Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

A Safe Place


It’s May 30th…..and I seem to have forgotten I have a blog…

Well not really.

I struggled with the whole Mother’s Day post….. what to say about a holiday I truly despise but represents and honors many of the people I love.

I thought I could be snarky ‘I hate Mother’s Day’ Girl and dismiss all sadness with a cheeky ‘This Hallmark Day Aint Getting’ Me’ attitude….I’m stronger than ANY Tom Shane commercial!  But in the end, Mother’s Day kicked my ass….the weather was bad, I made a wretched, incredibly awful egg strada that everyone pretended to like.

“MMMMM….no Heather, the flavors are fantastic. What is that sun-dried tomatoes? Love it!”

I looked over at Hubs who was shaking his head no and grasping his throat.

Stupid Egg Strada.

And Mother’s Day ended with me in the tub, with a glass of wine, feelin’ it….feeling the pressure of the day, the loss of the day and the fact that I don’t know how to make that day okay for me.

It was an ugly cry.

Note to self… ugly cry will be done in baggy, cozy pajamas. Not naked in the tub….even if it is by candle light….that last Pilates class did nothing for me.

God Bless the ugly cry. I mean it. Nothing purges me more. Nothing sets the record straight better than a good shoulder shaking ugly cry.

A couple weeks before, I volunteered at the Children’s Hospital Memorial Service for the children who were patients at Children’s and had passed away in the last year.

I know, I know, I know, what you are thinking…..but I wanted to be there. And it’s hard to explain why…..

It was a safe place. For me, for other parents dealing with their grief, it was a place where I could express who I was, and how I came to be openly, with no pity and with no fear.

It was a relief to put a hand on a mothers’ shoulder and tell her she will be okay….she might make a bad egg strada and wonder why she chose to cry naked in the tub….but she will find beauty again….and it will be more amazing because she will know how fragile it is.

Just finished ‘A Fault in Our Stars’ by John Green, if you haven’t heard of it, it’s a book about two teenagers who have terminal cancer and fall in love.

I know, I know, I know, what you are thinking. But it is a lovely, lovely book….a bit of a safe place for me again…there is a terrific quote…. “Grief does not change us, it reveals us.”


To have a revelation: the act or process of disclosing something previously secret or obscure.

There were several revelations that Mother’s Day…..a safe place…to feel…to truly feel, allows us to come back and be whole again. 

And never, ever, bring an untested egg strada to a pot-luck brunch. 

I read a poem during the Memorial Service that I loved. It is Memorial Day so I thought I would share:

I’m so Glad You Came by Jane Peterson

I’m so glad you came
For I will always know your light
In my hand;
And the power of your leaving was exquisite
A kind of profound silence
I will always recall it
In a moment;
But I am so glad you came.
So incredibly honored
To have known you at all.
I will always know your light
In my hand,
And in a blink, I will see it,

Happy Memorial Day.

To your safe place
Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief


I have to be perfectly honest with you…..

I have been struggling to write. I have sat down two times with an idea for a post and abandoned both of them. 

That’s not like me. I have something to say. I say it. But last couple post have felt like cold oatmeal…..a great idea when it’s hot but if you let it sit too long…..

I have had a time finding my message, my voice. 

A couple days ago I spoke to my good friend Miss H. My friend is moving to Omaha which upsets me greatly. I have been in denial about this move and will continue to be for a very long time. Miss H. and I only see each other a couple times a year but our bond is very close…..I secretly always want to make out with her. And I don’t know WHY….but I do….I think it’s the cute Minnesota accent….and a mean tater-tot hot dish. 

Ten years ago our life was on the same trajectory. She was newly married, I was engaged. We both got pregnant with our first kiddos around the same time. Her son Jackson and my son Jack were born a couple weeks of each other….

And then our paths changed quite dramatically. 

And we are still great friends….kind of like war buddies now who look at each and give a knowing smile. These ten years have been quite a journey. 

Miss H now has three beautiful muchkins…..and is moving to Omaha. Have I mentioned this yet???? Our conversation the other day was eye opening. I was driving to work. She was getting a household ready for school; one child was happy, one child was sad, one wouldn’t put his shoes on. The house is on the market, the move date is set……things are a tad nutty for Miss H. 

And then my lovely friend says, “But how are you?” 

And I know she means it. She really wants to know….because it’s almost Mother’s Day….the evil holiday of all holidays, and it’s Spring and all of of these crazy anniversaries around my kiddos are coming up…..

 And I say, “I’m okay, I think I’m okay. This stuff is coming up again but we’re okay.” 

Because really, we are. I think what I struggle with the most is how to remain relevant. 

Children make you relevant. Samantha gave me a purpose everyday. 

Everyday there is a call to action; lunches must be made, children must be dressed, projects must be finished….and that’s just the typical stuff! Forget bullying, sexting, twerking, peanut allergies and GMO’s. It’s a crazy world out there. 

“Really,” I said. “I might be kind of boring.” 

“Boring would be okay with me,” she said. And then I heard a crash on the phone. 

And I know boring would be okay with her. Especially with everything she has going on….the Holidome on I-70 with a Corona…that would be fine. And I wish boring and quiet for her. 

I, in the meantime was sipping a Starbucks and listening to NPR…..shhhhhh. 

My work now is quieter and I am truly proud of the work we are doing, very proud in fact. But it does not demand attention at 4:00 in the morning, it does not throw up in the hamper, or eat out of dog bowl. The best I can do is a husband who clogs the toilet. 

And so I did tell her that story….my toilet clogging husband.  And got the appropriate eeeewwwwww.…out of her. 

This is still our new life. As we evolve and grow into it…..what will my message be? 

That I need a ticket to Omaha!