Grief and Grace

Jun 1, 2023

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.



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.


Keep strengthening the muscles

protecting 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,


I fear I’m more tired than I should be.


Days include

wondering into a room

asking 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.


Preparing as best I can,

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 cautiously toss out stories

of our most recent visits from Loss.

They’re received in a knowing silence,

a gentle, grief-ridden pause.


We reassure each other.


We’ve grown far too familiar

with news of cancer, Alzheimer’s,

brittle bones and broken hearts.

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


We joke about the day we’ll occupy rocking chairs

on some old person’s porch somewhere,

give updates on best fitting diapers,

tips to reclaim fading eyebrows.


The fact that we’ve got each other

is the best we have 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 –

Life’s chaperones through the inescapable.


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,

Linda writes her first children’s book,

Terry starts golfing more, playing tennis again;

I’m off searching for the right words.


“Til our next weekend visit

my sisters, my friends,

witnesses to so much loss

midwives to our unexpected beginnings.”





Friendship at 8000 Feet
Pie Crust


  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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