Grief’s Great and Impossible Friends


Dear Grief-

You’re the unexpected companion I’m not sure I will ever want. I didn’t ask for you to befriend me, to walk near me, to near strangle me at times with the Others you are near. You show up unexpectantly and have over stayed your welcome countless times. Please hear my plea.

Sometimes I’m not sure if you are still lurking in the spare bedroom or if you’ve left for good or just momentarily. You tip toe around my house and I feel on edge that you are going to pop out and catch me by surprise, because that’s the way you always seem to show up. I wish you’d write and let me know you’re coming, send an email or call me with a warning. Don’t you know, Grief, that I’d prepare for your visit? I think it would be a lot nicer for you, and me, and all of my friends if we knew you were thinking of spending time with me. Grief, your unexpected visits don’t just affect me, they impact my friends too. I’m not even sure sometimes how you make you’re way into my House.

Sometimes I try to prepare for you, when I foresee that maybe you’d be coming around. But my preparations never seem to be enough. Grief, I did not know you’d bring a torrent of Friends with you, that you don’t live entirely with your roommate Solitude. Sometimes I just want to be alone with my friend Solitude, but then you show up and I know that Sorrow and Loss are walking next to you, so they influence me too. Maybe you too didn’t know they would have such a profound affect on my life. I spend so much time trying to understand Sorrow and Loss. I’m not always sure why you’re so close to them. Sorrow and Loss leave a trajectory of tragedy.

Grief, it is so hard to keep Anger out when Sorrow and Loss are near. I haven’t seen Anger help me much. Either Anger shows up to injure me or entices and pushes me into hurting others. Grief, I don’t want to hurt anyone. There’s enough hurt in this world. I hear Anger can be powerful and beautiful and often is a friend with Justice. But I don’t know Justice very well. Why must you make me struggle with Anger so much? Apathy and Numbness used to follow you and show up at all my House parties. Where did they go? Why did you send them away? I didn’t mind their company and they were far better than Anger. Far better suited for my disposition.

It’s hard to close the door on your companions Resentment and Bitterness. There’s not enough oxygen in my House for all of your friends, Grief. If I must host your Friends, I try to discern who’s okay to stay and who I must create boundaries with. I’m learning to appreciate Sorrow and Loss, though I am not sure I am capable of loving them yet. I’m not even sure I am capable of handling their relationship in my life well. Sorrow and Loss are usually your wingmen, but they are so small and timid. They get lost in the crowd of Friends. You see, Grief, when Sorrow and Loss overwhelm me, when I get frustrated that you’re friends seem to stay longer in my House than anyone else’s, Resentment and Bitterness stop over for lunch or dinner. And they ALWAYS show up when I haven’t made enough food for them, enough room for them, when I’m low on space and time. And they MAKE SURE I know I am not enough. Resentment and Bitterness never leave without reminding me that I haven’t done enough, been enough, gave enough to deserve, to receive, to believe.

Grief, I don’t always enjoy or appreciate your Friends. These Friends are loud and they take up a lot of room and resources in my House. I’m starting to get to know some of your Other Friends, but they are much more still and quiet and harder to know. They take a lot of time. I’m so tired and weary already. I hardly have any leftover resources for them. They don’t seem to show up at all when Resentment and Bitterness are in my House, probably because Resentment and Bitterness mock them so much. Your more quiet Friends are content to listen and wait for Anger to have it’s way. Sorrow and Loss know the Others very well and keep promising that I would greatly appreciate your Other Friends, but Apathy and Numbness have never met them. Grief, you’re Other Friends Joy and Love are coming around more often these days. We’re starting to get to know each other, but they are so still. I’m not used to their demeanor. It’s uncomfortable.

One of your Other Friends that comes around is never disturbed by the uproar of Anger or the wrath of Resentment. This Friend isn’t shocked by the blows of Bitterness or the depth of Sorrow. Loss told me that this Other Friend is it’s fraternal twin and that they are inseparable and very close. I would never have guessed that Loss and Hope are birthed from the same origin. I’ve been trying really hard, Grief, to get to know Hope. Most of what I understand of Hope is from Loss right now.

Of all your Friends, I think I like Hope the most. It’s hard to get to Hope with all the Others that you’re around. But Hope seems worth it. 

Grief, I still don’t care for most aspects of you and I’d prefer not to have to struggle in this relationship with you, but I’ve never been one to give up easily. So I’m willing to keep struggling with you as we try to figure out all these Friends of yours and make room for the more quiet and still ones. Because those are the Friends I really think I want in my House.

Yours truly,


(“A Letter to Grief” link up)

10 responses »

  1. Such wise insights here! It’s clear that you are well acquainted with Grief and all of its Friends .. for that, I am sorry — yet clearly you are using this knowledge for your own growth. Well done for making the most of your situation and all of life’s challenges, and for seeking to use much wisdom with each visit you receive. Strength and grace to you!


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