So if anyone spotted a weirdo hiding out in the canned foods aisle at Giant Eagle today, don’t be alarmed. Yep, that was me…

I was poring over the yogurt selections, completely oblivious to the music being piped throughout the store until Louis Armstrong’s version of Wonderful World came on…

Instantly, I felt my eyes well up. I grabbed my yogurt, while commanding my brain to think nothing but happy thoughts… yet all I could focus on was the song… and memories… and missing her… and sadness.  Made it to the canned goods aisle and read the label on every applesauce jar on the shelf until the song ended and I pulled it together… I can just hear it, “Security to aisle six; emotional fruit loop on the loose.” (((Sigh)))

Tonight, Jess and I got a message from one of her dear old friends from elementary school. Apparently she had just heard about Mom’s passing, and sent us the most touching note describing her memories of “gram.” She put her feelings into words so beautifully; a flurry of emotions washed over me like falling rain on an early spring day. Happiness, sadness, pride, love, admiration, inspiration…  Never underestimate the power of words.

I hope that somehow, somewhere, some way, Mom knew how much she was loved and what a massive impact she had on so many lives… We should all be so lucky.

A new GriefShare series is starting this Wednesday evening at Vineyard. I am planning to go, although right now I’m thinking I might sit there and cry for two hours straight. I guess we’ll see. Maybe being in the presence of others who can relate will be a good thing. Right now, I just feel very alone where all of this is concerned. I suppose this would be where siblings might come in handy… (and I stress [might] because I know that’s a crap shoot at best).

Coincidentally, the manager of Bereavement Services at HomeReach/Kobacker also left a voice mail today. Just reaching out to explain what they have to offer in terms of counseling and support… maybe I’ll call them back tomorrow. Hiding In the Canned Goods Aisle....

What sounds most appealing right now is disappearing to a quiet, far away retreat for about six months and coming back to a new place, new living arrangements, new job, and a fresh outlook on life…. Ah, one can dream…

In the meantime, perhaps there is comfort and inspiration in knowing that a book titled Where the Tree Falls the Forest Rises, by Charlene Elderkin, is filled with essays by real people who open up and share their personal stories of death and how it changed their lives…   I guess I’m not alone after all.

From Ms. Elderkin’s website:

One change that death brings to the bereaved is rarely discussed — the power of death to generate new life in those who loved the deceased.

Where the tree falls, the forest rises is a collection of true stories that offer an intimate glimpse into personal renewal following the death of a loved one. Without denying the experience of grief and loss, these first-hand accounts illustrate how ordinary people find a way to integrate the death of their beloved into a forever-changed life. How this integration unfolds and when is as varied as the people writing their stories.

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