Posted by: Wagons Ho | September 30, 2017


I’m still getting blindsided by grief. I try to protect myself from the things I know will get me. Commercials, tv shows, and movies that even remotely hint at cancer, the loss of a parent, or death in any way are avoided at all costs. I am an expert at knowing within a few notes that a song is sad and the radio is changed, or muted, instantly. My walls are high and strong.

It’s the things I don’t know I need to protect myself from that get me. This week it was Trapp’s school picture. Trapp has beautiful curly hair. Up until kindergarten we kept his hair long enough that you could see his curls. Then something happened. Someone at school made fun of his curls and he insisted on having short hair.

My mother loved his curls and hated when we would take him for hair cuts. For years she would love to see his hair getting longer in pictures and then, inevitably, right before we would see them in person, he would be at the barber getting it shaved down again. She missed his curls, as I did.

But this year he decided to start letting his hair grow out again. He was embracing the curls. I loved it. When we got his school picture it showed his beautiful curls in all their glory. I instantly thought “Mom would love this picture” and the gut punch was there. Mom would love it. She would adore his hair getting longer, his curls so shiny and perfect. I cried thinking how much I wish she could see them. How I wish I could hear her gushing over him as she always did. I cried about not being able to send her a copy that she would frame and proudly hang. I cried. I’m crying now.

I remind myself, yet again, that it’s only been 6 months since dad died. Only 21 months for mom. No time at all in the scheme of things. But I wonder if there will there ever be a time I’m not blindsided by things like curly hair, emails from dad’s banker about paperwork, or realizing I don’t know mom’s recipe for chicken and noodles. Things that don’t seem like they should hurt so much, but do.

How do you protect yourself from things like that? How do you avoid something you don’t see coming? If anyone knows I’d love to know the trick. Because I sure don’t.


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