Missing from the ordinary days: grief as a daily habit

With terrible things happening in so many places, here in the US and around the world, grief still hums along inside and alongside these things. New people join our ranks every day. Those living with grief find themselves in challenging, even life-threatening situations without the ones they love. In these ordinary, not-ordinary days, grief can be compounded. That comfort-of-home, the feeling of being at home, can be hard to find.

The weather is turning here in Oregon. As I write, the wind is howling, walnuts from the giant tree outside hurl themselves onto the roof, the sky is a celluloid yellow-gray. It’s exactly the kind of weather I love. The kind of weather we loved – Matt and I would be cooking something on the stove all day, curled up together watching movies, or playing yet another game of Scrabble, the results of which would no doubt be contested for days on end.

This kind of weather used to wreck me.

At just over eight years out now, I can look out on this weather and miss him, miss us, and not have it throw me to the floor. It’s gentle, but noticeable. His absence follows me around in the food I don’t make, the movies I don’t watch. It’s here in the general missing of not just him, but missing, too, the larger sweep of love, of being home with someone. Snuggled in against the cold.

It's not the big holidays that get you. Ordinary days hurt most. Click To Tweet

From the outside, people might think it’s the big dates that hurt the most – birthdays and anniversaries, the flashy holidays. While those can be painful, it’s the ordinary days, the domestic and intimate every-day days that really hurt. The one you love is missing in the every day, the normal moments; they’re missing in all those days that blow in on the wind and stay forever.

Though our life, and my longing for it, has softened considerably over these years, the way it felt to be there, to be snuggled in against the weather – and against or alongside all the pain in the world – it’s still right there, in that certain mid-fall light. It’s sweet, instead of painful (mostly). It’s one of the ways our life is still close to me, remembering what it was like to feel so at home.

Grief lives in the every-day. It’s around at those big holidays, inside those special occasions, yes. And: the intimate rhythms of life are where you might feel your grief most strongly, even more so now with all the isolating aspects of the ongoing pandemic. It’s a place those on the outside don’t often think to look.

How about you? Are there certain days, certain shifts of light or changes in the weather that bring your loss home to you more acutely? What are some of the at-home, intimate, normal-life things that follow you around with their absence? Let us know in the comments.