1. intense sorrow: great sadness, especially as a result of a death
  2. cause of intense sorrow: the cause of intense, deep, and profound sorrow, especially a specific event or situation
  3. trouble: annoyance or trouble

Tragedy, loss, death…. all causes of pain and grief.  We’ve all experienced grief in some form or fashion.  We’ve lost a relationship to divorce, felt the loss of a friend or loved one through death, or experienced something that has caused us deep and profound sorrow.  Any way you package grief, it is not pretty.  Sometimes the grief comes from a situation very close to our hearts.  Other times we are stakeholders in a particular situation that we might not be close to, but still experience the grief.  The first time I truly felt that intense, deep, and profound sorrow was when my first husband decided he did not want to be married anymore.  I began seeing a wonderful counselor who walked me through the stages of grief.  Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  Wow, what a roller coaster ride!  Just when I thought I’d been around all the curves and was on a straightaway to healing I would hit a wall!  I remember the first time she told me that grief does not happen in a straight line.  Now being the fairly linear person that I am; liking all my ducks lined up and marching in the same direction, this was very unsettling!  I managed to work through the wild ride and found that peaceful place of acceptance.  Grief is a funny thing though.  It hides itself deep inside you and finds tiny little opportunities to sneak out and reappear.  Those little blips on the screen don’t last long and usually find themselves tucked away again.

Over the past three years, I’ve experienced the grief stages dealing with the loss of my mom and a dear friend.  Each one took me on a different journey and each stage was felt in different ways.  Again, that grief manages to find it’s way out at the strangest times and taps me on the shoulder as if to remind me never to forget.  The further out I get from the initial losses, those moments are fewer and further between.  Today, I’m experiencing another wave of grief connected with the tragic loss outside our home this past weekend.  I’m was not connected to either of the men in any way until they collided in my world.  Now we have a connection… and it’s not by choice.  It seems that each hour brings a different stage of grief.  Mornings are very emotional, with lots of tears for reasons I can’t really put my finger on.  My days are spent being very busy which helps me to forget.  As I approach my home each evening after work, I feel sad and depressed with a sense of dread.  Once I’m home with my husband,  I move into the acceptance stage and everything feels like it did before.  Then tonight the widow of the gentleman on the bike knocks on my back door to inform me of another vigil, asking if they can block our driveway with their cars.  Now I’m angry.  More people, new balloons to add the the ever-growing memorial, and another reminder of the lives that collided a week ago.  I did not ask for this to happen in front of my house.  I did not ask for my family to be ever-changed by the scene we witnessed.  I don’t want to look out at the shrines for the two men lost.  How long will people continue to drive by slowly and stop?  How many more nights will people come and light the candles?  Will the mangled bike be chained to the telephone pole forever?  Outside my window are countless memories of the night that I am trying to forget.  Alongside my anger sits my guilt.  How can I be angry when people have lost loved ones?  How can I be so self-centered and only think of myself and what is best for me?  What if I’d lost someone that evening?  The guilt makes me feel sad… and the cycle keeps on spinning.

Tonight I hold tight to one thing … Six Hours One Friday*… when Jesus defeated death on the cross.

*Six Hours One Friday by Max Lucado


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