Meatballs and grief

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Sometimes, while so many thoughts are always swirling in my head, none of them are defined enough to come out yet. Other times I have a single topic that pops up to the top like a numbered lottery ball, and I am compelled to explore it in depth, with excessive word counts and grammar be damned. :)

Lately, there is a lot of swirling and no single winning lottery ball. However, I wanted to share this recent small moment and picture, and the ever-present grief they succinctly acknowledge.

Last week, Vanessa and I went to Subway for lunch. Her mind has seized on their current “deal of the day” subs, and she frequently requests to go to Subway, therefore, to get said deal-sub and cash in on the huge savings. ;) (I think poor Billy had Subway 3 times in 2 days, at one point!)

This particular Tuesday, V got the specific cheaper sandwich of the day- the meatball sub. Here is how she decked it out: flat bread; pepper jack cheese, shredded cheese AND parmesan cheese; spinach; bacon; chipotle sauce. Her drink: a mix of Dr. Pepper and Blue Berry Powerade in a 1:1 ratio.

As you can see, she tends to go for things with spiciness or a distinct flavor, even if the flavors don’t necessarily go together! I can only assume her disease progress has done some crazy things to her taste buds. :P She greatly enjoyed her lunch and I took this photo to document her creation:


But all I could think when I saw the pic was: I don’t recognize her hands, anymore. My brain says: Those aren’t hers!

Except, of course, they are.

The grief of what is happening to Vanessa, to us, does hit me sometimes like a tidal wave of overwhelming sadness that prohibits any other feelings. But the majority of the time, it’s just a constant tiny grief bombardment of small things, which sneak up on me with somewhat subdued force. Like noticing her hands that are not her own, but cancer’s.

It’s a tiny peppering of losses, minute pin-pricks of pain, and I can get through them in the moment without too much effort. Later when I put all the kept-confined-in-the-moment things together, and look at the amassed, massive collection of pain and loss and sorrow, in total… then, I can do nothing but roll into a big disbelieving ball, sobbing all night long, unable to even fathom the depths that this pain will plumb still yet.

And then, the next morning, I make myself get up, make my bed, wash my puffy cried-out face, and prepare for another day. Knowing full well there will be more pin pricks today, more loss, more struggles. Because, while I realize this grief will change and ebb and flow, I also know that it’s here to stay. Grief is part of my journey, an integral thread woven through my life, something I will explore and feel every single day my own life continues.

So I invite grief along, and honor it as part of my truth. I simultaneously keep my eyes and thoughts and heart open, in order to hopefully recognize when it’s the right time to let the grief recede back a bit, to allow another emotion to swell up and be respected as a vital part of my story, too.

For me, this is part of what I pledged, to live sincerely:

Courageously, I will respect each movement of my heart,
through fear and joy, grief and peace.


  1. Raul says:

    Much love. A big Hugh from Spain to Vanessa, Billy, Jessica, Christina and family and friends. Do not feel alone.

  2. Lisa P says:

    My husband and I just went thru the journey of terminal brain tumor with our very oldest and dearest friend and his family. Walking thru the journey is so hard some days. Some days they are showing glimmers of who they were, and some days just watching the struggle for the right words was so painful.
    Our friend was fully aware of what was going on, which to me is the hardest parts. I so wanted to get a live sincerely sign and picture with him, he went to quickly in the end. We miss him so very much. But yes, the grief started well before his death….

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