… on the real safari

One of the most amazing things I have learned about grief is that it can close us up tighter than tight.

Chase us into turtle mode, where we pull in our heads and hands and feet and anything else that can be exposed to the world at large… and just sit tight. Wait for the storm to pass.


Or it breaks us wide open, the whole ‘a broken heart is an open heart’ thing.

I tend to lean toward the latter, but am not opposed to the former (given a comfy blanket and a good book or great Netflix binge).

If I indulge in the turtle-ing, it won’t be for long.

Because I don’t want to miss it, that which shines through the cracks.

The lessons…


It is painful, oh so painful, to no longer have someone who was once a part of our everydays… in thought or in person… suddenly not be there.

Ands become buts.

“Oh, Granny’s car is in the driveway, ‘and’ she is probably inside reading or watching CNN”…

“Oh, Granny’s car is in the driveway, ‘but’ she is not here.”

It takes a beat – many beats – to not, at least mentally, shudder and stall when shifting from ‘ands’ to ‘buts’. And yet, eventually, neural networks transmogrify themselves and such things become more seamless (but never totally).

And that’s okay.

It means we have loved, let people in.

We’ve been brave enough to let them know us.

We’ve been brave enough to really know them.

Trusted… been trusted.

The real deal.

I don’t want to live in a world where I never feel this.

Because it would mean I never had any of that.

When Granny had been gone for about two weeks, we had an unexpected snowstorm (well, it was unexpected to us, having not checked the weather at all for days).

It didn’t dump much, maybe 5 or 6 inches, but it was heavy, gloppy snow. The kind that looks as if Hollywood has come in overnight and sprayed the world white.

It was quiet when I went outside.

No birds, no cars… no wind.

I went to the water… breathed in the silence, exhaling breath made visible by winter’s chill.

I closed my eyes and let Wonder fill me.

“Ah, there you are.” I thought, “I’ve been looking for you.”

Life is, I think, a Wonder Safari.

The journey, the expedition.

The exploration, investigation.

The hunting.

Not for heads or horns or pelts… or plants or medicines or even for the perfect shot of a Serengeti sunrise.

The small and big game, the trophies? They’re the moments that take our breath away.

In the world around us, and the universe beyond.

In quiet moments, or loud gatherings.

In love, friendship.

In new life.

In loss.

We are ever on safari, even if we don’t realize it, searching for the moments that open us up to the magic, that show us there is so much more.

And that we get to be a part of it.

Experience it.

Live it.

Which is, I think, the greatest gift we can give to those who have left this world before us.

To carry them with us, memories of them entwined in our DNA, while we live our own lives as best we can – smiles and laughter and tears, along with the infinite gifts of ordinary moments.

Ever vigilant for the wonder that may be over that hill, around that bend.

Knowing that, if we are open to it…

It will find us.

Thanks for readin’.

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