Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Grief is Disneyland



Every so often another way to describe the journey through grief pops up. I’m beginning to think that the dimensions of grief are endless. Hmmm.
Today’s thought is that it’s like a carnival ride, and I’m going to use the rides from Disneyland to illustrate my points because Evelyn loved the place. 

Grief starts out like the Space Mountain ride.

You’re sent in a speeding car through the dark insides of a mountain and can’t see where you’re going. You’re thrown side to side, up and down, with flashing lights and shadows of things flying by close to your face. You come out of that ride shaken and unsteady on your feet. I do, anyway. Evelyn would be hurrying around to get back on.

The next segment of grief puts you on the It’s a Small World ride. It’s boring after the first minute, the same music plays over and over, and you begin wanting to tear things apart. There’s nothing interesting going on, and it seems like the ride is never going to end.

Then it’s Peter Pan’s Flight in Fantasyland that takes you flying over London and makes you wistful again, wishing that the dreams that have ended could still, somehow, come true if you only could wish hard enough.

Eventually you get to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad that is outdoors in warm sunshine. On this ride you can see what is coming up and prepare for it, leaning into the curves and bracing yourself for the quick ups and downs. For five minutes you feel joy and excitement again.


The ride eventually ends, of course, with all of its energy and movement. But it’s a good sign if you enjoyed the ride that you are coming back to the land of the living. You can take this energy and use it to carry you through the rest of the day. Maybe you’ll find yourself whistling while you work.

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