Sunday, October 2, 2011


There is something so unique that happens to us when we walk through a tragedy, whether it be losing a spouse, a child or a parent at a young age.  Unless you have walked through it, you will not understand.  And if you haven't, although you can't personally relate, my hope is that by reading this you will be able to understand what has happened and extend a tremendous amount of compassion and grace to those that have survived a tragedy.  I call it the earthquake.

You are walking through life.  Your feeling good.  You may even been feeling the healing that has been happening.  You recognize that you are solid, you are stable, everything is going smooth.  You are starting to recover and live again.  Then it happens.  The earthquake. One small little nudge in the foundations of you life, and everything reacts.  You feel the earth shaking underneath you, the china is clattering, and books are falling off the shelves!  Sometimes you aren't even able to pinpoint the epicenter of the quake, what caused it, and which fault line was activated.

Just like an earthquake comes suddenly and without warning, so does this emotional earthquake.  Sometimes its a little thing, such as the house being out of order, or a bill you overlooked.  Othertimes its something much larger than that, the loss of a friendship, or stress from work.  But just the same this one  event seems to shake the foundation of your life.  And in the midst of it nothing is working right.  It effects every part of your life, especially your emotional capacity.

In the midst of my earthquakes, regardless of the source, I have this extreme overwhelming feeling.  I'm overwhelmed by the trigger, and everything else.  Walking past a small mess in my house feels like a mountain, one more thing I can't deal with.  And its at these moments that I get extremely impatient with my son.  I cry at the drop of a hat, and generally feel like I can't handle my life.  But in reality I am handling life, I'm handling it very well on a day to day basis- I've just experienced a small earthquake.  The tremor only lasted for 30 seconds or so.  Yet it takes much more time to pick up the broken china, and put the books back on the shelf.

I'm learning to sense its coming.  And in these moments I have learned to seek safety! Run to a door jam, and get safe.  Get away from the source of the quake, and remove myself from any of those objects which come flying off the shelves and agitate me.  If it means leaving a room, or leaving work.  If I have to arrange a babysitter for my son, or let him watch another movie, I will.  I may not be able to stop the quake from happening but I can limit the casualties.

I wish I could say how long we widows are subject to these earthquakes, but I 'm still walking it out and developing an understanding.  What I can say is that it has been 10 months, and they still happen.  They are fewer and far between, they don't last as long and I am beginning to learn to recognize the signals as they approach.

Whether its you or a survivor you know who experiences these earthquakes let me encourage you with this: it is normal! Recognize it for what it is- an overload response of your soul.  And give yourself (or them) the time, space and resources to deal with it.  Grief is not an excuse.  Its a reality.  Its my reality.  And the more I recognize and allow myself to go through the process, the more healed I become!


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope the earthquakes get fewer and fewer.

  2. Megan, They are! Thank you so much for taking time to share in this adventure with me!