Dead man’s shoes: grief in the little things

I write a lot about how we come to grief, how we can get better at supporting each other in grief, but there’s a lot more to be said. We don’t talk about the reality of grief in our culture. Because of that, lots of grieving people wonder if what they’re experiencing is “normal.” They think they might be the only ones falling apart at the smallest of interactions.

To give the whole story, to give as many handholds as possible in the steep climb of grief, we need to hear personal stories – things that let us know we aren’t alone, no matter how strange we feel. With that aim, I occasionally post something from my own early experience of grief. It’s an inside look at love, at grief, at life.

This week, a post I wrote several years ago, as I cleared out boxes of our old life. It was years ago now, but in these words, I can slip right back there, right back to that day, and that man, and those boxes.


I rang the doorbell
as requested
for your assistance with my donation

I am going back to the car to get more bags
you do not need to yell at me to stop
you do not need to yell
that this better be something you can sell

Do you treat everyone this way?
Even as I bring you more
you keep yelling.
Even after I am crying
and ask you to please stop giving me
a hard time right now

I understand that people often leave you trash.

Do you know what is in these bags?

My husband’s shoes.

The shawl I wore to his funeral
Four days after he drowned.

I do not think you need to yell at me



grief support that doesn't suckHow about you? Have you given away any of your loved one’s things? If so, how was that for you? Let us know in the comments.