Tuesday, November 8, 2016

"Good" Grief

I wrote a post using this same title soon after Rip died. 

At that point I was trying to figure out the whole grief thing, and felt like I was failing miserably. Looking back, I was doing pretty darn well- which is to say I was getting up each morning, putting one foot in front of the other, breathing in and out. I was living. I was doing my best. And when you are at rock bottom, that really does mean something.

Fast forward six years and, through no desire of my own, I’ve gotten better at grief. Or, actually, I’ve just gotten better at being a parent to a child who does not live on this earth.

I remember that first October, my first Infant Loss Awareness Month. I was such a nervous wreck that if I didn’t say or do the right thing, nobody would know how much I loved my son. The same went for his birthday, the day he died- really every day. I felt such a need to prove my love, that I had not, would not, forget Rip that I worried constantly if I was doing it right. 

Somewhere in the past years Rip became such a way of life for me that the fear went away. Just as I’ve become a more confident mother to Gracie and Sam as they grow, the same is true of my relationship with Rip. He is separate from me in the hardest way possible, and yet with me in ways that my other children will never be.

The last couple of years I’ve used the day Rip died to ask others to do something good- and it was great, so many people sending funny and touching stories remembering our boy. But, every year I worried nobody would. And it made that day feel heavy (heavier) than it already did. 

So this year, our family has decided to do something nice for someone each day of Rip’s life. Secretly. It takes all of the pressure off and still allows us to spread the good thing that he is and forever will be.

It is a blessing and a curse to be someone who looks continually for the good, because sometimes it can be awfully hard to find. But this is how we choose to put the good in to our grief this year. 


  1. Anne, I completely get that and am so awed of your ability to verbalize your experience so well. I can't even imagine how helpful that is to other mothers who are grieving and can't find the words. But it's also so incredible that you're educating the rest of us on how to better support you.

    It's like you're attaching the fear of no one showing up to your party to the un-quantifiable amount of love you feel for Rip. Please know that there are also countless numbers of us out there who think about Rip often.

    I am so awed of you and Parke and the unbelievably wonderful parents you are to all three of your children every single day just by getting up and trying again. I love you and think of you and Rip more than you realize and I know I'm not alone.

    1. Thank you my sweet friend! Love you much!!

  2. I love this "He is separate from me in the hardest way possible, and yet with me in ways that my other children will never be." So many prayers for ya'll!