Grief has no kind of timeline.

It follows strange pathways through my body. I’m tired of feeling it.

I had the thought two days ago, I want to forget her. I will gather all the things in my home that remind me of her. I will box them up and make them disappear from sight. Memories only lead to grief when your someone is murdered.

My phone rings from a good friend of thirty years.

We never talk talk. Just catch up via social media.

It triggered the same panic that I get every time the phone rings, someone is dead. I answered it. Of course no one is dead. We had a lovely conversation filled with laughter and her voice just exactly the way I remember.

I still fear answering my phone. I get a jolt of adrenaline and panic.

I’m tired of my grief. I am choosing life, I promise you. But grief just comes ambling in and you are stricken by lightening. You choose to regroup, get on with whatever it is you were doing, or curl into a singed ball.

I hear a certain performer and remember she loved going to concerts with her kids. I see a certain flower and remember her love of tulips. I smell a food and think of her cooking. I cook and the kitchen is messy, I think of how messy she was. I unlock my car and think of how she broke my lock and how furious I felt. I drive her son to football and know that she would have been a great sports Mom.

Forty something years of memories that cannot be boxed up and made to go away. Though I am tired of my grief I carry on.


{I Lost the Month of May: A poem} by Melody Harrison Hanson

I lost the month of May
somewhere between watching my mother
suffer extreme pain and mental confusion.

I felt her pass by heavily; Time,
slowed to a crawl
as I was watching.
And now, the month of May is gone.

Time lost cannot be retrieved.
I know this as my friend’s cancer roars in wildly.
This third time more persistent.
And I am heavy with awareness that the months and days of her reprieve, I spent

weighed down with my life.

Gone is the month of May
on bursts of sudden energy, then

languishing in the dark.
Being strong and capable,

as my heart leaked lost time.

I watched the hours tick by at my mother’s bedside.

Time lost forever?
or time spent on forever.

Knowing forever is such a long time.

Friend love stretches on forever.
Mother-daughter love lasts forever too.

Each, a lifetime of forevers found,
to be savored. Still,
the month of May is spent,

costly. On loving.
Or is it simply lost and gone?

We are all lost and found.
I am a friend and daughter.
Love is here, there,
and gone.

As I sit here thinking
my heart is leaking
forever time.

{We Are All Dying}

The crawl of fear,
of losing, is close.  It licks me,
as if I am a salty wound.  Everyone dies.

Of course.

But lately, I am aware
of Life all around me

healthy or otherwise.

Tiny birds are singing a sonnet, high up in the tree.
Cancer cells are growing inside a dear old friend.
Dementia and life-stealing pain overtake a sweet elderly neighbor.
Depression and anxiety crush the once glowing spirit of my child

Meanwhile I cling
to sanity, to sobriety
and to Faith, there is Peace.

We are all dying,

and yet without the thought of imminent loss,
of the Ultimate loss, death

we haven’t appreciated our life as a gift.

Everyone dies.
Everyone lives.

Won’t you choose to live?

Choose joy in the midst of sorrow and grief?
Choose peace when hope seems dim?
Yes, fear circles around me like a flame, curling and

enveloping me in those early morning hours when

fear wakes me with a vice grip on my heart, blood pulsing.
Aware, that I am alive.

Everyone lives.
Everyone dies.

They are bitter, these days and nights.  Acrid, this

of life. Pungent,

and in this Pain,
there is a Holy Awareness.

Life’s aroma is sweet.

Goodbye “Uncle” Pete

goodbye “uncle” pete

Originally uploaded by M e l o d y

It was Christmas eve. The kids and I spent the day making and decorating sugar cookies. The kids had so much fun. (Of course we told them to slow down with the candies on top, or no-one would want to eat them!) Emma and I took a few cookies over to “Uncle” Pete, our neighbor.  He’s a widower and lives on one side of a duplex next door, his daughter and her family on the other. They were traveling and it had been “pretty quiet” he said. We rang his bell and as we handed over the plate Pete said, “Oh that will brighten up my table! …. We’re still on for pie tonight?” He was coming over that evening, after Christmas Eve church service, for pie.

That was one of my last conversations with Pete.  He did indeed come over later that night, and enjoyed “cheesecake with the drippings!” as he called it.  He laughed with my kids, asked questions about our traditions, and shared some of his own like the opening of the presents.  He talked about a friendly squirrel that visits outside his porch, which his daughter Layne has named.  He seemed kind of down, or quiet, or extremely tired.  But I was so glad that he came.  My mom was there as well and we had nice dessert tastings.

While he was here, I invited him to eat Christmas dinner with us the next day. He wasn’t sure, as he was trying to finish up a project for Layne & Andrew.  He called the next day around 1:00 to say that he was actively working on the project for his kids and wanted to finish it. Later that night, around 6:00 (I don’t exactly remember?) pm I called over to see if he wanted a plate of Christmas turkey, stuffing, etc and/or to come over for more pie. He declined as he was tired, happily full from where ever he had just been. He mentioned he was weary from waking at 4:00 am and he had to get up early for his conference. He had spent the morning writing, he was happiest when he was writing.   He sounded exhausted, but at the time I wasn’t concerned in any way, just disappointed that he didn’t come on over.

I had woken Christmas morning with the flu, and had a whole day on the 26th of more preparations and the Hanson Christmas celebration. I wonder if I would have gone to check on him if I hadn’t been so distracted by things.  But really, Pete travels all the time and if he’s gone or here, his car is in the garage. There is no way that I could have known.  I snow blowed their driveway on Sunday, but nothing seemed amiss.

The next day, I ate that plate of food I had made up for Pete. By that time, I think he had passed away.  Sometime that morning.

My friend, “Uncle” Pete, passed on to be with the Lord (likely) Friday, Dec. 26th, in the morning in his home.

Around 11:00 this morning, an InterVarsity staff person came by a bit alarmed by the fact that Pete hadn’t shown up at a conference on the 26th. (The one he was packing for.) I found him.

I still can’t believe it. Sometime soon, I will write my thoughts about Pete. Right now I am in shock, just stunned and shocked that he is gone.  I’m writing all this down, because Pete often reprimanded me about not writing more.  After my father died, I did not write things down and I have forgotten a lot of the detail.

Goodbye Pete. I miss you already.