When Grief Sneaks Up On You

Dependable routine is one of my most important coping mechanisms.

I like slipping from one familiar chore to the next without thinking.

It keeps my mind busy in an effortless way that leaves little room for random thoughts, little space for grief-inducing memories to sneak in and trip me up.

Change Aversion And The Conflicted User - Usability Geek

Change is really not my friend.

Still, change is upon me (and millions of others!) because of this virus. So I’m doing the best I can to cope.

Instead of a house to myself, now my husband is working from home. Instead of quiet mornings alone, conference calls echo off the walls and follow me out open windows to the yard. Instead of before dark breakfast and early lunch with the kitchen closed by noon, I eat early, he eats later, I eat lunch and he eats supper. Kitchen open til eight.

None of those are things I can’t get used to.

After all, I’m blessed he’s here, has a job and we have not only enough to eat but a wide variety . I like cooking and love finding creative uses for leftovers.

Creative Ways to Use Leftovers - Bites for Foodies

What no one but me knows about all the change is this: I’m walking places I tend not to go-in the house, in the yard, down our paths-and every place I set my foot holds memories I’ve been avoiding.

When we moved an old pen a couple weeks ago for new chickens we found a rusty chain attached to its base. While my husband and son were digging it out to use again I was transported to the day Dominic moved the pen years ago with the tractor. It was just me and him and he was a little perturbed with me that I needed it moved. I saw him in my mind’s eye plain as day on the tractor. I could hear his baritone voice above the trusty thrum of the engine and picture him hopping down from the seat, unhooking the chain and driving off to park the tractor.

It was a flash. Here and gone in an instant. But the rest of the day I suffered from a grief hangover that I just couldn’t shake.

These are challenging days.

So much of the routine I depend on to guide me through has been shredded. So many of the habits I’ve developed over years are unavailable right now.


So I’m doing the best I can.

One day and one memory at a time.

Breathe in, breathe out.


Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

6 thoughts on “When Grief Sneaks Up On You”

  1. Sliding down that slippery path too Melanie. So many off guard moments now my mind is not taken up with the careful structures the new me put in place. Dear Lord support us as we face these struggles again.


  2. Yes! Just gathered stuff from my kindergarten classroom in order to teach from home via the internet. My job, my students, the busy days helped my aching heart. Now my mind is battling more with anxious, sad thoughts. I’m always thinking of my Jeff, but feel more deeply now with more time on my hands. You hit the nail in the head, Melanie. May God give us added mercy and grace to take every thought captive.


  3. Melanie, I can so relate. I was in a very bad auto accident last June and still healing with my ankle surgery being postponed by the virus events. My solace was going to work and driving where ever I wanted. All of this plus the uncertainty of the world has me in a tailspin. I love reading your blog everyday and absolutely love when you include a picture of Dominic……his smile is so infectious. Love and hugs.


  4. Thank you again Melanie, for writing down what I’ve been struggling to name. Our son’s birthday is Friday and the build up to that day is always extra. (We are 6 1/2 years in to this new life without him.) Having little structure and too much time in our house has made the grief so much louder. The routine of my job and the rhythm of each week is gone. I’m off balance and that takes my mind back to the awful days, weeks, months and years after Kent died.
    So thank you. The expression “we’re all in this together” has been used a lot lately. We’re not all in this place of child loss grief but I am grateful to have others like you who are. God be with you.


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