminded me of that moment at the end of the movie Troop Zero when the girls are standing on top of a picnic table under the stars, all yelling “I’m here!” at the sky, hoping someone will hear them, or the first lines of Andrea Gibson’s devastating poem “Orlando.”

When the first responders entered the Pulse Nightclub after the massacre in Orlando, they walked through the horrific scene of bodies and called out, “If you are alive, raise your hands.” ~Orlando by Andrea Gibson.


This morning, (this mourning), I’ve been listening to Ani DiFranco’s cover of John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery” on repeat. When it feels like my heart has no more space for anymore grief, it grows and I manage somehow to hold it. My heart at this point is as big as the world, broken in places, and my body feels like it can barely contain it, like it might burst right out of my chest.

Just give me one thing that I can hold on to. To believe in this living is just a hard way to go. ~”Angel from Montgomery,” by John Prine

I’m still here. So are you, kind and gentle reader. That’s what I’m holding on to today.

I'd love to hear what you think, kind and gentle reader.

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