Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

What would I do?

The area northwest of Boulder, Four-Mile Canyon is on fire.


It has been since Monday.

Over 6,000 acres have burned. I have biked in that area. It is a stunning, beautiful part of Colorado.

It makes me sad that it is now gone.

Over 600 firefighters are trying to contain it. When the fire started on Monday, many local firefighters quickly joined in to battle the blaze….and some lost their own homes.

And I wonder, would I have had the strength to stay where I was and fight? Knowing that my home was gone, would I continue to fight?

Of course you would,” A friend of mine said. “You would be so mad, you would want to make sure that fire was out and that no one else lost a home.”

“I’m not so sure,” I said. “I fought my own fire. I fought like hell for Samantha and the many causes that came with being her mom. Now that I no longer have my own little flame to fight for, I’m not sure if I can get back into the battle with the same exuberance.”

But in reading the many stories about the heroic people in Boulder, they got right back in, held lines and protected their neighbors’ homes knowing their own were gone.

God Bless ’em I say. Because I just don’t know if I can get back in the fight.



Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

Kickin’ some a**

Yeah, that’s right….that’s me…kickin‘ a little backside……totally.


When my parents got divorced, my dad mentioned that he would go to TWO aerobics classes a day and do everything in double time. I love my dad but sometimes he isn’t very coordinated. Single time might be a stretch….I can only imagine two hours a day of double-time aerobics in tube socks and bad 1980’s shorts.

But I get it.

Physical activity is one of the only things that makes me feel good….really good, like someday I might be somewhat whole good.

You would think I would do it more often.

But I don’t.

Go figure.

So today, I was contemplating attending a 5:30 class at they gym OR watching Seinfeld reruns and having a glass of wine.

Surprisingly, I found myself at the gym…..go me!

I went to a Body Combat class which combines kickboxing, karate and boxing. I laughed at the thought of this class. I have never gone; I’m not a fighter I’m a lover….but I needed a good cardio workout to clear my head.

Holy Schmoly. I was doing front kicks, side kicks, back kicks….the whole time I thought about kicking grief’s hiney…..take that you self-involved emotion, hiya!– you partner to depression, loneliness and isolation….that’s right, right in the kisser…..bastard.

I got so focused I almost started to cry which was problematic because kickboxing kicks your entire body and your can’t breathe. Crying and not breathing is a bad thing.

But wow I felt good. Like 007 secret agent good.

But don’t critique my punches. Despite giving Grief a good whooping with my kicks, I still punch like a girl. My girlie punches make me laugh they are so girlie.

The instructor came over to work on my arms.

“Focus on everything coming from your middle; from your center. All of your power is generated in your center,” She said as she tried to correct my oh-so-ladylike arms.

My center, my core, my power….Why yes, everything, everything is coming right from there.

I looked at my focused reflection in the mirror; her determination, her sadness, her eyes glossy from tears and sweat and I gave my grief a stellar left hook.
Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

Bob the Spider……

When we lost Jack, I refused to kill anything; spiders, ants, moths, bugs, creepy crawlies….I would kindly escort them out of the house and into the garden.


In my grieving mama mind, life is precious in any form.

That summer of Jack I even befriended a spider underneath our front porch light and let him run rampant. The spider grew so big we would go out and admire him at night in his ginormous spider feeding frenzy. I named him Bob and refused anyone to touch him.

I don’t even like spiders.

But I let Bob the Spider live under our light. Hubbie went along with this until Bob grew so big he started to leave spider poo all over the porch. In case you don’t know, spider poo is nasty, sticky and stains a rust-colored front porch.

I never saw Bob after that summer. I think an early frost took Bob to spider heaven. I was content that he lived a good, long, life on our porch.

Since we lost Samantha, I have followed the same no-kill mantra….kind of. I did kill a spider roaming around in my bike shorts. I’m sorry, but if you’re a spider, that’s strike one. Strike two is that you’re randy enough to take residence in my biking shammy which is close to my biking hiney…no way. Sorry spider.

This weekend I found a wasp in our driveway. I don’t like wasps, I think they chase away the bees AND I think they have a secret residence somewhere in the insulation of our house. The recent chill was hard on our particular driveway visitor and he wasn’t doing well. I was about to put said wasp out of his misery when I got a thought that stopped me…..

I looked at my hubbie….

“Samantha wouldn’t ever decided to be a wasp, would she?”

Hubbie gafawed “That precious little thing? A wasp? Never….never, ever, ever.”

So I squished the wasp. Sorry PETA people but trust me; I have escorted several moths, toads, earwigs and grasshoppers out of our house in the last month.

Call me a monster.

But it’s not about the spider or the wasp or my crazy obsession with saving everything. It’s that hubbie and I have a constant dialog about our daughter….even if it’s over the fate of an insect…it’s that we keep on talking….and keep her fresh in our minds.

That is so very comforting to me. We keep on talking. We keep on remembering. Heck, it’s even more comforting than Bob the Spider.

Sorry Bob.
Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

Insolent Mouse

I was toodling around town the other day and pulled behind a big truck. A great, big Mickey Mouse was displayed on the rear window.


Mickey was smiling at me; one hand on his swingy little hip. He was smiling his great, big Mickey smile…..

And he was flipping me the bird.

Really? I thought. Really, really? In what world is it okay to display a Mickey Mouse, an icon of our childhood, the innocence of our youth…in what world is it okay to have Mickey flipping me the bird???

And Mickey seemed to be right in front of me no matter where I went. I would swerve left, he went left…right, he went right…I sped up. I slowed down…it didn’t matter stupid, insolent, middle-finger Mickey was always right ahead of me.

Why does this bother me so much? And I thought about it. It shouldn’t really bother me. The owner of Mickey obviously had an agenda and I was playing right into it.

But in the last month I have been covered in love, kisses, chocolate, wine, prayers, readings, books, candles and more love….love, love, love. I had come to feel good, wonderful, hopeful, about our world and the people in it.

I wasn’t prepared for finger Mickey. In my snuggly shroud of unconditional support, I forgot how some people move through the world….sometimes it isn’t very nice or respectful.

So went home, took a nap, collected the mail and read letters from you all. And I felt kind of bad for the insolent-Mickey owner.

I’ll bet he doesn’t have a snuggly of unconditional love.

But I only felt kind of bad.