Universal Sadness

It’s funny how the universe tosses things to you in lumps, almost as if somewhere, someone is saying ‘the theme for this week is going to be…’.

Sometimes it’s things like dishwashers. You know – you make the mistake of pricing a dishwasher online and suddenly all your feeds are filled with ads for dishwashers. And every delivery truck you pass on the road is carrying boxes of dishwashers. You see them everywhere for a week or so and then they’re gone, as if people quit buying dishwashers.

It’s like that when you’ve lost someone, too. There are universe themes where, for several days, you seem to see them everywhere you look.

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This week has been like that. I went to the local grocery store and there was Sam, standing in the produce aisle.

Except it wasn’t Sam.

Then I saw him walking down the street in shorts and flip-flops, earbuds in.

Except it wasn’t Sam.

Then I got online and in a grief resource page I belong to, a person I don’t know posted about how lately they saw their child everywhere.

And then Sam’s mom said she’d seen Sam in a young firefighter she passed, and how emotionally hard that had been for her.

Obviously there’s been a lot of sadness this week. But at the same time, it’s strange how this comes in waves. Why now?

What happens in the world around us that we are all having the same sort of grieving week? Not just those of us connected to Sam, but others, too. Is it that odd sense of days shortening, seasons changing? Even though it’s only July and too early, there have been days this week that felt like fall. Is it the melancholy moment of change, of the earth turning toward sleep, of darker mornings?

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Or is it simply how grief works? That some days are good and some days are hard and some weeks there are reminders surrounding you that are bittersweet?

Or maybe it’s just our loved ones giving us a gentle nudge, reminding us that they are still with us. To not forget them.

Whatever the reason, I’m not alone this week. There are people around me seeing their loved ones, suffering through that brief second of joy when we recognize the one who is gone, before reality smacks us in the heart.

I’m with you, wherever you are. And I understand.

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The husband on the river Sam loved to kayak.