A couple weeks ago at Disneyland, we were hurrying from California Adventure to Downtown Disney to get to our dinner reservation. Along the way, what should have been a completely normal scene—one I would typically consider sweet, or maybe even not notice—had me coming undone.
There in front of us was a boy, about 12 years old, and his grandpa. The grandfather was in one of those scooter-type wheelchairs and the boy was beside him, holding on and laughing.
Instead of a smile, I felt tears on my face. There it was—that sneaky little feeling—grief. Yes, I was overcome with sadness that Big, who was right beside me holding my hand, would never get to know what it’s like to be 12 years old, at Disneyland with my dad—his grandpa. That I would never get to quietly observe the two of them, laughing and creating memories together. Ever again. And, though I hope he did, I’m guessing that boy didn’t know just how lucky he was—how extraordinary it was—to be doing such an ordinary thing.
Grief is funny like that. There are the moments you expect it—when people ask how you’re doing (and really, sincerely mean it) or when you’re watching a TV show with a plot line that hits too close to home—but it’s the moments grief blindsides you that are the hardest. Because when you can feel it coming on, you have at least a small sense of control. But when you don’t, there’s no way to know how hard it will hit and how long it will last.
Those are the moments that make you feel different. Jaded. Like maybe the world will never look as sunshiny again. But soon enough your little boy does something that makes your heart burst and you remember that love is far more powerful than grief. But it’s ok to feel—really, really feel—both extremes when they grab hold of you.
During the fifth month of her pregnancy—while expecting her first child—Natalie Taylor is devastated by the sudden death of her husband. Her journey with grief is chronicled in Signs of Life: A Memoir. This post was inspired by her experience following her birth class on page 64. Join From Left to Write on March 29th as other bloggers discuss Signs of Life by Natalie Taylor as well. As a member of From Left to Write, I received a copy of the book. All opinions are my own.