Good grief? Is that even a thing? I found out the hard way that grief is a natural, human response to pain. Learn to sit with your grief. #grief #anxiety #depression #NationalFamilyCaregiversMonth #caregiver #fmfparty #emotions #health #mentalhealth

Good grief? Is that even a thing? I found out the hard way that grief is a natural, human response to pain. Learn to sit with your grief.

This post is part of the Five-Minute Friday quick write hosted by Kate Moutang. Join us each Thursday night on Twitter (#FMFParty) for fun and fellowship, then grab a pen and start writing when the prompt goes live!

Good grief? Is that even a thing? I found out the hard way that grief is a natural, human response to pain. Learn to sit with your grief. #grief #anxiety #depression #NationalFamilyCaregiversMonth #caregiver #fmfparty #emotions #health #mentalhealth

Living in a Dark Place

“Mama,” Sarah whispered, so close I almost bonked heads with her when I woke up.  “What’s for breakfast?”

Breakfast? Oh, yeah. Saturday morning and I’d let myself sleep in an hour. “What time is it, sweetie?” I asked. 

“Ten o’clock,” she answered.

“My!”  I exclaimed. “I really slept in! I’ll get up in a minute and make some pancakes.”

“We haven’t had pancakes in forever,” Sarah sighed in contentment while I struggled out from under the covers and reached for my robe.  I never slept in. 

Tomorrow I’d make sure and get up on time—Pedro would return from California in a week, and the whole cancer thing would fade into the distance. I hoped.  

But I could seem to shake the fog. I hadn’t cleaned the house in…days? Weeks? Months? I couldn’t remember. Surely, I had gone grocery shopping since July…but I couldn’t remember, and February lurked around the corner. I went to work every day and taught classes, but I lived for a chance to fall into my bed. A real bed, unlike the Naugahyde fold-out chair supplied by the hospital for family visitors.

Obviously, I needed to get my act together. But I couldn’t. Grief kept me tethered. During one of the most joyful, celebratory times of my life, grief wrapped its insidious fingers around me.

So I did what any logical person would do. I strove harder to put on a happy face. When people exclaimed at Pedro’s miracle, I joined in the celebration. I slid further towards the pit of depression.

Chastising myself for my ungrateful feelings of grief when God had obviously bestowed a miracle on our family worked. Sort of. Days passed. Weeks passed. Months passed. Years passed.

The Long-Term Effects of Not Taking Time for Grief

“Teachers should move to level three after no more than four years,” the school law professor intoned.

Tears erupted from my eyes, and I quickly tried to brush them away. After all, who wanted to break down in a classroom full of fellow educators? Over seven years had passed since Pedro’s miraculous recovery, and I had taken time during the summer to work on renewing my teaching credential.

The professor’s words triggered an unexpected reaction in me, and for the next week I cried without warning. I journaled furiously, trying to figure out what ailed me. Finally, the pieces fell into place.

For the first time since Pedro’s cancer diagnosis, I had started to express my grief. Grief over missing my girls’ piano recitals. Sadness because I missed our annual Christmas tree hunt. Grief over our changed circumstances and plunge into financial straits due to the ever-mounting costs of cancer.

My health suffered because I didn’t deal with my grief at the time. I gained weight, had mysterious chest pains, and couldn’t handle stress well. All because I didn’t take time for grief.

You can’t choose what grieves you, but you do need to acknowledge your grief. Read the Psalms—they contain some of the most grief-stricken verses in the Bible. David knew how to lament.

Don’t bottle your tears (God will do that for you Psalm 56:8 NLT). Journal your grief. Acknowledge your grief. Ask for healing. We all feel grief differently, and we don’t have to lose someone close to us to feel it.

It can happen over a lost job, a precious possession breaking, a hurting relationship, or myriad other things. Don’t deny it. Allow yourself to experience good grief.

Take time for good grief. Your body will thank you. #grief #depression #caregiver Click To Tweet
Good grief? Is that even a thing? I found out the hard way that grief is a natural, human response to pain. Learn to sit with your grief. #grief #anxiety #depression #NationalFamilyCaregiversMonth #caregiver #fmfparty #emotions #health #mentalhealth


  1. If you will not face your grief,
    please know this to be true
    that just like the cruelest thief
    it’ll take your joy from you
    by returning in the night,
    unwanted and unbidden,
    when you are unfit to fight,
    and will make of life a midden
    of surrenedered, canceled dreams
    felled by an ennui
    that says life’s just not what it seems,
    and hope is left to die.
    So face it now, with resolution
    that healing time may be solution.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Looking Forward TogetherMy Profile

  2. Wow… thank you for sharing your honest and painful struggle. Your example and faith will help others to seek the help we need, to surrender, and to most of all, grieve. Thank you. Karen (FMF #9).

  3. Oh this post hit a raw place, when my daughter died I was scared to grieve. Someone had to keep it all together, I had to let her sisters know I was there that it was ok for them to live, love and laugh again. I hid and buried my grief scared what would happen if i allowed myself to fall into it. Grief does not go away no matter how hard you try, you cannot run from it. It caught me up, I was physically exhausted, broken and my anxiety well you can imagine. I had to face my pain and try and work through it. I’ve accepted i can not run through it but we have come to a happy place where I acknowledge it and give myself time. I truly believe that the end of my grief will be when i’m with her again.

  4. Good grief Anita, your post really resonated and touched me today. Thank you for your heartfelt and captivating post. Good evening blessings to you.
    Visit from FMF#15

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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