Grief and Grace

Nov 13, 2022

The Three Sisters, Oregon

I’m lucky to have many decades-long relationships with women from Michigan to California. Wishing you many sisters-of-choice – soul-sisters – those you share your heart-felt intimacies with. Relationships sustained with a seemingly endless supply of love and support.


Grief and Grace


So much is changing in my later 60’s,

Thankfully, not a heart attack, nor a stroke.

My body has simply revved-up

the once glacial pace of dying.


Dawned over decades,

Broke through denial

That it would ever happen

to me.


Until I looked in the mirror

one morning and saw

Mom’s eyes as she aged.


A steady drip of endings,

An increasingly perceptible chiseling away,

Living into diminishing returns,

One day a measure for the next.



The step-stopping pain

in a small toe

starts the morning after

the waterfall-hike.


A massage ritual required

to overcome little piggy’s reluctance

to rejoin the foot in basic function.

Didn’t used to be that way.


I lost my waist.

Have you seen it?

Counting steps, side-bends,

fasting intervals …



Apparently, that waist

belonged to a younger woman.

And she kept it.


Seems selfish.


Night vision?

In the rear-view mirror.


What did you say? Seems noisy in here.


Did you know …

There’s a magnifying app

on your phone

to help with menus and price tags?


I need a search engine to find a noun.

Keep brain health supplements

out on the counter –

so I won’t forget to take them.


Start the list,

Repeating to myself.

Check, double-check: Shoot!

I remembered everything but the spinach.


What’s happening to me?


Don’t bother with those palpitations

at the end of a hill climb.

Stop the coffee.

Eat more beets.


Push to strengthen

those guaranteed-to-last titanium hips

picked up from the orthopedic surgeon

last year.


At least that pain’s gone.


After years

of seamlessly multi-tasking,

Raising children, running a business,

Job completed. Kids now thriving adults.


Fear I’m more tired than I should be.


Days include

wondering into a room

only to ask myself,

“What did I come in here for?”


Keeps me guessing.

What’s next?

Lots of unexpected moments.

A little comical, a smidge uneasy.


Low-level anxiety,

my new best friend,

comes with a world that is

spinning around, so much faster.


Or perhaps I’m just slowing down.


Prepared as I can muster

I’m likely to go tumbling off

Life’s merry-go-round

quite unprepared.



Grief and Grace

attend most support group meetings

of friends my age.

Laughter may arrive late, but always comes.


We carefully float out signs

of our most recent visits from Loss.

They land in a knowing silence.

We reassure each other.


We’ve grown far too familiar

with stories of cancer, Alzheimer’s,

brittle bones and broken hearts.

A parent’s passing, a child’s relapse.


We joke about our rocking chairs

waiting on some old-person’s porch somewhere.

And the best fitting diapers,

how to reclaim fading eyebrows.


The fact that we’re “not alone”

is the best we’ve got to offer.

But it’s not helpful in the night

when rats scrounge through memories.


Each of us feels terribly alone, at times,

in the evening of life’s wind down.

Thankful for Grief and Grace.


There are new dance steps

we learn with each other.

Like chair yoga – less stretch, more gentleness,

tailored for this time, this body.


While dabbling with retirement

you write your first children’s book

you start golfing more, playing tennis again.

I’m off searching for words.


Until our next weekend visit

my sisters, my friends –

witnesses to so much loss,

midwives to our unexpected beginnings.



With Each Breath
There's a Pianist in My Hands


  1. This story is all too familiar to me!

    • TY for reading, Susan. Yes, familiar changes… and still so many opportunities undiscovered!!!


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