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. To follow, please leave your email address.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Grief's Coloring Book

Another life has ended and I’m digging through the crayon box trying to find my emotions.

Royal Purple radiates the bruise that spreads under my skin. Blue Denim holds the cold fists of anger. The bower where I find rest is green, but not Shamrock Green or Granny Smith Apple. Too bright, too warm. Forest Green is grainy and gray like sorrow.

The colors of grief are the bold primaries. They’re also a thousand shades of nuance, of boundaries and edges between what has been and what might be. The sky is Steel Blue because they no longer make the True Blue crayon. At night I sleep on earth that is Brick Red, Rojo Oscuro, or Maroon, colored by the dried blood of centuries of dead people.

I color outside the lines because grief has erased the boundaries of polite, and destroyed my belief in cause and effect. Compassionate people die. Hateful, greedy, pompous people don’t.

Crayons have no ethics, only emotions.

What is the color of loneliness? What is today’s shade of depression? Deep inside, I hunger for something I can’t see. What crayon is able to color that?

And yet …

I find solace for death in the wonder of Impossibly Peach. The iridescent sheen of Indigo Bunting. The passion of Totally Mad Magenta. The shiver of Elusive Moonbeams.


(My gratitude to Amanda Welsh and Adam Oldfield for giving me the crayons.)


  1. Wonderful, Thank you, Mark. I can visualize each emotion by color. Another wonderful tool for the griever.

    1. Your sandbox idea for opening one's grief up is great!

  2. very beautiful, and inspiring, and what color is love?probably many colors and shades.
    "Deep inside, I hunger for something I can’t see. What crayon is able to color that?" so true. there is this emptiness I cannot fill with all the other parts of my life and that part is so connected to him, that part of me left the day he did. take care. love your writing.

    1. Thank you, Melody. Yes, what color is absence?