Grief is like a case of juice boxes

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Grief, it hits you like a ton of bricks or maybe a case of juice boxes.  

(It's been 2 months since my mom unexpectedly passed away)

Because on a day like mine you wake up ready to start. You kiss the kids and head off to work, tackling the work that lays ahead. Today—Goal 1- relocate our family table of 25+ years. The table my mom was holding on for me until I came home from the field. The table that held the fork marks of my little brothers, the small red paint stain smeared by my son, and the water marks from my daughter. Not just a table, but 25 years of family meals and memories. Yet, as the first call was made I realized it was not where my mom had left it, and another call and another, until I finally had to admit what I knew already—the table was gone and so was my mom.

The table to the tablet. Taking her Apple iPad and spending the afternoon trying to unlock. Spending minute after minute on the phone with them asking, “What’s your moms password?” “Does she have the receipt?” I mean who has their iPad receipt from however long ago. “Can you call her friends?” I don’t know who her friends where. Question after question, pouring more salt into fresh wounds and finally having having to admit what I already knew- the tablet was gone and so was my mom.

And in the middle of it all, I get an email from the school saying I can’t send a juice box for my daughter’s school lunch. She can’t have dairy, and wanted something more than water. And I lost it, I felt so much anger. It’s a juice box. ITS A JUICE BOX. How complicated is it to send a juice box, so that it can be put on her tray and drink it with lunch… So, I emailed- and I mean emailed (tone included) demanding juice box justice.. And I waited.

It’s funny how God is always in the waiting- ready to catch us when we fall, and tonight as I laid down with a book fuming over the juice boxes, tears rolled down my face. And I whispered,”It’s not fair.” Its not fair that she doesn’t get what she wants. It’s not fair that she can’t have milk and now she can’t have juice. It’s not fair. And I cried and as my tears rolled, I realized my tears for her, they were for me too. They were me crying, “It’s not fair.” It’s not fair that my mom is gone, and now all this too. My daughter’s juice box was just enough to squeeze out what we know as grief, tucked between the minutes of a frustrated day.

Grief--It sits silent and it waits and it shows up as tables, and tablets, and even juice boxes. But what we can do, let the tears come. Remind us that grief is a journey, a process: not a checklist. Walk softly to the ones we might have hurt, speak kindness, and ask them to understand. We can let God take the big things, and ask him to help us see the little things—like when a juice box was just a juice box.

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