Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kickin' birds

Last week marked 3 months since the accident. All the books on grief that I have read warned me that month 3 would be just as intense as the first day of loss. I had begun to mentally prepare myself for total emotional melt-down.

I made it through that day, and the week before and after, without that melt-down. I wasn't prepared for that.

Just yesterday, I finally finished "A Grief Observed" by C.S. Lewis - his reflections on losing his wife. It was a tough read for me, but was filled with helpful nuggets for my own grief. Toward the end of the book, Lewis talks about the way his grief lessoned at a time when it should have intensified. He went on to say that because he was not blinded by his tears and uncontrollable emotions, he was actually able to reflect positively on his spouse, their fond memories, and the beauty of who she was.

I can totally relate. So often I think I should constantly be a slobbery mess. But I continue to be reminded that my grief is unique and cannot be defined by a book or other people's expectations. Actually these last few weeks have been a welcome relief. My mind, as always, is filled with thoughts of Tony, but these thoughts lately have brought laughs and smiles, more often than tears. I find myself wishing for him just to tell him something funny that has happened or show him a beautiful place he would have loved.

I wished for him at the beach with his family this week. I wished for him to see my neice Haley kicking birds. Yes, kicking birds. This is a long-standing joke between Tony and me, starting on the top of the Empire State Building when we were just dating. Since I was a kid, I have always been intrigued by getting as close to a bird as possible until it flew away. Call it mean, I call it fun. We were surrounded by pigeons on the observation deck. I simply lifted my leg toward one bird to see what would happen. As the pigeon flew off, its beak hit the safety rail, making it sound like I had actually kicked it. A lady behind us loudly stated, "she just kicked that bird." The look on Tony's face was one of utter shock, but quickly that turned to unending laughter. He never believed I did not actually kick the bird and brought it up on multiple occasions.

So just to make him smile, I attempted to kick birds on our honeymoon in Barbados, and on our West Coast vacation, and in Denver with my girlfriends. Really, I just chased them away, with pictures to prove it. When pigeons landed near our stuff at the beach this week, I seized the opportunity to share our joke with my neice. She loved it so much that on my last day at the beach with her, she told me "I sure hope we can kick some birds at the beach today, Aunt Melissa."

I can hear Tony's belly laugh now.

The mystery of grief continues. I think mystery is a fitting word.

Dearly loved,


  1. i've always loved the bird stories. i love you sweet friend. encouraged by your strength and strengthened by your love! <3 <3 <3

  2. What a great story! I bet he was laughing at you guys. :)