Tag Archives: grieving too much

Good Grieving, with Friends

Robin Botie of ithaca, New York, photoshops the full moon relecting in a pond.“You’re taking this grieving thing too far,” he said, shaking his head, and giving me a searing look. If we shared a thousand more hours and a million words, he’d be no closer to understanding anything about my ways of dealing with grief.

“A dozen people getting together. It’s not like we’re tearing our hair out or shredding our shirts or anything. What’s the problem with talking and connecting?” I asked, eyeing the last piece of pizza. His eyes focused on the dining room table, now covered with dirty paper plates and empty wineglasses. “People grieve in different ways,” I added, wondering if he had ever experienced deep debilitating grief. I’d never wish that for him. But how could one know joy without acknowledging loss? If he simply slipped past all of life’s sadness, like driving through stop signs late at night when no one’s looking, would his life be better?

“Help yourself to some shrimp cocktail. And take some dumplings,” I said, impatient to get back to my guests. I’d left them parked on the deck with six different desserts, overlooking the five-million-year-old boulders planted around the pond. We’d been discussing our children, the age of the rocks, the possibility of an afterlife, Stephen Hawking’s multiple dimensions, living with lymes disease, and where to buy chocolate mice. In this group I could say anything and never hear, “ You’re taking your grieving too far.”

The dog and I returned to the circle outside and the conversation continued around us. The sky grew darker. The grunts of the bullfrogs grew louder. The dog fell asleep at our feet. And too soon everyone was smiling, saying thank you and goodbye.

They were gone before the full moon rose over the pond. Then, the dog trailed me as I cleared the deck, and we watched the fractured reflection of the moon in the black pond. I made a wish that all who suffer might find friends to sit with during their dark times.


What helps you deal with emotional pain? Sharing with a friend? Joining a group? Talking to God? Talking to the moon? To the dog?

For the Rest of My Life

With eyes bloodshot from crying, Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, Photoshops a rose over her rosy veined face.The past few years, I cried so much over the death of my daughter, I thought I was scouring my eyes bloodshot. But when my eyes were still red and itchy after a two-week period without tears, I went to see an eye doctor.

“Ocular rosacea,” he said. And I immediately blasted him with questions. “No, it’s not cancer,” he assured me. “No, you won’t lose your eyesight.”

Rosacea was not unfamiliar to me. I’d had the rosy veined cheeks for years, inherited from my father. It gave me a healthy glow and I loved the sound of the name Rose Aysha, until I learned how it was really spelled. I had no idea one could get rosacea in the eyes. Believing I’d wrecked my eyes entirely by grieving, I soon learned that emotional stress, as well as wine, chocolate, spicy foods, sun, wind, exercise, and all the things that give me joy contribute to this condition.

We can control the symptoms,” the doctor said, “but this will be with you for the rest of your life.” That blew the whites out of my eyeballs completely. My daylight was shattered as if a death sentence had been delivered.

Later, when I realized I was going to survive fairly unscathed, I thought to myself, it’s a stinking shame we can’t choose what or who gets to stay with us for life.


Who or what can you say will be with you for the rest of your life? What joy-busters will follow you forever?